Sunday, January 18, 2009

NUTTY FEELING with MALAYSIAKINI: politics and pop culture

Another round to Pakatan Rakyat. Wahid is now a man representing a smaller state constituency of Wakaf Mempelam and a bigger parlimentary of Kuala Terengganu. Lets share with Malaysiakini, if political music has been blended well into some form of pop culture.

2. Thats the beauty of the whole thing. Politic is really entertaining to the point that not many is very concerned with strategies to steer Malaysians to a better level. Too much time and effort is poured into this funny pop culture; belittling and discrediting others. Can anybody guess how a videographer shoot to stardom as he curi-curi tangkap video. Lingamgate opens door to stardom!

3. Nutgraph probed into an unintended byproduct of political manoeuvre; perception. Lets read.

Making sense
of politics
and pop culture

By Deborah Loh

POOR Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh. Much has been made of his looks and demeanour in an election where perception could turn out to mean everything.

As the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate in the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election, Wan Farid has been advised to smile more and behave less snobbishly. In this semi-urban east coast constituency, people want their elected representative to be friendly, accessible, and to possess the human touch.

Though a local boy, the 46-year-old former lawyer grew up in a privileged family of civil servants. During the campaigning, remarks have been passed that he should wear the kain pelikat (sarong) more when canvassing among the locals. He's also been advised to not be afraid to sit on the floor of homes to show that he is one of them.

Perception problems

Another perception problem Wan Farid faces is his links to outgoing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. He was the premier's political secretary for four years, before being appointed senator and made deputy home minister after the March 2008 general election. He has since resigned from both positions to contest in the Kuala Terengganu by-election.

Additionally, it didn't help the BN campaign when former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad described Wan Farid as Abdullah's proxy.

Wan Farid also got caught in the web of allegations that Abdullah's cronies were given the contracts to build the Pulau Duyong marine facilities to host the annual Monsoon Cup sailing competition, and the Islamic theme park on Pulau Wan Man

His candidacy has appeared to put BN on the defensive in this campaign. Top leaders including Abdullah and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak have been giving one explanation after another on Wan Farid's perceived aloofness, the proxy allegation, and his capabilities as a first-time candidate.

Development gains

Wan Farid's campaign message rides on the BN's development track record. He is positioned as a representative who will be able to help the electorate because of the government machinery behind him.

Najib has also promised that Wan Farid will be reappointed as a deputy minister if he wins this election. The message to voters is that Wan Farid, as a deputy minister, would have better access to federal help than a PAS Member of Parliament (MP).

However, his former ministerial post is being used against him in Pakatan Rakyat ceramah. The opposition alliance has used blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, who was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA), to speak against Wan Farid, although it is the home minister who signs detention orders.

"If he wins and becomes deputy home minister again, he will sign orders to detain people like you and me under ISA," Raja Petra told a largely Chinese crowd at a ceramah in Bandar Baru, Pulau Kambing on 9 Jan.

Internal factionalism

Politically, the former senator and deputy home minister has never contested an election, whether at state or parliamentary level

In Umno, Wan Farid is the party's two-term Kuala Terengganu division chief. He won the post uncontested the second time in divisional elections in July 2008. Despite this show of Umno grassroots unity, factionalism within the division has given the opposition PAS leverage to run down his candidacy.

PAS has drawn comparisons between Wan Farid and the previous MP and deputy education minister, Datuk Razali Ismail, whose death in November 2008 forced this by-election. Razali was liked for his efforts to improve education in the state. He beat his PAS contender, the popular Mohamad Sabu, in the 2008 general election by a slim majority of 628 votes.

During the campaign, Wan Farid has been forced to say that as division chief, he never sidelined Razali, who ran for the division's vice-chief post but lost to Wan Farid's brother, Datuk Wan Hisham Wan Salleh.

Thus, the BN's announcement of Wan Farid as their candidate two weeks ahead of nomination day on 6 Jan was seen as a move to give the factions time to cool down and unite.

Wan Farid has denied any internal rivalry and said his early candidacy gave him an edge to know voters better. He will face PAS's Abdul Wahid Endut and independent Azharudin Mamat @ Adam in the 17 Jan polls.

refer for full in Surviving perception The Nut Graph