UMNO has not forsaken the 3 most important life or death matters for the Malays.
1. First, the special position of Malays and Malay rulers;
2. Second, the position of Islam as the official religion and,
3. Third, the Bahasa Melayu language.
A fellow blogger, JMD has written honestly about this. It is very difficult to dispute the wholesomeness of his essay. But the cynic in me keeps cajoling me to always look at things from any alternative angles. Sometimes not because of what others write are not persuasive, but more because of my mischievous alter ego. I fear, that is a psychological malady. What to do, just like the great Tun Mahathir says, some of us are born cynics.
I take the position that those three pillars that have tripod-ded UMNO’s weltanschauung are not nearly dead yet. Except, they are no longer intensely championed. All the heroes have left town. On the contrary, I think all these agendas are still there. Only that these are under forced hibernation while the winter of discontent of Malays intensify.
The chief culprit causing these to be consigned to the rear, is the proclivity of the UMNO leadership to go soft and sissy. ( remember Tun Mahathir stating that Dato Najib prefers the life of leisure?) You may start with brimming idealism. These are then eroded by the intoxicating influences of power. I called it the Morarji Desai effect.
The ideals that have fired the early generation of leaders( up to Tun Mahathir) are reduced to hollow and high pitched posturing during the UMNO General Assembly. Hence those farcical displays of ultra Malay-ness by way of unsheathing the Malay Keris, the grandiloquent declarations of bloodbath( non Malays of course) and so forth.
If indeed the ideals that had sustained the early generation leaders’ intense determination are now flaccid, it is the result of the current leadership’s emasculation of UMNO. And none exemplify this sorry state of affairs than our two top leaders who are sadly being nursemaid by an uncritical leadership committee. One hides behind the comical façade of masterly inactivity, giving the impression of doing something but actually dozing off. You know the Chinese adage- much thunder, little rain. The other, hiding cowardly behind the hastily constructed self serving (his of course) edifice of tradition.
I am not however prepared to be sucked into a xenophobic black hole to re-emerge afterwards, attributing all the ills that have befallen the Malay race as being the product of some grand and insidious design by non Malays.
But first let us resolve the issue of Anwar. When offering my humble opinion on Permatang Pauh, through several of my blog essays, it would appear that I have given Anwar higher chances of winning. No, I have not converted into a born again Anwar believer. I was merely stating the obvious from the facts and personal estimation. That Anwar will win.
But beyond that victory and the very real possibility of him marching into Seri Perdana in September to remember( Muhammad Ali), I am reluctant to attach the demise of all the three dearest things to Malays, to Anwar bin Ibrahim.
I am saying, unfortunately, that UMNO needs a near death experience to re-invent itself. It must accept that the current political malaise is due to a weak leadership. The battle for Permatang Pauh should have been handled by the commander in chief himself- Pak Lah. He is ultimately responsible for UMNO’s fortunes there. The weaponry given to Dato Najib while sufficient, is nullified by the inherent troubles of the field commander.
UMNO’s near death experience will be the spectacle of Anwar in Seri Perdana. Then the Malays will be galvanised into a cohesive bloc but not necessarily led by the two present top leaders.
UMNO will be absolutely devastated and disillusioned with the weak and incapable leadership of the present leaders. They will look forward to a new leadership to lead UMNO. They will realise, that they need firm, determined , decisive and bright enough leaders to lead the country.
The practicality of accepting that the numerically larger Malay population who are economically sidelined, will need coaching and affirmative action will still be upheld. Even if Anwar becomes the head of the federal government, he is not suicidal to eliminate the potential power base that could be milked from the expectant Malay population.
Furthermore, I would argue that the continuance of an affirmative policy favouring the Malays need not continue in the present form, minded by the current leaders or even by certain specific faction of the UMNO leadership.
The NEP is not and must never be stated in static terms. It must be treated as a dynamic concept that’s evolving to accommodate changes in Malay psyche. I do not want to think that Malays as a whole are moved only by morbid fears and anxieties, easily given to irresponsible machinations by bigoted bogeymen. They are also capable of logical rationalising.
It is like Tun Dr Ismail says, that eventually as Malays become more educated and gained confidence, they will regard any conferring of handicaps as a slur on their worth.
The NEP need not be looked on as:-
· An elaborate excuse for the Malays not to lift themselves by their own bootstraps.
· The NEP must never be allowed to be used as means of a ruling clique to feather their nests
· The NEP must never be used as an excuse to keep the Malays in mental bondage.
When our founding fathers devised the NEP, even though they were UMNO members, they never envisaged that it shall be pursued only by UMNO or that it can only be effectively applied by a specific faction of the UMNO leadership.
Can we just accept that only Pak Lah and Dato Najib as the only persons capable of leading the Malays to their salvation? Why not Tengku Razaleigh for instance?