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Sakmongkol ak 47

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Thursday, 30 October 2008

An Unknown Stakeholder's perception of UMNO Youth

Here are some of sakmongkol’s views on UMNO youth. In recent days, our focus have been more on the personalities vying for the post of leadership. Absent from the heat of the moment, is a clear articulation of the role and mission of UMNO youth. So, to provide a semblance of balance, sakmongkol offers his own two cents of a highly abridged and not meant to be definitive perception of UMNO youth.

Pergerakan pemuda UMNO is the youth wing of UMNO. Its members are below 40 years of age. A person ceases to be a member of the UMNO youth once he reaches the age of 40. This age limitation does not apply to the ketua pemuda. The youth head can be more than 40 years old.

In the past , we have had ketua pemudas very much beyond 40 years old. The late Syed Jaafar Albar who took over from Dato Harun Idris was in the 60s when he became the youth head. Dato Harun was youth head past 40 years.

The basic function of UMNO youth wing is to attract the younger generation into UMNO. They would be indoctrinated and imbibed with the UMNO spirit.

  1. First, to believe that UMNO is the only credible voice giving effect to Malay interest.
  2. Second to protect Malay interests.
  3. 3rd, to expand and further Malay interests.

How?

1. By being politically conscious of UMNO’s role and function as the leading pillar of the government.

2. By cultivating themselves with the UMNO spirit. Its mission, struggles, ideals and its role as guardian for legitimate Malay interests.

3. By projecting an image of what the Malay can be. Educated, well informed, polished, refined and successful. .

4. Ridding itself from the stigma of being seen as a roving band of hysterical mob.

Yes, please don’t be cynical about that.

As an UMNO member and a Malay, how does sakmongkol perceived the UMNO youth?

  1. Its an organisation of emotionally charged and hysterical mob
  2. It’s a club for the dandut brigade, the contract junkies, the BMW brigands.
  3. Its articulation of Malay interests sound hollow. More shadow to the substance.

These make the present UMNO youth a far cry from the idealistic youth leadership of the past. The zeitgeist of the past provided the yeast for the emergence of more idealistic leaders, willing to endure personal sacrifices to emerge as leaders. Those climes are no longer present and if we were to leave to providence and happy accident to throw up natural leaders, we are in for a disappointing time.

This means the search for youth leadership as in the search for Malay leadership in general becomes a purposeful endeavour. It discounts off chance and providence and instead must create a culture that calls up good leadership.

The core responsibility of the youth leadership then is to create the culture that moulds good leadership for UMNO youth. It looks for the leader with education, wisdom and a sense of realistic balance. It demands leadership of character, that elusive quality that defines the good leader. The one with the presence of mind not to crack up under pressure.

We must have this kind of leadership. The stark truth is, the youth leadership is a responsibility and not a privilege. Sadly, position as UMNO youth leaders seemed to be treated as a privilege for personal aggrandisement. Whereas, UMNO youth functions as the voice of conscience for UMNO. It remains in the shadows buy never the shadow itself. These should be the ideal fit of UMNO youth.

.

Being among peer group, sharing perhaps the same ideas can provide an incubatory phase for Malay youths. They learn the mechanics of organisation. They represent the views of the younger generation. A stint inside the youth factory is seen as necessary to imbue future leaders with the UMNO outlook.

The youth wing is supposed to be the preparatory hatchery for future UMNO leaders. It was also regarded as transit point for hot-headed and young but impatient UMNO leaders to let off steam. Securing the position of youth leader can prevent a direct challenge to the leadership of parent UMNO. In recent years, having the top post in the youth wing can also mean cabinet positions thereby giving youth leaders substantive participatory opportunities.

But UMNO youth has become less identified as the preparatory ground to inculcate values and infusion of UMNO ideals. It has become more visible as an almost separate organisation given to bellicose and many times, destabilising political signals. At every UMNO General Assembly, youth leaders never failed to accentuate Malay extremism by calling more pronounced Malay-nisation over many things.

KJ, the current contender for youth head was often as the forefront of many of UMNO youths’ more extreme manifestations of street politics. The brown shirted groups policing by elections, storming of embassies etc.

These theatrics designed more to strike an emotional chord among delegates have the unintended effect of creating intimidation among the wider and multi-racial population. To the politically untrained, the noisy demands and overt claims can heightened anxieties. The more astute political observer will dismiss all these as playing to the gallery. It happens in all political parties in the BN and should not be a cause for unnecessary worry. But then, image create negative impressions. More so of UMNO youth leadership because UMNO represents the power in Malaysia.

The youth leadership undertakes the responsibility of balancing unbridled demands and lending voice to legitimate concerns. It must earn legitimacy among UMNO faithfuls and general population and yet must yield concrete results for the Malay struggles.

It must reprise its role as a pressure group, acting as the voice of conscience of the Malay race. But it must remain mindful of its supporting role to the larger parent body. It must have balance between the more aggressive urges and the need to act responsibly. It provides the combustion to the UMNO organisation as a whole. Where the Malay ideals and agenda are often watered down by a mellowed and presumed to be a more mature parent organisation, the youth wing provides a check on unmitigated dilution. Seen from this angle, UMNO youth is regarded as the vanguard for the preservation of the core ideals of UMNO’s mission. To protect and further the interests of Malay race.

Often its more aggressive stance places it at variance with the parent organisation. During Jaafar Albar’s time, the youth wing crossed swords with Hussein Onn. And of course UMNO youth achieved its high point during the tenure of Harun Idris- the man most identified with militant tendencies in UMNO.

And so in the current battle of supremacy in UMNO youth, UMNO supporters and the Malay people are looking out for an UMNO youth leadership with an Agenda for UMNO as well as the nation.

So what are we looking for?

A clear articulation for a plan to re-invent UMNO youth so that it plays the role of keeping the UMNO mission alive and giving expression to legitimate interests. What happens to UMNO youth then is not a matter only for the youth delegates to mind. We, the outsiders are pinning our hopes of the future UMNO leadership. We therefore as equal stakeholders in determining our future leadership.

5 comments:

walla 30 October 2008 at 12:04  

From another voice of reason within Umno:

"The country is doomed if money politics continue in Umno, whether it is the main wing or the youth wing.

To win posts by buying votes, you must first have money. There are only two ways to have that money. One, earn it and that takes time, ability and luck. Two, get sponsors and that may come with strings attached.

The first case is itself broken down into two means: earn it the honest hard way, or earn it the dishonest easy way.

The second case is itself broken down into two means: be sponsored by those who see their contributions as a charitable social service, or be sponsored by those who see their contributions as an investment for future contracts.

In reality the first means of the first and second cases are seldom seen, otherwise there would have been more successful businessmen or industrialists who have become political leaders and money politics would by evolutionary filter have petered out by now.

Furthermore, someone who has become a millionaire is more likely to want to be a sponsor to increase his future wealth than slog it out at the grassroots level to win votes to get elected to lose hair, all for want of getting praise or lambast.

Therefore, someone who has made his wealth by the first means in the first case will more likely end up performing a role using the second means in the second case.

The equilibrium of Umno politics is therefore tilted towards money politics. In fact, it has become entrenched. And if the economic situation becomes harsh because the country only has weak and indifferent leadership, then the craving for money politics increases. Since weak will become weaker, the situation will spiral downwards perpetually. Especially if the oil spigots run dry and the government which employs these leaders become poorer. Soon, if not even now.

Somehow or other, another thing has emerged recently. Called the social contract, it has been interpreted to provide a raison d'etre for historical reinforcement of the above situation. Since it is the government which is expected to do the reinforcement, money politics has therefore gained indirect currency when all attempts should be made to weed it out root and stem in order to clean the slate and start anew with the very fundamentals expected by the rakyat of a clean and transparent government.

And the expectation is because money politics leads to poor leadership which leads to corruption which leads to national inefficiencies and monetary losses which then fosters inbreeding by the expedient of a process called organizational suasion - "we are in this together". In this type of working environment, even one with steely character will be coerced to become just a silent witness, thereby increasing the pool of weak leadership and continuing the cycle - ad nauseum.

Now take all the above starting from 'The country..' and ending at '..ad nauseum' and imagine it as a piece of roti canai. Put that down on the pan and hit the gas. Then while it is simmering, add onions, chilis and what we are discussing now, Umno Youth. All of Umno Youth - from its objectives, visions and enunciated roles to its history, performances, achievements, bouquets and brickbats, then on to its past leaders, and present candidates, and grassroots supporters, and business networks, and government pillars, and institutional support. Add the budget and accounts.

Then roll it all up, pour the teh tarik and have a good breakfast.

That will also explain why half the population of this country is obese.

And that's the reason why this country is doomed."

mekyam 30 October 2008 at 13:23  

awesome, walla!

in as way, i'm glad you don't blog as i've made surfing known blogs haunts looking for your erudite inputs my very own exciting daily game. :D

this is one dismal picture you reveal. almost as dismal as the one ctchoo spotlights in his 'de minimis'. i just finished reading and reeling from it.

i reeled on behalf of our collective malaysian soul. reeling much in the way i imagine dorian grey must have recoiled when he saw the final rot to his portrait.

however did we come to this...

walla,  30 October 2008 at 15:09  

terima kasih, mekyam - you're too kind.

i can only write when inspired by what others have written and this i may say now - sakmongkol is the most polished blogger i have ever read (and his other half, mamasita, the most vivacious lady i have ever met!)

Right now, i only wish for one thing, reading about politics and all, and that is to wish something really substantial can be done for all the unemployed youths in the country, especially malay youths who have come out from college and find their hopes dashed by a listless job market. They should not have to start life with despondency as their only daily companion.

In the midst of all the politicking, let us remember them and what must be done for them in the next ten months before the situation gets worse.

thank you again.

mamasita 30 October 2008 at 19:33  

Wallaaa!This is the first time anyone has described me as vivacious..muaaaaaahh!(left and right cheeks)hehe..thank you my friend!

Lets hope our jobless grads have made some contingency plans to do something moneymaking if they cant get jobs easily.Grouping up to do some agricultural business or opening some small warongs maybe?Just do something while waiting for the preferred jobs.Betultak Walla?

walla 30 October 2008 at 21:23  

thank you, Datin (ahem!).

i was thinking the govt should open up empty buildings for them - eg the Rakan Muda halls, or even Putrajaya's convention centre if not used, and let them organize events like international exhibitions, seminars and special weekend sales - all over the country wherever there are free places.

Mamasita has the expertise and the govt should jemput her to help [;)]together with Umno Wanita.

There are other things which can be done too - online business, for instance, which can be cost effective to sell things across the world making use of the education of our graduates to connect buyers through the net to suppliers local and in neighbouring countries like Indonesia, Thailand and even Cambodia.

We should try to think what businesses will thrive during downturns, and then help them capitalize on new opportunities.

Cheers! (when i remember my password, then bolih komen in your blog sigh sudah tua ni, orang bukan minyak tapi mop berwarna pink)

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