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Sakmongkol ak 47

ariff.sabri@gmail.com

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Winds of Change or breeze? Glacial movements in UMNO.

When I read that UMNO elders are against open debate, I regard that as signs, UMNO really does not want to change. By March 2009, it is the still the same old party without any substantial changes. But Pemuda can change all this.

That is why I have supported an open debate on the issues affecting our country. I am not altogether convinced that by having open debates, would expose UMNO’s problems/weaknesses to the opposition. The opposition already knows what’s wrong with UMNO just like Russia knows a lot about UK’s defence. I find the argument that UMNO youth and UMNO being not ready for debates ala US presidential debates unconvincing. It suggests that UMNO which has governed over 50 years and whose members are also well versed in the art of politics, have not attained the maturity to debate about issues affecting itself and the nation.

It is precisely this addiction of choosing to be buffeted and claustrophobic in mind that made UMNO believe it its own infallibility. It believes its own hype that its untouchable. That insularity has made UMNO lose touch with reality and that has caused it to lose heavily in the last elections.

Let’s sanction a debate. Because this will be a step in dismantling the insularity that has incapacitated UMNO in th efisrt place. Let us resolve to see the emergence of a know-how leadership. We don’t know who are the better of the three. We cant say beforehand that KJ can out-articulate the others. Sometimes people are more convinced by the quiet reasoning fellow than the agitated guy. For example, I am more inclined to believe what TDM said though his factual presentation than say Anwar Ibrahim’s heavily padded rhetoric.

The party elders lay the ground rules. Set questions that test the candidates personal intelligence, vision, commitment and connectivity with the UMNO members and the public at large.

In the debating ring, leave all other incidentals aside. Personal life, father in law, father. Don’t inflict collateral damage please. Fight it out using your convictions. Sell them to us. Although we are not voting, we can still counsel our Pemuda delegates.

So I want to ask, what is the cause, these contestants want to sell to us? What do these contestants want to offer Pemuda? Will it be moulded into a highly principled and visionary organisation? Will it be willing and ready to counterbalance the main UMNO body? It is time to kick out the laggards, the political laybouts, the know-who generation. Let us now have the know-how generation.

Look at the next generation. In a few years, we who are talking now, will be fossils. The next generation is something else. The new generation is better informed and being better informed breeds criticality. The level of criticality is increasing such that, the new generation is looking out for explanations on current issues relating to nation-building and race relations that will shape their future.

What will that mean?- it means that old and amorphous leadership selling snake oil solutions will be rejected. The traditional rhetoric must not only be modified but must be replaced altogether with reasoned solutions. The thirst for answers for their analytical and Internet influenced mind must be quenched by laying out the facts, toning down the spin.

So can UMNO youth think not only of a Malay agenda and start thinking about making a generational quantum leap in their thinking. The failure of the Malay agenda, whatever that means now, because I am sickened by the ever-changing agenda landscapes, was a result of a insular UMNO.

Now, can the incoming youth leadership, whoever they will be and who ever becomes the ketua pemuda, sell this agenda to us? We are watching you.

7 comments:

Malaysian Tigress 27 November 2008 at 09:08  

I think glacier behavior is changing at a faster rate than the mindset of these last remaining dinosaurs the meteors failed to whack.

The one landing in Canada missed its mark.

Jed Yoong 27 November 2008 at 09:09  

Weather change like global warming is melting our ice caps and glaciers.

msleepyhead,  27 November 2008 at 10:01  

From a cultural perspective, it has never been the norm for Malaysians to openly debate and allow criticisms of those in power. This is seen in schools where students are not allowed to question the teachings of teachers, be it right or wrong.

The culture has been one of acceptance where whatever said by the top must be right. To change that would mean everyone becomes equal and where's the thrill in holding power if that were to happen.

To question is sometimes equated to being biadap. So it's not just something within the party but the entire country really.

Anonymous,  27 November 2008 at 10:46  

Agree with you 100%. That is the trouble with Malaysian politicians in general - very very few (with the exeption of TDM - like him or not) have given us their vision of what they want to achieve for the country. The level of debate in Parliament let alone political parties is pathetic.

I agree that our only hope is that the next generation of politicians openly debate issues that confront our beloved tanah air. No more sensitive issues to be decided in smoked filled rooms or sweeping things under the carpet.

SuperShyteStirrer

Hantu Laut 27 November 2008 at 16:08  

Those in UMNO refused to debate on issues affecting the nation because most of them are not articulated enough to have the confidence to expose themselves to public debate.Most may look stupid and embarrass themselves as can be seen from some of their cabinet ministers making stupid statement,for instance, like 'we arrest her under ISA to give her protection'

Can you expect this kind of character to participate in public debate?

Anonymous,  27 November 2008 at 16:40  

IF it is not for reason of being incompetent and a host of other negative reasons to debate to stand for office in UMNO, then it has to be patronage. We have seen the likes of Zam, Nasri and a host of ex and current Ministers making a mockery of themselves when it comes to either public debate or having press conf with the foreign media.

A Tabib 28 November 2008 at 00:44  

/* The party elders lay the ground rules. Set questions that test the candidates personal intelligence, vision, commitment and connectivity with the UMNO members and the public at large.*/

Now that you've put it that way, AK, I'll change my mind and agree to the debate - not that I'm in any way remotely involved in Umno - but I am a Malaysian, and I suppose that counts.

I was wary of the debate because first, Pemuda members are not matured enough and may be influenced by the form, not the substance (Umno elder's words). Second, there is a possibilty that the system may be gamed by the candidates to get an unfair advantage.

The format you suggest takes care of the second problem. Heck, it even makes the debate an attractive proposition to the general public. I'd be willing to suspend judgement and listen in on the debate if it's telecast.

But there is still a lingering worry about the first problem - comments in this thread seem to bear this out. If, however, members of the other wings of Umno can keep an open mind and judge the candidates on what they said in the debate and counsel accordingly, then I think there is a good chance the right man will come out victorious. We really don't want to be faced with a situation where, to borrow a phrase used by an Umno friend, "yang diharap tak dapat, yang dapat tak boleh harap."

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