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Sakmongkol ak 47

ariff.sabri@gmail.com

Friday, 26 December 2008

A bit more on the vicious cycle of Malaysian Politics

Dear SAK-AK47

I took note of your views on this. However, the way is see it, the people ( or this case the delegates-umno ) should select leaders ( contesting for various positions ) without prejudice. i reject the notion of if ur ben hussin or ben mahathir, your political future shall be doomed . that is an example of 'prejudice' the way i see it. This nation should be allowed to progress by selecting leaders based on merits, credentials, personal educationa , strength of character, social backgrounds and other factors that are necessary to be evaluated and considered by the 'people' or delegates in this case. im not a supporter of mukhriz, hisham or najib , per se, but i dont see any logic reasoning , based on your views , to expel/reject them from giving their contribution and services to the people of malaysia for this nation building for the future. your views are rather 'discriminating; to say the least, my sincere hope is that the people and delegates should chose their leaders based on those factors i listed above, and not only 'who's who' . if they feel mukhriz or hisham does not have those quality , reject them. Does the son-in-law of the outgoing PM can be considered as having any 'political link dynasty/legacy' as per your argument , and he has got to be 'cantas' too ? he seem to have been 'proved' guilty for many acquisitions by the people already , for the poor result of pr12 , then reject him too. then the delegates have no choice i guess to elect the melayu kurang ajar penyapu khir to lead the umno youth 09 onwards . he is absolutely a 'typical' kampung boy from nobody to 'still nodody ' today. this is only my 2 cents worth ... Centralist Malay ( CM )

This was a comment posted by a visitor to my blog calling him/herself as Centralist Malay. I think his/her comment deserves respect. I prefer this comment over some other comments which seem fearful that their pet assumptions and perception all this while may crumble. Here, there is substance I can rebut and likewise, substance to weaken my arguments. Way to go. I have reproduced it verbatim so that the sting of his argument is not lost.

I wish to say that I have no problem with not agreeing with my line of thinking. It would be nicer if we would ground our convictions with persuasive reasoning. That would allow readers to make evaluations.

I have just finished reading my friend Smalltalk. He has clearly indicated his point of departure and his reasons for disagreeing. I respect that, as he has pointed out, that in the history of UMNO elections, breaking the vicious cycle as I put it, has never been used as a criteria to select UMNO leadership.

Indeed, I am offering a new criteria for selecting our leaders. Namely, a commitment to break the vicious cycle. To me that is necessary as a means to liberalise the selection process as attempts to dismantle outmoded rules have failed. Using this line of thinking as a basis for selecting our leaders does not contradict the democratic process. Such a basis shares the same validity as all the other reasons for confirming or changing leadership. It may also be possible that this kind of attitude may dampen somewhat the entrenched way of money politics.. On this topic, I think I have written about it a few blogs ago. Long ago, I said the future leadership of UMNO will be decided in the loos of PWTC.

Now, if I may expand on the issue at hand, a little bit. The above gentleman has in fact strengthened my argument for a progressive citizenry. The characteristics of such a progressive society are the prevalence of achievement norms, universalism and specificity. On the other hand, the characteristics of a less endowed citizenry is their affinity with ascriptive norms, particularism and diffusiveness.

What do these concept mean? By the way, these are terms widely used in the filed of sociology which deal more with non-quantifiable variables unlike economists who pretend to be more numerate.

In a progressive society, its citizenry evaluate others in terms of what they can do or by the things which our anonymous commentator mentions.. merits, credentials, personal education , strength of character, social backgrounds and other factors that are necessary to be evaluated and considered

Universalism means that anyone is eligible to compete with any job not because he comes from a particular family background.

And finally in order to be efficient, the holder of office is tasked to doing things specific instead of being all things to everyone. Once a leader is reduced to a dogsbody, he loses the competitive edge as we deny him chance to hone in his leadership skills. Example: an ADUN who is tasked to do all things to all people- look after clogged drains, damaged roads, road kill chickens and goats, instead of concentrating on say, analysing the budget, overseeing the GLCs, become just that- a pasar malam commodity.

In less endowed society, the people evaluate people based on who they are, hence the genetic lineage. Only certain people can do certain jobs- so only those known to the powers that be are assumed to be the only people who can do the tasks at hand. Finally, you reduced the chosen one to a pasar malam merchandise when you ask him to be all things to everyone. Hence for example, in front of partisan crowd the Anwar Ibrahim of the world will say- implement Hudud. But in front of other PKR and DAP attack dogs, he says- come to think of it, quite difficult la.

That’s precisely my argument. The glass ceiling based on artificial barriers must be broken. Except that in Malaysia, as I have argued, the glass ceiling is typified by the vicious cycle of genetic elitism . to the person who aver that it is not fair to deny leadership role to progeny of political patrons, that is precisely at variance with my other assertion. That by accepting the succession of a progeny as the natural order in the scheme of things, I am saying that you are imputing extraordinary qualities on them. What does that make the rest of us, plebeians? Chopped liver? .

PS: You see- when I insist that your name must be a ben Hussein or ben Mahathir, otherwise you are doomed, that is prejudiced?. What do you say then when someone says, you are not from Oxford, therefore you have no future?

7 comments:

ajipp 26 December 2008 at 00:52  

dato

takkan dah kecut.

saya baca Off the edge interview mukhriz beberapa bulan lepas....dia cakap, tanya saya 15 tahun (if not mistaken) lagi sama ada saya ingin jadi PM atau tidak......so dato....UMNO dah takde orang lain dah....kena bin PM baru boleh jadi leader dan ladder ke puncak kuasa lebih mudah

ajipp 26 December 2008 at 00:59  

satu lagi dato

walaumacam mana pun masalah yang berlaku dalam umno....jangan lupa kutuk anwar.....

Domino politics,  26 December 2008 at 02:14  

ak47,

Good circulation and exposure of thoughts, unlike the needless ones we read in cyberspace these days.Its important to sift through the postings, as too many are to judgemental and sometimes just to rude to read.

there are a few decent ones out there that are well researched and thought off, but also real pens for hire that make it really blatant that they are.

keep up up the good postings sir, also if you can write a review on the MT's contesting will be real good.

A.John 26 December 2008 at 09:39  

Sak Ak47,

Your views have on the way we choose our leaders have hit the nail on the head. And this is the malady of malaysian politics, be it in UMNO, MCA or MIC, why even in DAP. Why are you not in your second term as ADUN, with such clarity of objectives, that need to be addressed in this country. Your comment on ADUN's becoming " pasar malam " material is because they allow themselves to become one, when they choose to become popular with the voters, rather than accomplishing & setting policies for the betterment of the society as a whole. If an ADUN spends his time on clogged drains etc, it is because he had allowed an inept local council to function in his constituency.

walla,  26 December 2008 at 11:20  

There's this place. It creams only the best from the ivy leagues. To get in, they have to go through a series of interviews, tests and other types of assessments which matrix them down to components in order to evaluate whether they have certain qualities which will be called for in the type of work they have to do in the internal and external environments they will be facing.

So you have the best from Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, LSE, Chicago and so on lining up to get in. And once they are in, they are welcomed as members of the club, elites of the pack, future leaders in whatever field they choose. They are put through some of the most severe kick-ass training courses in the world which include standards that are themselves honed from decades of real-world experience at the highest and deepest levels across the broadest fronts.

Where they stand at each moment in the organization is matrixed. One axis of the matrix is a hierarchical structure that pins each to a personal senior in work and another person as a personal mentor in career development. Only the senior changes from one project to another. The other axis is a set of development standards and criteria, targets they must reach both qualititatively and quantitatively in each fixed cycle of assessment. They are told what these metrics are and are dialogued on them as the folder of their corporate life takes shape and increases in thickness. They may even be encouraged to do three-sixty self-appraisals to face up to the gaps between what they think they have delivered, and what others think they have delivered.

Externally, from the word go, they are thrown right into the gladiator's pit to tackle some of the most difficult management problems faced by the highest ranked corporations in all continents. Internally, they are expected to show both individual shine and superlative team-ship. If one falls, the others will stand back and wait for him or her to get up on own because the original belief was: 'absorb because the candidate reminds us of someone who's still here' - there's faith the person will be stubborn and proud enough to surmount his or her difficulties using his brain, training and character; there's also faith that if he or she can survive this, nothing else out there needs be feared. That's why so many who come from rich families and needn't put themselves through the grind-mill choose to join. They want to prove to themselves they can do it. That they are achievers par excellence. Whether they patronize watering holes in between horrendous hours is just a subtext issue.

Needless to say, in such a high-pressure cooker situation, the stress can be telling. The brightest from the oxford's of the world enter with black, brown or blond hair. Barely three years later, white has appeared. But the sure-footedness, can-do confidence, and worldly stature have magnified. Given situation x, they know what will be the result y. Given an unknown z, they know what to do next that is the most logical, cost-effective and efficient way to solve it. There's no hand-wringing, soul-searching, hint of indecision. Practical poetry in perpetual motion in the real world.

To that extent, Tun may have a point in making that laconic statement that unless one is oxford, it may be hard for Umno (but one wonders what he would say in the case of KJ). However, just as he didn't know that the real foundation for success of an automotive industry are those 'child-parts' machine makers, he didn't realize that in thinking the oxfords are the new way for future Umno leadership, he has missed the obvious. It's not just the qualification. That forms, maybe, twenty percent towards what makes for an effective, efficient and progressive leader. One doesn't get white strands of hair from just a qualification. Otherwise the hair-dyeing industry will stand outside the gates of Balliol and Trinity.

So, is it some special quality of 'character', someone whispers? Let's take Husam and KJ on the huddud law announcement. As PAS, Husam said Pakatan will apply huddud law; KJ was asked in his presence the same. Caught askance, he said yes, after an earlier record that said the opposite. At that point, he knew he was being inconsistent. Then when Husam retracted, KJ saw and immediately seized the golden opportunity to say, 'see, Pakatan is under the thumbs of the non-muslims..etc'. Now, the question is this: does someone who seizes the opportunity to make himself look better all the time even if what he does will divide peoples and cause ill-will someone of character even if what he had done showed intelligence, cleverness, cunning and deftness of mind by the practice of deflection? In other words, is flip-flopping to look good evidence of higher character or just plain opportunism to survive in order to continue chasing the bigger objective?

People may say 'but that's the character of all political leaders - to survive to the next practical stop-pit in the race to finish first when the stop-clock is clicked; otherwise, no story-lah.'

Someone else will of course retort: 'But if we all continue sponsoring leaders like this, what will be the character of the genetic pool of leaders we will be voting to lead us, and what will be the result of their administration of the land? Will it be like a wire-guided capitation torpedo as it cleaves the water, or a bobbing lifebuoy in choppy waves? Which makes the real progress that we want - not just material progress by numbers that we have seen here and there in some desultory fashion, but also character progress by principles defended, the absence of which having denuded the integrity of this nation? In the case of Husam, his retraction was to admit one error in order to defend another principle but what is the case of KJ .. what was admitted and what was defended....except the personal combativeness to sully the opponents of his own political vehicle?

So we return to the question of the vicious cycle of Malaysian politics. What is the basis of all? Standards. What standards must be adopted to break the impasses' of the past that have only returned to the gridlock of the present? Global. What are the global standards that one must embrace? Practical and universal ones.

Can you find them here, in our own country?

To answer that last question, i must confess one thing first. I don't subscribe to genetic reasons for mediocrity. And for one, i think Obama ex-Harvard is with me on this one.

Malays can do as well as others but the reason why they don't come up with good leaders is because, to quote a very sharp mind, they just.simply.don't.care.

They don't care about the one thing they must - to reeducate the voters on the right global, universal and progressive standards out there. One should consider this a compliment. Why? If they care and yet come out with indifferent results all the time, it can only mean there's something really wrong with them.

What's practical, universal and progressive, i leave to others to define and argue and debate. Let the final agree-to-disagree or disagree-to-agree come to its own level.

But one thing is certain, we will continue to have this vicious cycle if the catch-22 playout is continued.

The politician think they must pander to the masses based on what he thinks the masses want. The masses think the politician must deliver what they think he must deliver. The politician pegs his star to the masses. The masses peg their star to the politician. If both are wrong because they have pegged their stars to the wrong firmament, what will be the final outcome for both, and for the future of the nation?

The issue that must be addressed first is left standing at the corner of the classroom and everyone has forgotten about it. Because they are busy doing other things according to last year's program. After all, if last year's event barely worked, why so brave to rock the boat?

The issue is what is the global and universal change that must be absorbed internally now so that both the local leader and the masses rise to the challenges of this century which must synchronize with those of the world. The word 'global market' is not just about economics. It's also about social matters, intellectual development, ethical consignment, coexistence, interaction etc.

It well may be about simplexity. Fusion of simplicity with complexity (http://tinyurl.com/8tve95)

So you take the whole of this post and create a framework. Within the framework you fashion with your own hands, you map in where Mukhriz, KJ, Toyo and the others you can think of, and see how well they sit based on what they have said. Then you map in the masses as well, applying the same principle used for the politicians. It's like looking at a satellite map of Malaysia from wikimapia. In the end, the exercise will reveal one thing first - the difficulty of weaning ourselves away from our own prejudices and preferences.

But this must be done. Otherwise, the same result will be delivered.

Anonymous,  26 December 2008 at 11:49  

yes, i agree that we need more 'centre-line-neutralistic' views like centralist-malay. for sure i cant sense any 'hatred', 'biased' or 'personal' in his writings but only matter-of-factly and objectively . way to go CM . btw how about izzah , guan eng and gobindh singh ?

centralist malay 27 December 2008 at 12:39  

Salam Hormat Dato Sak AK47,

as a first time commentor on your blog, im honored that u decided to post my rather simple comment. nevertheless , i feel its good to get back to basic . i also took note that for this particular posting , there are only about 6 comments so far and most of your regular blogger friends didn't express any opinion or perhaps they accepted my views , thus the silence. btw i shall be checking-out your blog regularly and will myself launch my blog soon at centralistmalay.blogspot.com . Happy NY to you dato.

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