It is baffling. When launching the UMNO/BN elections machinery in KT- DS Najib said, the KT election is crucial. It will signal the resurgence of the party. The party needs a pick-me-up after the defeat in Permatang Pauh. A few days into the election, he was even more upbeat. The opposition, says Dato Najib, has no campaign issues. Was this just audacity or was it a case of massive misinformation? The opposition had plenty to say to which UMNO can only meekly counter.
It was to be an election of supreme importance. It could have been a reaffirmation of support for UMNO. It could also be a signature approval to his impending premiership. We know the outcome. UMNO lost. DS Najib tells the nation, it’s just a minor setback.
This KT verdict confirms that UMNO under this LEADERSHIP is on a freefall. It is also another sharp rebuke from the people to UMNO’s leadership. It is a sharp vote of no confidence to the entire leadership- Pak Lah, Najib and the entire cabal of leaders. So it’s not a minor setback.
The most visible UMNO leader there during the KT election was Najib. It is hard for us to discount the impression that the KT people’s verdict was also directed at Najib. That, despite his homilies about how to behave and personal touches with the Kampung folks. Maybe it’s a grand spectacle for those outside KT to see old men or women cry when given the chance to meet up personally with Najib. The tears were true all right, but they may be teardrops lamenting that their UMNO sons and daughters have not come back for a long time.
At the moment, UMNO has a leadership problem. It’s losing credibility as a leader to the Malays. What UMNO says is no longer believable. When no longer believable, you will be ostracised as a pariah. I hate to admit as true, the possibility of UMNO being buried as said by one chief minister. At the same time, it’s hard to dismiss offhand the statement made by blogger Hantu Laut that UMNO has no talent and half of the MKT should be despatched.
But before I proceed I would like to comment on the usual knee-jerk responses by people. UMNO’s loss is attributable to Pak Lah, is the usual staple. Why the f**k did he chose the Wan Farid fellow? The truth is, as things are now, whoever stands in KT would be fodder. UMNO is the problem. Wan Farid is a minor.
Another favourite is; UMNO’s loss is attributable to the son in law. We are actually tired of these convenient explanations which are symptoms of shallowness of the mind. Suppose now, KJ comes forward and proves that all the peti undis under his supervision won? What do you say to him? And what will you say if you discover that the peti undi’s under the watch of Khir toyo and Mukhriz lost? This is no bloody game of musical chairs.
The whole problem lies with the UMNO body politic itself. If blame is attributable to Pak lah or KJ, why not for a nightcap (to catch a much needed sleep), blame Najib too. Isn’t he full of baggage and controversies? Pak Lah is a lame duck PM and UMNO president. KJ has been alone from the day Pak Lah announced the power transition. But Najib is in the saddle.
Do we fear to hear the real thing? Which is that UMNO is losing relevance and credibility?
Let me introduce readers to this concept. This is the basic defect of the UMNO leadership. What is cognitive egocentrism? It is the projection of one’s own mentality or “way of seeing the world” onto others. For example if a leader has amassed wealth through corrupt ways, he proceeds to assume the same about everyone else. He thinks all other UMNO leaders will do the same things as he does. If he is obsessed with sex, he assumes all other political leaders in the party behave in the same manner. Thus, just because, it is we who are divided, we console ourselves by imputing the same divisiveness in PAS. They are not. Those kinds of tendencies are nipped immediately.
The problem with UMNO is because of its own myopic practices and values, leaders that gain power at various levels share the same egocentrism. UMNO seems attractive to questionable characters, lowlifes and pandering sycophants. UMNO has become just a means for personal enrichment and grandiosity.
What happens then? Leadership in UMNO becomes a race among egocentrics seeking to gain superiority so that they can intensify their rapacious greed. They are around to amass wealth, to indulge in sexual fantasies and to do all sort of shenanigans. These are leaders of the transactional species- always looking out for ways to bargain some minor advantages, gratifications, handouts and so forth. Leaders parley with Chinese towkays to gain some pecuniary rewards. Always on the lookout to exploit, for private benefits, the positions they have. Hence the ketua cawanagan, ketua bahagian are less interested in transforming the mental and ideological landscape of their charges. They are interested in bargaining for whatever little advantages they can get. They are constantly fearful that, because others share the same rapacious tendencies, they must gang up to prevent other robbers from gaining ground. .
The typical aspiring leader would be any jock possibly with a flamboyant and garrulous personality, with some following among the idlers, laggards and lay-abouts. Loyalty to this personality type is almost always secured by way of dishing out some money, food and drinks and promises of a life full of fun. The prime motivation in politics is to exact deals and immediate material benefits. The only way to stay the course in order to continue preying on the body politic is to stay in power. Securing power is achieved by any dubious and questionable means.
Almost always the typical leaders who resort to do all kinds of dubious ways are those with less education and social schooling. Deficiency in these areas, result in a political culture typified by continuous jostling for advantages. Such a political culture creates a political environment uninviting to transformational leaders. They are easily lost in such an environment, their intellectual integrity do not allow them to engage in dubious methods. They have awkward people skills because they don’t find the ills of society are solvable through back slapping and guffaw at bawdy jokes.
So what do you have? You have a political party with a membership of 3 over million but it’s a case of too few chiefs and too many Indians. How do you ensure good leadership emerges from the heap of unmentionables in the political dustbin? The problem is that you can’t, if you hope, out of the collection of transacting leaders, good leadership will come willy-nilly. You have got to start from the basics, by ensuring good leadership is installed at the cawangan levels. There must be a process to everything. It’s the same with identifying leadership. You have got to set a certain standard for leadership that disqualifies non-leadership material.
UPDATE: I have received a message from our erstwhile blogger, An Nimr asking that her post about online petition against the atrocities of Israel be published. Her efforts are commendable. Please take time to read her article here.