This is the 3rd part of my article in the sobering lessons for UMNO. Before I go on, I have to tell this.
Dato Najib worked his socks out in the KT campaign. He was there from the beginning as any commander in chief should be. But Dato Najib had a tough time in KT. He wasn’t listenable. That must be very unnerving for him; the incoming PM.
Anwar Ibrahim drew in humongous crowds (compared to what could be mustered by UMNO) to his ceramahs. Anwar the artful orator regaled the audience with his stock in trade. He makes fun and denounces BN policies. He gets carried away with his nasal renditions. The man has the gift of the gap. The frightening thing is, he is believable. He is, like Syed of Outsyed the Box says, will be believed even if he now says, he did all those sordid things of which he has been accused of.
BN came around with its usual stock in trade of pork barrel politics. Vote for us, you will get this and that. That included a speedily approved funding for Chinese schools, the first lucky draw on contracts, a hastily created fund for fishermen etc. In other words, the DPM played the role of Santa Claus to the hilt. If carrots don’t do the trick, then you employ the stick. You baik sama saya, saya baik sama you kind of thinking.
What’s wrong with this approach? You would think that everyone is buyable. The other, you think if people are not buyable, they can be cowed and pummeled. What’s wrong here? You have forgotten the dignity element. In the end, dignity cannot be bought or pulverized. You have got to respect dignity. The majority in Terengganu refused to allow their dignity being trampled. They take your money, only out of practicality. Money can buy you the necessities and other things. But in the end, they decided, their dignity is not for sale or for bullying.
By the afternoon of nomination day, the rented crowds of UMNO cheerleaders, shouts-for-rent squads and probably one or two buttocks flashers have left KT. Of the remaining perhaps only 10% were real soldiers. The rest were hangers on crowding around Dato Najib and other important ministers and so on. DPM knows the drill. It’s just like what’s happening in Pekan. If DPM wasn’t listenable, who would want to listen to the rest?
The KT election showed UMNO couldn’t get new converts to its cause. People don’t know what UMNO’s cause is anymore. The transmitters of the IDEA behind UMNO are no longer there. Bumiputera? Well, even I have said this long time ago, it’s Bumi in front, while those privileged puteras behind, piggy ride us. The Bumi portion in front of the term BUMIPUTERA getting bombed at, while the privileged puteras cowering behind get all the juices. Or it is always the Putera first, Bumi later. Those that stood by UMNO are probably existing loyal UMNO supporters driving on reserves. In the next general elections, the 13th, these probably would have vanished.
Suddenly it dawns on me. What happens to Dato Najib and the second liners showed one thing- that suddenly all UMNO leaders are no longer untouchable. They are reduced to just a bunch of politicians, subject to the same grilling by the voters. The voters now are those whose political awareness has risen beyond that comprehensible by UMNO. It is UMNO that has lost the plot.
The KT outing is proving damnable to Dato Najib. After Permatang Pauh , what KT does is to strip bare the DPM from whatever larger than life myth that has cocooned him. He is now as vulnerable as any ketua bahagian UMNO in the country. Obviously a bigger number was not impressed with his magical presence that caused elderly people to cry out openly nor were they overwhelmed by the rehearsed religious yodeling by womenfolk. He is just like you and I, triable and therefore condemnable. The horrifying feeling is, the people no longer feel guilty about doing so. No more feeling being inhibited by memories of Tun Razak, no more awed by the position of DPM.
The most terrifying of all is, he is no longer believable. When he says that he now has the interest of Terengganu as priority- he is giving money to Terengganu where none of the same is given to Kelantan and to Pahang, his home base, the KT folks just weren’t hooked. So when the blogger Smalltalk assigned blame squarely on Dato Najib’s shoulders, he has probably got into the plot.