Saturday, 31 January 2009

Money and Leadership Quality


 

Today, I read a report in the NST about the reluctance of UMNO delegates and leaders to attend briefings by MACC. This reluctance can only be an indicator that corruption in UMNO is endemic. It has reached such an alarming proportion, that UMNO leaders dare not listen to the truth. In the immortal words of Colonel Jessup in A Few Good Men, they can't handle the truth.

Only the numbskulled and belligerent UMNO leaders will deny that money politics are not widespread in UMNO. Every single post at the cawangan, bahagian and next, the MKT are won or loss on the battlefield of money politics.

But this general reluctance on the part of UMNO leaders is symptomatic of something more sinister. It reflects the fast diminishing quality of leadership. Over the years, there developed a relationship between the use of money and quality of leadership. Perhaps it can be used as an axiom with explanatory potential. The nature of the relationship can be written as: there is an inverse relationship between the use of money and leadership quality. Where more money is used, it is almost certain, the leadership quality declines.

There are rational reasons of such an inverse relationship. People with questionable character, lacking and shortcomings, will resort to using money to cover these weaknesses. The more weaknesses they have, the more money is used. Money is the universal language where even the illiterate and mentally challenged can understand. Money is the great leveler of the playing field. It allows the political moron equal chance with the political don. It sanitizes the morally depraved and passes them as political saints.

Once this inverse relationship between the quantity of money and leadership quality is established, it can be used to set up some policies. Less amount of money used indicates higher leadership quality. The man with character, determination and mental abilities will be less inclined to use money to advance his position. Instead he is willing to allow delegates to evaluate him on his merits. The better person will want to use less money knowing that he obtained them through his hard efforts. Frugality in the usage of money is also an indicator of personal discipline.

How then can the system be managed so as to provide ease for the more capable to rise? First we raise the difficulty bar for those with deep pockets but empty minds to contest. One of the ways is to make it exceedingly costly for even those with deep pockets to advance their cause. Selection of leaders can be made costly if we allow (a) all the delegates at cawangans to vote (b) the delegates at Bahagians to vote. The General assembly does not vote. Since money is taken out of the equation, this will force UMNO members to choose candidates based on their merits. No one, mindful of the cost will want to pay 2 million delegates at the cawangans to get elected.

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The Rise of Moneyocracy in UMNO

Dato Najib has said it. UMNO will not abolish the various UMNO ‘wings’. He said it is too drastic a measure. He was responding to Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen’s suggestions on UMNO’s structural set up. He was joined by other notable UMNO leaders in saying that.

The main issue as Dato Najib rightly says is money politics. Appeasing and consoling pemudas, puteris and wanitas should not overwhelm our focus on the baneful effects of money politics. But undue attention to assuage hurt feelings in the wings will do just that. Deflect our attention from the main issue.

The main issue here is, are we willing to compromise a system which we set out to do? All right thinking UMNO members are united in purpose to set up a political system that brings up this country. The integrity of that system depends, among other things, on ensuring nothing undermines it. Corruption, if allowed will eat into the foundations of that system. In that system, UMNO places itself as the principal enforcer. UMNO compromises the system and becomes a willing participant to the decay, if it is hesitant to be firm on corruption.

It must start therefore by cleaning its own stables. It is a Herculean task. The MACC with full political will is the shovel for that task. UMNO will not escape ridicule and disrepute if it does anything that curtails the effectiveness of the MACC. That would be equivalent of giving a gun to the Disciplinary Board, but no bullets to shoot with. Ku Din as chairman of UMNO’s Disciplinary Board swallows its own vomit, if it holds back from unleashing its full force on corruption. Why go after the small fries? It is an open secret that all the major posts in UMNO are being fought out on the battlefields of Moneyocracy. I am thankful to the blogger who goes by the name Raison d’ĂȘtre who introduces me to this term.

We have set out to establish a system to build UMNO into a respectable party to represent Malay interests provided also we have not compromised the nation’s interests. Snuffing out money politics in UMNO is not just an exercise of showing we are righteous. It must be accepted as an imperative to preserve the integrity of UMNO. Once that integrity is compromised by a practice such as endorsing money politics, the foundations on which UMNO stands will crumble. Sloshing our way through with money is not the UMNO and certainly not the Malay way.

That is the essence of his musings, obtainable if serious gloss is applied. On the other hand if we are superficial, if our constitution is one with a shallowness of the mind, we will be quick to dismiss Ku Din’s suggestions as the musings of a senile mind. We will just be plebeian if we take Ku Din’s remarks at nominal value. In the absence of a firm counter rebuke from the UMNO leadership at the show of defiance by representatives of ‘2500’ delegates, I am inclined, to believe the present UMNO leadership is superficial and has not got a clue on what is happening.

The scourge of UMNO, is money politics. That has been decried since 30 years ago. Since that time too, UMNO has been powerless or even unwilling to stem out money politics. The last UMNO gentleman, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was willing to become a victim rather than capitulate under the weight of Moneyocracy. For that, he is viewed as a dangerous gadfly even by UMNO members. with regards to money politics, UMNO appears to be directionless.

Indeed, UMNO is seen as befudging the issue of money politics. Dato Najib says that solution lies in effective policing and infusing values in UMNO. These are big words. But then Dato Najib is a big figure. He must speak in grandiloquent terms- policing and values. If those exhortations and prayers were written down, I would have to say; they have not even dried up, when they are already savaged.

All right thinking UMNO members in particular and Malays in general should register their profound condemnation and disgust at the antics of a group of putera and pemuda UMNO rebuking Pak lah for allowing the MACC to carry out its job. One protester even shouted pejoratively that Pak Lah is a coward. Surely that behaviour was beyond the bounds of decency.

What is more offensive to our collective decency was the open embrace of corruption as a means to secure power and positions. What else can explain their vehement protestations on MACC?

The leaders of the group staging their protests to the UMNO leadership, say they represent 2500 youth delegates all over the country. But please tell us, which 2500 delegates? Are they the delegates from the underbellies of UMNO made up of the UMNO members devoid of any iota of honour? Are they, those faceless members from the cawangans, mat rempits, enforcers and the UMNO lumpen-proletariat? Do they comprise those whose means of making extra money is the continuance of the present UMNO system? And what appears to be the system which they rise up in stout defence? Are they the 2500 mute delegates who agree in unison that it is all right to resort to Moneyocracy?. I hope, this is NOT the new UMNO ideology deriving its legitimacy from the hallowed traditions of UMNO. Mati Lah UMNO macam ini.

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Friday, 30 January 2009

The Chairman Speaks or Squeeks?

It was Winston Churchill in 1941 who said: We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job.
Ku Din may have wished he had all the tools. Unfortunately he does not. Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen is chairman of the UMNO Disciplinary Board. It looks into complaints about breaches in discipline and campaign ethics. It has been most preoccupied with complaints about money politics. Ku Din has also said that the majority of complaints were not able to be resolved. Perhaps only 10% of the complaints ever get to see the light of day.
The Disciplinary Board is more renowned for its failures than successes. Even its success in getting the biggest name thus far, that of Tan Sri Isa Samad was tainted with accusations of selective persecution. Isa Samad, the story goes, was a victim of political assassination.
In that sense, Ku Din can also be said to be a tired and beaten man. He is frustrated. The political will is there, the execution is absent. The tools by which he can enforce discipline and rules are not there.
I am not sure whether the board members who are mostly drawn from retired politicians have the technical expertise to carry out forensic investigations into complaints. Hence, Ku Din was more than willing to let the reconstituted MACC carry out investigations. The Board is also more satisfied to play the role of a final arbiter.
The board’s move to have the investigation part done by the MACC should be regarded as a complementary role sharing. Instead it is looked upon a sign admitting ineffectiveness. It wasn’t accepted supportively. The UMNO shock troopers are descending upon a few of Ku Din’s efforts like packs of wolves. 50 people were reported to stage a protest of sorts airing their objections at MACC. They want UMNO’s internal problems to be sorted out according to UMNO ways. And so we ask, what is the UMNO way?
They are asking Ku Din who is regarded as senile to desist trampling their rights. And pray tell what this right is? Is it the right to demand money for votes? Is it the right to sell votes for money? Or is it the right to accept corruption as a way of life?
It has to come out at last, UMNO people think different set of laws apply on them. If that line of thinking is pushed to the extreme, then one day, we shall see demands by UMNO people that Malay problems are dealt with the Malay way. And what is that? We have a different set of laws as opposed to the common law?
The more sinister implication is, in UMNO corruption is acceptable. It is allowed within UMNO and that is why common law against corruption are not applicable within UMNO.
The issues raised by Ku Din’s opinions are not given fair hearing;
(1) The abolition of Putera and Puteri wings
(2) The dismantling of Wanita and Pemuda wings
(3) The abolition of quota system
(4) The issue of money politics.
Instead our attention is diverted to questioning the wisdom of Ku Din’s scrap the puteri and pemuda wings. We are silent on the quota system and we are applying all sorts of qualifying tests on money politics. Sidetracking and the art of political obfuscation are at play here.
Ku Din’s Board may have gotten all but unqualified political will. The UMNO president and the entire MKT must put all their weight behind the crusade against money politics. Instead it seems to be succumbing to pressures from the very transgressors which the powers of the board want to weed out.
The crusade against money politics has taken a secondary role. The focus is now to denounce Ku Din for mentioning the unmentionable; disbanding the puteri and puetra wings.
His opinions are taken over-seriously by Puteri and Putera. They have submitted letters of protest even though, Najib has already said, that won’t happen. If Najib and other UMNO leaders have already said No! to Ku Din’s remarks, why the overkill? Allowing that to pass would imply the putera and puteri are sleeping. The actions were just advertisement of their weakening relevance. We haven’t seen letters and protest decrying money politics.
Their enthusiastic vehemence against just an idea from an old UMNO guard should also be matched with the same vigour with regards to abhorrence to money politics. Ku din’s opinions are the fabled Don Quixote’s dragons, while the real menace of money politics and what they do to the erosion of trust in UMNO is taken lightly. Hence all and sundry in UMNO pretend that money politics in UMNO has not reached alarming proportions. So, dream on you UMNO people.
But let us take a closer look at Ku Din’s suggestions.
Having been freed from that responsibilities, has allowed Ku Din a freer turf. He can for example, let fly a few trial balloons. I believe he has done that recently. He may be testing waters. Doing that has also reinvigorated tired UMNO minds. The otherwise inert minds of Muhyiddin, Hishamuddin, Noraini, Rafidah, and Azeez Raheem suddenly sprang into action.
The balloons I am referring relates to Ku Din’s thinking out-loud on several aspects regarding UMNO. He has given some thoughts on UMNO’s organisational structure. Perhaps he says, maybe it is our organisational structure that breeds money politics. Accordingly, he has proposed the following. Abolish the Putera and Puteri wings. He has also suggested that UMNO do away with the Youth and Wanita wings.
Ku Din has his reasons. He believes, having too many sub-organisations increases also the avenue of money politics. He proposes to amputate the wings. We disband them and absorb them into one UMNO. He thinks a consolidated UMNO is a better deterrent to money politics.
His calls for the abolition may in fact be a call of desperation and hopelessness. Ku Din is merely expressing what the general public has accepted, UMNO is almost beyond redemption. Denying that money politics has so ravaged UMNO, strengthens the idea that its business as usual in UMNO. I am afraid that optimism is misplaced.
There is a chink in Ku Din’s opinions. Let us offer a counter argument. It may expose the weakness in Ku Din’s trial balloon. As an illustration, let us suppose with all the wings of UMNO plus their parent body, we find 100 cases of corruption. Since there are 5 separate units under UMNO, we further assume that each has committed 20 cases of money politics. These 20 cases are carried out by elements within each unit.
Now, as Tengku Din says, we abolish the 4 wings and allow only the parent body, i.e. UMNO to exist. What do we have? We have a situation where all those who committed money politics offenses in the now defunct units, are co-opted into the main body. What happens then? That will mean the number of those who have committed the wrongs remains the same at 100. Except, they now exist under the principal organisation. By default, they regroup in another area. They become concentrated and therefore stronger.
Therefore, disbanding the Wanita, Pemuda, Puteri and Putera does not remove the corrupting elements. What the proposal does is to eliminate the organisational units hosting the cancerous elements. Disbanding the various sub units, gives Tengku Din the false promise that with the demise of these units, the cancerous elements are extinguished. I am not going to entertain the plebeian analogy of ‘if we clip the wings, how can it fly?’ UMNO is not an animal sunny.
For that reason, we are thankful Tengku Din is not a medical doctor. For, what he actually proposes is to transplant defective and degenerative hearts, kidneys, liver and other such organs into an already equally ravaged body. The cancerous elements will infect the larger body and will hasten its death. Then, there exists a real danger of allowing the cancerous elements to prosper within a more spacious body.

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Thursday, 29 January 2009

The Trials and Tribulations of the UMNO Disciplinary Board

It is interesting to note the recommendations of Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen. As many know, he is the chairman of the UMNO disciplinary Board. One of its principal functions is to evaluate and investigate complaints of breaches of discipline in UMNO. He has been a minister in the cabinet of Tun Razak, Hussein Onn and Tun Mahathir. He was a so-so minister. Coming from the state of Kelantan, he could never measure up to the eminence and prominence enjoyed by the other Kelantan personage- the larger than life figure of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
The chief complaint nowadays is the rampant use of money politics. Thus far, in this role it has been found wanting.
It is both feared and ridiculed. It’s feared because it has punitive powers. It can suspend or expel a member. However it is often seen as a toothless tiger, its chairman indecisive and incapacitated. It is also seen as a tool for top leadership to carry out selective persecution. The ultimate signal seems to rest with the UMNO president. It depends on who he wants to bump off.
Before any one case is brought for hearing before the board, whereby the accused is allowed to defend him or herself, the complaint is evaluated first by a preliminary committee. Imagine therefore a pre-selection committee. It has powers to determine the fate of any one complaint. It alone decides whether the complaint deserves to see the light of day. This committee probably consist of a few people. It is they who decide the merits of each complaint.
Because it serves as a filtering committee, it has attracted its own share of criticisms. One of the most common criticisms is the usage of selective filtering. At this stage, the subject of the complaint or his/her agents can still influence whether one’s case is brought before the disciplinary board.
Take the example of the case of Isa Samad. The constantly eye-twitching Tan Sri Isa was one of the contestants in the vice president’s post. He subsequently won top position. For a brief period he enjoyed the privilege of sitting immediately next to the deputy president on the stage in PWTC. Alas, his glory days did not last. He was accused of using money to secure that position. He was found guilty of money politics by the UMNO Disciplinary Board and was suspended as an UMNO member.

Isa Samad’s punishment was more or less expected as he was quite open about using money to secure votes. His notoriety in this aspect reached its high point when during his speech at the podium; he warned that those who had taken money from his agents but did not vote for him, will get their punishment in the hereafter. That speech was known as the infamous ‘ padang mahsyar speech’
The question and suspicions of many UMNO members was and is, why only Isa Samad? The other prominent contestant who was also perceived and known to be a heavy punter was Ali Rustam. Indeed he himself was very sure he would be the next to be hauled up and made to suffer the same fate as Isa Samad. He was saved from the political gallows.
The answer may very well lie with the pre-selection committee. A few greying men, unfortunately known to be unfree from their dependence on UMNO’s business largesse, determine which one need to brought up to the main board.

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Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Bangun dan Jatuh UMNO(1)

Bila UMNO di tubuhkan pada tahun 1946, tujuan nya ialah menentang penubuhan Malayan Union. Malayan Union adalah gagasan politik pihak kolonialis. Butiran yang terkandung dalam konsep MU, sudah di ketahui ramai. Saya tidak akan membebankan pembaca dengan kebosanan.

Jika penolakan dan penentangan kolonialsime di anggap sebagai satu REVOLUSI, maka UMNO telah pun melakukan suatu revolusi. Dengan Merdeka dalam tahun 1957, penolakan kolonialisme di perteguhkankan. Revolusi di permantapkan pada suatu tahap tambahan lagi.

Tapi ternyata, setelah sisa2 kolonialism yang di tolak, orang Melayu tidak juga menyelesaikan masaalah mereka. Antara nya ketinggalan orang melayu dalam bidang ekonomi. Kedudukan orang Melayu pun tidak terjamin sepenuhnya apabila, kolonialisme di nyahkan.

Nyatalah, pembuangan kolonialisme dalam bentuk yang konvensional perlu di susuli oleh revolusi yang berterusan. Revolusi yang saya maksudkan ialah penolakan dan pembuangan cara lama dalam kehidupan kita.

Sebagai contoh; revolusi dalam cara kita hidup berekonomi. Ratusan malah ribuan tahun, kita menyarai hidup kita dengan cara yang kita warisi dari tok nenek kita. Kita namakan cara cara tersebut sebagai teknoloji. Iaitu aplikasi pengalaman dan pengetahuan keatas usaha perekonomian. Kalau kita bertani, kita membajak tanah, menyemai, bercucuk tanam dan menuai dengan cara cara yang kita di perturunkan dari tok nenek kita.

Setelah kita membuang kolonialisme kita merasakan kita perlu mengejar pula pencapaian negara negara lain yang 20-30 tahun ke hadapan. Dengan teknoloji ekonomi yang kita warisi, kita berdepan dengan misi dan cita cita mengejar cara hidup masyarakat lain yang maju.. Tidak semena mena, kita merasakan kita pun mesti menyaingi bangsa lain pergi ke angkasa. Sebagai contoh, kita merasakan gaya hidup masyarakat yang mempunyai golongan angkasawan, adalah suatu gaya hidup yang kita, orang Melayu mesti juga dapatkan.

Tapi bolehkah kita mencapai gaya hidup tersebut dengan meneruskan cara cara lama kita menyarai kehidupan ekonomi kita? Jawapan nya, tentu tidak boleh. Kita memerlukan REVOLUSI.

Apakah pengajaran yang kita dapati daripada perjalanan, maju dan mundur sesuatu masyarakat? Pengajaran yang paling asas, ialah bahawa kemajuan memerlukan peninggalan teknoloji lama dengan gantian teknoloji baru. Prinsip nya: setiap jalan mara kehadapan memerlukan pembuangan teknoloji lama.

Nah, sekarang, kita aplikasikan prinsip tersebut keatas UMNO. Jumlah semua cara cara UMNO beroperasi, mewakili teknoloji yang ia ada. Teknoloji tersebut telah berbakti kepada UMNO sejak 1946. Dan untuk suatu tempoh, teknoloji lama, cara kita memilih pemimpin, menentukan calun dan menentukan ahli UMNO, meletakkan asas dan misi perjuangan, telah memfaedahkan perjuangan UMNO.

Namun, pada PRU yang ke-12, kemantapan teknoloji yang di milki oleh UMNO menjadi persoalan. Soal nya, sama ada cara lama UMNO beroperasi mampu meneruskan kelansungan hayat UMNO? Tanda tanda PRU ke12 menunjukkan, keberkesanan serta kerelevenan teknoloji tersebut sudah sampai ke penghujung.

Saya tidak perlu menghuraikan satu persatu kebobrokan keatas UMNO akibat dari pautan yang bereterusan serta degil yang tidak rasional kepada teknoloji lama UMNO.

Kecuali, yang merusingkan kita semua, penyokong UMNO terutama nya ialah kedegilan pimpinan UMNO melihat tulisan diatas dinding yang amat ketara. Pimpinan UMNO di litupi oleh kedegilan, malah kesombongan dengan menyatakan bahawa apa yang terjadi keatas UMNO adalah kebejatan yang bersifat SEMENTARA. Realiti nya, ialah rakyat, yang majoriti nya, telah pun menolak UMNO. Apa yang berlaku sekarang, hari ini, ialah pujukan dan ajakan untuk mentalqinkan UMNO. Selagi kedegilan dan kesombongan pimpinan UMNO berterusan, jalan selamat UMNO sudah tida ada.

Jalan selamat nya hanya satu- melakukan perubahan yang bersifat REVOLUSIONER. Revolusi berlaku apabila mereka yang berkuasa tidak boleh lagi meneruskan sistem lama, manakala golongan keatas mana kuasa di perlakukan, TIDAK MAHU sistem lama di teruskan. Revolusi berlaku apabila kepentingan dua golongan yang berbeza, bertembung. Pertembungan tersebut, dapat kita lihat sekarang.

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Demokrasi UMNO=$RM

Seorang rakan memberi tahu saya, kalau ikut kajian hari kiamat. apa yang sedang berlaku keatas UMNO hari ini, adalah tanda tanda kecil, kiamat keatas UMNO. Peranan kita sekarang ialah menanti saat untuk membaca talqin untuk UMNO.

Musa Hitam kata, UMNO mengalami sakit tua dan ubat nya ialah orang muda. Kita semua tahu Musa Hitam bukan lah cerdik sangat orang nya. Kehebatan nya ialah bermain politik. Kerana itu dia di gelar political animal. Dia suka berpolitik, 24/7. Erti nya, 24 jam, 7 hari seminggu, selama 52 minggu setahun.

Sakit tua mana ubat nya, Tun? Nabi pun kata, setiap penyakit ada ubat nya kecuali tua dan mati. Apabila tua, penyudahan nya ialah mati. Yang boleh di lakukan ialah melewatkan mati tersebut dengan usaha usaha yang pelbagai. Usaha yang pelbagai ini tidak semestinya di lakukan oleh orang muda.

Masaalah nya UMNO sudah tidak boleh di selamatkan lagi, kecuali ia musnah. Bila musnah, barulah ia boleh di bangunkan kembali. Dalam bahasa Inggerris fenomena ini di panggil, phoenix rises from the ashes.

Keadaan dalam UMNO sekarang ialah retak menanti belah. Dalam sejarah mana mana negara atau organisasi, keruntuhan berlaku dari dalam. Atau factor factor dalaman lah yang menjadi penyebab utama, mengapa keruntuhan berlaku.

Retak retak dalam UMNO bermula hampir 30 tahun dahulu. Antara penyebab utama ialah politik dengan cara menggunakan kuasa wang. Politik wang menggantikan prinsip demokrasi dalam UMNO. Apabila orang UMNO bercakap mengenai demokrasi, dan saya mohon maaf kerana menyebut nya secara begini, yang mereka maksudkan ialah banyak mana wang kamu boleh beri saya untuk memilih kamu? Itu demokrasi UMNO.

Walhal, kalau kita betul betul faham, pemilihan demokrasi yang sebenar nya, adalah proses penapisan semula jadi. Kalau kita suka, kita boleh menganggap nya sebagai proses natural selection dalam politik. Dalam proses tersebut, kita menyaring yang kurang cekap dan berupaya dengan memilih mereka yang lebih cekap dan lebih berupaya. Dengan cara ini, kita menterjemahkan kepercayaan kita bahawa, apa yang masyarakat kita mahukan, ialah pimpinan yang terbaik.

Apa system berpolitik main dengan wang lakukan, ialah merosak dan mengacau natural selection process ini. Ianya mengakibatkan, yang kurang cekap dan yang kurang upaya dalam pelbagai serbi mengatasi dan menenggelamkan yang terbaik dalam masyarakat kita.

Maka tidaklah menghairankan, jika masyarakat Melayu mendapati diri mereka, di bekal secara berlebihan dengan pimpinan yang kurang bermutu. Jika pimpinan kita kurang bermutu, bagaimana kita mengharapkan kepentingan kepentingan kita di perjuangkan dengan berkesan dan dengan cara yang hormat?

Jangan lah kita bercakap banyak mengenai nilai itu dan ini semasa membuat pilihan pimpinan. Orang Melayu dalam UMNO hari ini hanya tahu satu sahaja cara untuk memilih pemimpin. Mereka akan memilih dengan mengikut dari mana datang nya duit. Dimana duit mengalir dengan laju dan mudah, disitulah undi orang Melayu bertumpu.

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