B: 'Goes to show one thing though...'
A: 'And what's that, Tun?'
B: 'That it wasn't due to the pair of marble lions at the entrance of their Wisma MCA which is the cause of the internal squabbles of that party.'
A: 'Why so?'
B: 'Those lions were removed long ago. Maybe they should put up a giant pakua instead to reflect away bad vibes..(wink)'
A: 'My dear Sir, i never thought you would think of such things..'
B: 'Desperation is the mother of invention, Sofea.
Look, there are three things here notwithstanding the interposition of LAL and OKT into the fray which is expected considering their known characters.
First is the surprise. Second is the rationale and third is the test. Surprise, rationale, test.'
A: 'Intriguing. What surprise was that, Tun?'
B: 'Observe that OTK was visibly surprised during the last voting when some of the central delegates took a position against him. Now, only someone who had thought he was doing the right things would be surprised the delegates didn't support him completely. That look of surprise only reinforces the conclusion that he was driven by his ideals, no?'
A: 'Your mind is still sharp, Tun.'
B: 'I recommend tonik cap gajah, Sofea.'
A: 'But Tun, that's an old herb for women pain!'
B: 'Alamak! no wonder my fours have been chuckling behind my back.
Now where was i? Then there's the other surprise. You have CSL seemingly coming together with OTK and distancing from Liow, Wee, Chew and the others. Suddenly he throws in his towel, and i don't mean that towel, and he withdraws a group to pressure reelection. What could have caused that sudden volte face?
With that to ponder, let's move on. The second thing is the rationale.
The overriding rationale is this: the MCA leadership must never be perceived to be under the influence of any external party, political or criminal.
And this perception is going to stick the moment the leaders elected to its office are the ones having unsavory pasts or present baggage.
Whether it is a grainy blue film or a shiny MPV or ties to the alternative financial industry doesn't matter. Why? Because the people will think these things can be used against their leaders later in such a way as to influence the decisions and actions of their party.
Right now, political leadership needs independence and integrity. The rakyat have had enough and want a clean slate.
Why is this important? It is the only way to create a benchmark of integrity. It sets a level for politicians to follow. If the next batch falls below that level, hasta la vista, baby.
Without that level, each new batch will again play the same game. It will be a never-ending story. Except when the country's economy turns turtle.
Now, wouldn't it be preposterous if the leaders of the party you depend on for the future of your family are themselves beholden to invisible external forces whose intentions may be expected to be nefarious to the interest of the community in some unforeseen future?'
A: 'But, Tun, the squabble here is about the democratic principle of reflecting the wishes of the rakyat, the key point against OTK, isn't it?'
B: 'So we have to weigh between the importance of that democratic principle on the one side, and the independence/integrity thing on the other side in this present peculiar situation formed by individuals scrambling to align one side one day and then another side another day, no? Remember to draw the distinction between wishes of the rakyat and wishes of the central delegates.
Let me ask you, Sofea, what is democracy? I only remember someone saying it's "of, by and for the people", yes?
If you say the matter here is about democratic principle which is what some of the central delegates are demanding, let me ask you to qualify what they have shown that are "of, by and for" the people?
Has each of them taken a full survey of the people in their area to confirm that their stand is what those people want so as to mean they are really of and by their people?
And what have they done for their people?
And take their previous admin who are now trying to influence the matter. What have they really done for their people?
Note that although the MCA is a founding member of the coalition from day one, its leaders have not come out to say anything substantial on anything that is nationally important. I mean substantial stuff, not the usual homilies. Stuff like how to make businesses more competitive, what to do about human capital, how to crank up the civil service, what really happens during consensual dialogues with Umno, what's happening in other faster-moving places, even the community's vision for its integral role in V2020. Nuthin'.
In fact if the MCA doesn't lay bare what happens in a nego with say Umno, then the rakyat will conclude there was no nego the MCA was happy to lay out about.
And if that's the case, shouldn't the rakyat know since it is obviously unhealthy to the future of race-based politics in this country?
A: 'Sir, you are taking a jibe at both democracy and Barisan!'
B: 'It's hot and there's nothing on tv.
In any case, don't you think the opponents to OTK are also idealistic too if they are talking about the democratic principle of their honey-ed votes?
Thirdly, the test. Say OTK wins and he arrays his own group. The test is whether the rest will come together with him to revive the party, combining individual strengths to create a whole which is bigger than the sum of its parts. That is the test.
If they don't, the party will fall apart again. And in either direction - because they helming the party will still have to work with his group.
All that will be the end of the Barisan coalition because with Gerakan and MIC down and the old guards leaving the stage across the sea, Umno needs a strong and confident MCA to face GE13. Time is the deciding factor. And time is not what Barisan has.
But if they do, there is a fifty percent chance the center will hold - however, barely.
Why do i say barely? Because Umno has its own agenda. People in the know are saying it wants back that two-third majority in parliament so that it can legislate to gerrymander the GE13 constituencies.
Let's take it hypothetically. Say it keeps the Kelantan oil royalty until the general elections. That's a hefty sum to buy votes, no? And it's easier to buy votes from a constituency delineated down to 10,000 than one which at present is 100,000, yes? After all, the only aim is to get that one more MP. Don't expect the rakyat not to know this. This realization will only strengthen and increase the rakyats' resolve to resist Umno even more.
Let's get back to the argument. Now, if on the other hand OTK is out, the opposition that is Pakatan will have ammo to say that the opposite group at the helm of the MCA are puppets to external influence.
Then no matter what the MCA will be doing, each and every action or decision will be seen with deep suspicion.
So you may get your democratic principle but it cannot operate at the masses level at all since suspicion has entrenched.'
A: 'So what is the strategic thrust for Barisan, Tun?'
B: 'You know, one's strength is also one's weakness. Barisan's strengths are its infrastructure and its financial muscle.
But a heavy infrastructure is also slow and lumbering to make changes, and changes are needed immediately. Not tomorrow, or next month, but now because the clock is ticking.
And having financial muscle can also be bad. People are rankling that their hard-earned money is being used to win votes against their interests.
So Barisan's strategy has to show convincingly and finally that it can overcome its own strengths. Neat, eh? Overcoming one's own strength in order to show one has reformed from the arrogance which was caused by those strengths in the first place.
As an example, let's say tomorrow Perkasa or the Utusan group or some NGO says something idiotic and contrary to 1Malaysia.
Immediately, and i mean immediately, Umno must come out and berate them in no uncertain terms.
Not only that, Umno must immediately institute measures to show it takes a line that will prevent such things from taking root again. Not just words but real action backed by independently provable facts and data.
If they don't, then the rakyat will conclude both are playing a mind game on the rakyat and that's a fatal mistake.
Because the rakyat already know that food piled on the table for them are bought with their money in the hope of getting their favours to continue the same privileges for the loaded elites.'
A: 'sigh.. so many intractable challenges. Is there anything else?'
B: 'I used to have a friend who has since left. One day he got a parking summon. He had read about the C-Index and being curious he wanted to test it. He wrapped his cash payment in a piece of newspaper and walked up to the first floor to pay. He said he saw the sergeants sitting there at the counter. He put the summons slip on the table and said the payment was wrapped in the newspaper. One of them took the parcel, took out the cash, crunched up the newspaper, threw it away behind his shoulder. And pocketed the cash. Then with a wave he said can go back now.
And they all recently got a raise. So, Sofea, let me ask you whether Hisham knows what he's talking when he says he knows what's going and i also ask what's the big deal about people not resigning.
So as not to belabor the messages, there are three key and core statements about this country which any government, pro or against, should be constantly mindful of.'
A: 'And they are?'
B: 'One, substance, not form. Two, enough is enough. Three, do the right thing.'
A: 'Aren't there two more??'
B: 'Oh, you mean "wake up, Malaysia!" and "more brains, please." ?
But if they wake up, they will find it's a nightmare. That explains the denials. Pin the word 'PKFZ' on the wall and see how it will end. In this country, even elephants can disappear.
And as for the other, it's impossible. They have no brains in the first place.'
A: 'Now, now, Tun, that's an exaggeration, no?'