Copyright Notice

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, at the address below.

Sakmongkol ak 47

ariff.sabri@gmail.com

Thursday, 27 October 2011

BN's premature optimism


Why is UMNO facing so many problems when the time comes in selecting candidates for leadership potential? The short answer it seems is because it has never been serious about constructing a system for selection and leadership succession. It’s too much to expect, the member of the JKKK or village committee, the bank and school jagas, village lay-about, to know what the country needs. We might as well elect the hawker to become PM.
Short term judgments cannot produce sustainable leadership. UMNO should have recognized this. They will choose to elect people reflecting their own standards and achievements. After more than 60 years, UMNO which evolved into something radically different from 1988 onwards hasn’t perfected a selection process. Instead it leaves the emergence of leaders to unplanned events and happenstance.
We can’t replicate the times when leaders emerged naturally. When UMNO was formed in 1946, the world was engulfed in an era of fervent nationalism. During that time, leaders with the required temperament and idealism emerged naturally to lead. Once that phase has run its course and the first generation leaders either passed on or were themselves consumed by the corruption of power, natural leaders cannot be found. We have to either replicate the natural milieu (which we can’t)  or consciously plan a process.  We have to do the second option.
On that note, let me make some comments on the prospects of UMNO in the coming general elections. Or more precisely, I want to say something on the source with which UMNO, BN and its likeminded supporters make their prognoses and choice of candidates.
The next GE is probably the toughest UMNO and BN will face. Just consider this. All the leaders of BN component parties in West Malaysia are having trouble at finding a seat to contest. They are all political fugitives with no place to call home.
The leader of the MCA is now negotiating with local MCA leaders on where he should stand. So far 3 MBs have offered Soi Lek a seat that he can choose. He has to prove his winability claim. His deputy is not going to have an easy time in Bentong. He hasn’t sorted out his promise to have the central spine road built in the town of Bentong. See? A leader is judged on the standards of the Jurutera Jalan JKR.
The MIC leader can’t re-contest in Hulu Selangor for he will surely be taken to task over the many things he promised the voters when he was their MP. No one buys his cock and bull story about being sure of being chosen if not for last minute unseen hands. He would have lost if he had stood there. There are indications that he will stand in Cameron Highlands replacing S Devamany. If Devamany stands, MIC will lose that seat. Gerakan’s embattled leader, Koh Tsu Koon is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice, offering not to stand. The leader of the PPP, as the UMNO youth leader recently said on his twitter message, is always a good show warming the stage before the arrival of bigger leaders; he is indeed a good show being in his best element, bowl in hand begging to be given a seat. I thought KJ was referring to a court jester.
Actually it’s all about UMNO. UMNO in the end carries BN. so the way it chooses its leaders on all levels is profoundly important. So far, it hasn’t perfected a sound policy. And it’s not seen as a dominant force as it once was. It’s reduced to constantly having to juggle between the competing needs of component parties. So far, PM Najib is seen as being an easy compromiser.
The way BN and UMNO go about choosing candidates and assessing their chances at the GE is pathetically flawed- because it shows they are not interested in putting up capable, determined and serious leadership for the country. Good leadership is seen as a game of chance- we choose using random methods in the hope, that by some fortuitous process, good leadership emerges. In other words we are leaving it to chance. Because of that, we often have duds emerging as leaders.
A candidate’s suitability is couched in simple-minded things such as getting along great with people, playing futsal or football, a likeable person etc. How do you judge whether a person has the interest of the people and nation at heart? Surely not through walkabouts, playing football and such things; you judge them by their work ethics, by their determination and by their articulation of issues. And doing hard work at raising the standard of living of the people.
The methods employed to make the current assessments indicate qualities that make up a person’s disposition but not a reflection of good leadership. We have to be clear right from the start- we are looking for good leadership not a good person in the sense of possessing a likeable personality. A good person earns credit for himself and the benefits of being a personable fellow accrue to him alone.  But if he is not a good leadership material, his defects affects whole societies.
The country needs good leadership first and foremost- men with abilities, appropriate qualifications and the special quality that allows them to remain cool and collected when under pressure.  The benefits arising from these qualities accrue to society as a whole.
Sadly these are not reflected in the reports on potential candidates. Consequently, they are not of much use to a country that needs good leadership. They are in general questionable- being the product of some shadowy authors feeding off the information gathered and more often than not, fabricated by field operatives. The operatives in turn are easily compromised by the usual stock-in-trade practices of incumbents and elections hopefuls- getting paid to give favorable assessments. Incumbents and election hopefuls know them- the operatives in JASA, Kemas, MIO, the Special branch and numerous point men relied to carry good stories about each hopeful to the people who matter.
Other than being used to select candidates, the reports are also relied to interpret the chances of the incumbent national government. Needless to say, they are self-serving- designed to fortify their own nerves and offer their supporting public the much needed confidence booster.
As to the date of the elections, I am certain it will be held sometime in March 2012. Najib realizes that he needs a mandate of his own making. Is he getting some divine signals as to the elections date?
His pilgrimage to Makkah this time may be prompted by purely pious reasons; as another Muslim, we mustn’t discount another person’s desire to seek religious salvation. We have no reasons to disbelieve Najib’s religiosity is any less than the religiosity of any other outwardly packaged Muslim. Allow me to join so many others to wish him selamat berangkat menunaikan fardhu Haji dan semoga dapat menunaikan nya dengan sempurna.
But as to the date of the elections, the auspicious date isn’t linked to the Makkah pilgrimage at all. The date if it’s already in Najib’s mind may have been suggested by swami ji in India. Yes, it’s the swami ji who told a visiting American lady that his some would one day become the president of the USA which the son did.
Let’s get back to the main story. One piece of news that intrigued me greatly last week was the research undertaken by OSK securities. I waited for a few days to see the reaction to the outcome of the findings by OSK securities. As far as I could see, there were not many reactions to the report by OSK. OSK said, according to its research findings, the BN is set to win the next GE with bigger margins. Are they relying on the reports which I alluded above? Jeepers creepers. The BN and UMNO are doomed.
The dearth of spirited response to the OSK findings may be the result of two possibilities; one- the findings are accepted as legitimate and having more truth quotient in them or; Two- no one is placing much credibility to the findings of OSK. This is probably because OSK’s forte is in doing research for securities, shares and the business health of firms trading on our bourses. OSK is never known for its political assessing prowess.
The state which I am most familiar with is my home state- Pahang. I suppose the same generalizations are applicable as regards the other states. Overall, they overstate the BN and UMNO’s chances by at least 30%. The reports are simply inflated to give a favorable color to them.
What did the report say about Pahang for example? Pahang has 14 parliamentary seats. The report says BN will retain 12 seats. It will lose in Kuantan and Indera Mahkota the two seats now held by PKR. My own assessment is, on the assumption that its chances are overstated by 30%, the BN can only win 9 parliamentary seats. Where will it lose? It will lose in Jerantut, Raub and Bentong. No MCA parliamentary hopefuls or incumbents will win in Pahang in GE13. The parliamentary seats in Bera and Temerloh are also in jeopardy. An interesting seat to watch is Cameron Highlands where there is much grumblings about the incumbent MP, Devamany. If I hear it correctly, the MIC president G Palanivel is set to stand in Cameron Highlands. If Devamany is retained, BN may lose that seat.
PKR is set to retain the Kuantan parliamentary seat as the PKR rep there is seen as being relentless in her fight against the Lynas locating its nuclear waste plant in Gebeng. Public opinion seems unmoved by the explanations and appearance of experts attempting to quell public disquiet about the Lynas Plant. Fauziah Salih has benefited from the unpreparedness of the state government in handling the Lynas issue.
In Indera Mahkota, the PKR rep hasn’t done badly either but chiefly, PKR’s relevance is retained simply because UMNO is no longer seen as the credible platform on which voters can depend on. The local UMNO is devoid of credible leadership and the divisional leader is hardly MP or even ADUN material.
This time around, I don’t see the chances of BN retaining the two state seats in Indera Mahkota as high. Pang Tsu Ming, the incumbent in the Semambu seat looks shaky as that area has a substantial portion of Chinese voters. The other DUN seat currently held by PAS is likely to be retained by PAS. Beserah constituency has a large number of voters with kinship ties with Terengganu and Kelantan.
I fear BN’s chances are not good in Tanjung Lumpur and in Teruntum, Tanah Rata, Ketari. The lone Gerakan rep, a very competent fellow is in the wrong place and wrong time.  

14 comments:

Anonymous,  27 October 2011 at 22:29  

ooopps sorry! its KJ and u who are the court jesters!!!

sakmongkol AK47 27 October 2011 at 22:39  

anon 22:29

u ejaculate prematurely. either you have eaten the putrid curry of days gone buy or ur brain cells are layered with lard.
or horrors...........you are in love with KJ since you cant get him out of ur system. Mukriz put u up to this?

Anonymous,  27 October 2011 at 23:15  

I wonder what OSK Research is doing. Elections is not her field. Maybe, just maybe, OSK wants BN (Bank Negara lah!) to approve her latest mission - to get married to RHB.

OneMalaysian,  28 October 2011 at 00:22  

Dear Sakmongkol

“Actually it’s all about UMNO. UMNO in the end carries BN.”

That was probably true a couple of elections ago. No more. UMNO has just 79 seats in Parliament out of 222. Of the total of 140 BN seats those now held by the other component BN parties held by MCA, Gerakan and MIC – total of 20 - are under serious threat of going to the opposition. So a lot will hang on the 30 seats held Sarawak BN parties, and the 11 held by Sabah BN parties.

So having just 35.6% of all seats, UMNO cannot possibly be the be-all-and end –all of BN. Actually, with the weakness of MCA, Gerakan and MIC, UMNO desperately needs PBB and its allies in Sarawak. That is why, after the recent Sarawak elections Taib Mahmud, without so much as whispering a word to Najib, quietly slipped out to the Istana in the deep of night to be sworn in as CM. He simply showed Najib and the DPM the finger. What can they do to him? Taib knows that the BN government and Najib’s future depends on him.

Ask Sabahans and Sarawakians how much they really care about (West) Malaysian politics, and you get a blank stare. The local politics there overwhelm everything emanating from KL or Putrajaya. Semananjung, Sabah and Sarawak are really 3 separate worlds. So there are the Semananjung UMNO warlords, and there are Sabah and Sarawak warlords. Each has clawed his way to the top through money politics involving cronyism and corruption – through privatization deals and government contracts in the Peninsular, and through timber and land deals in Sabah and Sarawak. If the top leaders are “elected” this way, expect the rest of the party leadership at lower levels to be the same.

UMNO was never like this before Mahathir came to power. The old UMNO had ideals. But after1987 under the stewardship of Mahathir UMNO evolved into a party in which devious, greedy and corrupt leaders have become rich at the expense of the ordinary Malays. This poor quality leadership is reflected in the numerous instances of mismanagement of this country’s wealth as reported by the Auditor General. Nothing is ever done because each trail would lead to an UMNO leader or crony.

Have we not seen or heard enough to say Malaysia deserves a change from this corrupt and inept BN government?

Anonymous,  28 October 2011 at 00:35  

Dato,

The rumour going round town is that the Adun for Semambu has stakeholder interest in the Lynas project. He had much earlier formed a transport company having bid contract with Lynas for transporting rare earth materials.

That's why he is pro-Lynas all the way. So guess his seat will also have to be 'transported' to someone else?

It that true?

bruno,  28 October 2011 at 00:39  

Dato,how come Umno is facing problems when it comes to selecting candidates for the upcoming elections,especially candidates with potential leadership.Well the answer is just plain and simple.Well no sane educated Malays will want to have anything to do with the Umno politicians who practiced corruption and gutter politics.

And these very corrupted politicians would want to remain in power for as long as possible to be able to continue to milk the cash cow.So once in a while a potential good candidate might pop up.But this good candidate will be chased out the door as fast as he came in by the politician's cronies to safeguard their boss's position.

But to get really serious,let us ask PM Najib.Well,Mr PM,how come your present cabinet is known to have the most appointed back door members in the entire history of Malaysian politics.With more than half your cabinet members being political rejects,how do you expect the GOM to function.In other words how are we going to grade your performance with all the clowns working for you.Do we give you a capital C for clowns or F for failures.

There are no more safe seats for the leaders of the BN component parties.Where ever they stand,Malay majority areas or not,they will most probably lose.In fact after the results are announced,Mca,Mic and Gerakan will be happy if they have a combined winner of three seats.Umno will come home a lame duck.Maybe a hung government,a dozen seats either way.

el especial,  28 October 2011 at 00:57  

“During that time, leaders with the required temperament and idealism emerged naturally to lead. Once that phase has run its course and the first generation leaders either passed on or were themselves consumed by the corruption of power, natural leaders cannot be found. We have to either replicate the natural milieu (which we can’t) or consciously plan a process. We have to do the second option.”


Indeed we cannot replicate the natural milieu. As true as it is, rest assured that nature has a rather insidious way of running its course. While we are asleep, the water in the river runs.

Take the state that we are in today. You certainly can’t argue that things are ideal or perfect or how you would want them to be. We are moving far from it towards a chaotic state characterized by rampant destruction, etc etc. Yet this is the natural order. An order that will bring so much destruction so as to rid and cleanse the system anew. Only then can there be an equilibrium of sorts.

One may try to move the system towards this state yet it is an uphill task. The current state of order is so saturated and diluted in a mess of its own making that to untangle, it simply need artificial shocks to the system. And it has to be wide spread to afflict all. The 2008 tsunami is but a small step, of ripples in the sea. Regionally and worldwide more are coming. If its to me, I would put it that artificial shocks are nothing compared to the nature’s order of chaos and destruction as a path to salvation, symmetry, and statis. Some call it composure. Now I’m being long winded.

“Good leadership is seen as a game of chance- we choose using random methods in the hope, that by some fortuitous process, good leadership emerges. In other words we are leaving it to chance. Because of that, we often have duds emerging as leaders.”

The current milieu does not allow a leader to be true to him/herself and up hold the ideals he/she holds dear lest be seen and ostracized as an outcast trying to instigate foreign elements into the system.Forward steps the duds. A step back for the reluctant leader. They fiddle while the city burns. And burn the city will until the sky is engulf with nothing but darkness. So we wait.

The night is dark before a new dawn.


“The methods employed to make the current assessments indicate qualities that make up a person’s disposition but not a reflection of good leadership. We have to be clear right from the start- we are looking for good leadership not a good person in the sense of possessing a likeable personality. A good person earns credit for himself and the benefits of being a personable fellow accrue to him alone. But if he is not a good leadership material, his defects affects whole societies.”


Agreed. And behind these leaders, there are those who prefer to be the invisible hand. Unnoticed yet potent.

Anonymous,  28 October 2011 at 08:22  

Dato,

Since 1988 it is UMNO Baru, with member no.1 Tum MM. New set of goals, rules and culture. It is trying to look like UMNO, sound like UMNO, but it is NOT UMNO. That's why it's method of choosing leaders is very different than UMNO. Period.

Anonymous,  28 October 2011 at 09:09  

If OSK can make political predictions, so can that guy who sleeps along the pavement in my town and takes bath perhaps once in his life time.

Anonymous,  28 October 2011 at 09:55  

Dato,

I cannot believe that UMNO has any problems with fielding winnable candidates and winning the GE13 with increased majority. Why? Its because I have faith in the PM and DPM comforting words that UMNO and BN are very much stronger because UMNO and BN have changed and coupled with all the transformation programs that are or will be in place, the 1Rakyat will surely benefit from the caring government's programs. As the DPM said, we have to be grateful to the BN for all the fine things we have in Malaysia such as public transport that never runs on time or the MRT that breaks down only twice a day. We should be grateful that UMNO and BN government did not impose a "air" tax on Malaysians for breathing in the 1Malaysia fresh air.

Not a single day passes by without the MSM blasting bold prints on the media about the government's successful or soon to be successful transformation programs. We already have the successful 1Malaysia slogan giving birth to 1Rakyat shops managed by Maidin. We have people writing to the MSM to ask for the government to build 1Rakyat Cinemas in the rural areas to show only "Made in 1Malaysia" malay movies to promote local malay movies production. We have our much learned DPM cum Education Minister deciding that Maths and Science should remain to be taught in Bahasa so that our young 1Malaysians will be the best educated in Bahasa Science and Maths in our own proud 1Malaysia land. Never mind that our young 1Malaysians do not know English because the rest of the world will soon have to learn our Bahasa if they want to do business with us.

Our Auditor General's annual reports highlight the massive overspending and mismanagement of funds/budgets by the various government Ministeries. But comparing ourselves with Zimbabwe, Rwanda and other African banana republics, our Ministeries are not doing that bad with the funds mismanagement. After all, our country is still not bankrupt yet which means that there is plenty of money to be overspent by the government before we even need to press the panic button. Why, the Youth and Sports Ministry can still go out and buy another 23 horses for another RM5.6 million to keep the initial herd of 23 horses company while the officials go on overseas study tours to learn about what to do with the total 46 horses.

With so many beautiful horses decorating our surroundings and radioactive processing plants sprucing up our country side, how can UMNO and BN lose in the coming elections. We, the 1Malaysians, will continue to vote in UMNO and BN to be government in order that Najib's transformation programs are implemented. We the 1Malaysians are ever so thankful to UMNO for its vision and programs to steer our 1Malaysia and forge ahead of our poor miserable neighbours.

Thank you UMNO. Thank you BN. We support you all the way. 1Malaysia Boleh, UMNO lagi boleh.

Anonymous,  28 October 2011 at 10:24  

Anon 22:29,
Kah kah kah kena taruk by Dato

walla 28 October 2011 at 14:15  

anon 09.55

tabik spring!

Anonymous,  28 October 2011 at 15:33  

Maybe BN, especially UMNO, have some "secret" weapons in the Bangla, the Indons, the Fillipinos, even the Iranians up their sleeves?

hishamh 29 October 2011 at 00:54  

Dato' Sak

"Why is UMNO facing so many problems when the time comes in selecting candidates for leadership potential? The short answer it seems is because it has never been serious about constructing a system for selection and leadership succession."

My suggestion would be to bring back municipal/district elections.

As it is now, state elections are winner take all. That entrenches the feudal culture that has pervaded Malaysian politics since the 1970s. Local leaders would have to prove their worth, instead of relying on the patronage of state party leaders. And in doing so, they can hone their political, leadership and administrative skills in a competitive environment. You won't have to pick the candidates - they'll arise out of the process itself.

You also won't have the farce of youth wings being led by 40 year olds, as local elections provide the outlet for the political ambitions of younger leaders out to prove themselves.

My 2 sen worth.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP