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Sakmongkol ak 47

Thursday 11 September 2008

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty.

I have written on this so many times. About the kind of leadership we want in UMNO.

The UMNO in Pak Lah has deserted him a long time ago. The almost universal perception of Pak Lah is that he is a bungling fool who makes a mess of this country. He and Najib are the wrecking crew in Malaysian politics.

Don’t overplay the fact that his grandfather was the one who suggested the date of independence. Otherwise, we will infer a person’s greatness based on the science of geomancy. Many of us will recall the early days when our mainstream newspapers carried writings to link up his religious lineage to infer greatness. Hence his cucu ulama moniker.

After the 2004 general elections he was able to say, he is the prime minister who has achieved the greatest victory in UMNO history.

The results of the 2008 GE showed that this was a fluke. People voted favourably for Pak Lah based on false promises. Pak Lah promised us many things- good governance, better management, transparency etc. In the end, Pak Lah’s tenure can be summed up as the title in one of Milton Friedman’s book- Bright Promises, Dismal performance.

The 2004 victory, where the opposition was all but annihilated was the result of many factors. One is the personality of Pak Lah himself. Malaysians have this affinity with the mysterious just as the British has this romanticism about desolate places. People actually didn’t know who Pak Lah really is.

He has the demeanour of a kind and soft personality. This was in contrast to Tun Mahathir who is a strict disciplinarian but actually kind hearted. I am sure, anyone who has come face to face with Tun Mahathir will testify to this impression. But Pak Lah was no way near Tun Mahathir’s formidable intellect. But we can forgive that.

Malaysians liked his religious lineage. The newspapers widely published photographs of him leading prayers as imam. Malaysians wanted a change of fresh air. This fresh air was represented by Pak Lah who exudes all the charm and fealties of a very loyal prince in waiting. Until he assumes power that is.

And so Malaysians voted overwhelmingly for Pak Lah because of exuberant hopes. It turned out, to borrow the phase used by Zaharan Razak(but in reversal)- substance to the shadow, bustle to the hustle. In the end, we find out, he has no substance to back up his mythologized external form and only bustle to actual action. Or like the character Sir Humphrey in Yes Prime Minister said, he has commanded the art of masterly inactivity. Or to repeat my favourite description, the Morarji Desai syndrome.

Morarji Bhai Desai, the loyal follower of Mahatma Ghandi finally became India’s PM , I think he was 81 when he became PM. he knew he has reached the final phase in his journey. While affairs of states were left with his other ministers, he indulged himself with a range of esoteric pastimes. This included working on the spindle to produce his own loin cloth and experimenting in classical Indian medicinal practice. One of them, involved drinking his own urine, which he called urine therapy.

Politically, Morarji Desai led a fractious coalition which immediately draws parallels to the BN under Pak Lah’s stewardship.

The chickens came home to roost in the 2008 general elections. While still having the largest number of seats( 79), there’s no denying that UMNO is a shadow to its former self.

It lost 30 seats at parliament level, the biggest suffered by any one political party. Over 1.2 million of its members did not vote or if they did come out to vote, chose non UMNO candidates. And 3.5 million Malays did not vote for UMNO. UMNO candidates received only near to 2.2 million votes. The UMNO/BN government lost power in 5 states and was nearly decimated in Wilayah Persekutuan.

The disastrous performance can only be attributed to the weak leadership of Pak Lah and Najib Tun Razak. Yes, we must not attribute blame only to Pak Lah. Najib to all intents and purposes presided over more cabinet committees that Pak Lah. That way, he is also liable. He has the nation’s pulse under his management.

In the 2008 GE, he was the national director of operations. He was interested only in his parliamentary seat, engineering a bigger majority. It was all about projecting an image of universal support, more becoming he thought, of a man making an appointment with destiny. So while others languished, Najib was able to roar like a tiger yes- but a paper tiger.


Anonymous,  11 September 2008 at 16:55  

sigh. so fooled by pak lah's holey moley image.

Ariff Sabri 11 September 2008 at 18:57  

dont feel bad. TUn mahathir also admitted his mistake

Unknown 11 September 2008 at 20:56  

"So while others languished, Najib was able to roar like a tiger yes- but a paper tiger."
salah tu, bukan paper tiger, tapi tiger balm.

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