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Sakmongkol ak 47

Wednesday 25 February 2009

A New Thinking for a New Leadership

What is uppermost in the minds of our top leadership? Politics is the overwhelming and overriding preoccupation. Undoubtedly it is the UMNO leadership elections. The federal government is facing some critical buy by-elections.

DS Najib is unchallenged as the new UMNO President. The assembly in March 2009 will give him the endorsement thus legitimizing his position as UMNO president.

Naturally, he too will be occupied with politics. There are two things where he must direct his mind and resources. These are:-

(a) The politics of UMNO and

(b) The economy.

Both are intertwined.

As regards to the politics of UMNO, he must direct his mind and resources to carry out the changes he has declared. He must now talk the walk as the cliché goes. We have heard that too often, if UMNO does not change, it will go the Golkar way, the LDP route, and suffers the Indian Congress Party fate.

Everyone also knows that changes demand more than just talking about it. One aspirant for the Ketua Pemuda post has even made Dare to Change as his campaign battle cry. That sounded more like a self help book rather than a serious invitation to UMNO crowd. Thus far, he has shown no changes nor does he offer a menu of the changes he wants. Indeed he has remained bashful about articulating his ideas. The way he is conducting himself demurely at that, seems to indicate his weak leadership constitution.

DS Najib cannot compound his own ambivalent constitution with more wishy-washy leadership material playing the leading roles.

All he did was calling for the UMNO president and Prime Minister to go way. And then now, he says patronizingly to not mistreat the outgoing PM. Well, one swallow does not make an Indian summer.

I say this in a matter of fact way; although Mukhriz may a personable fellow- he is not right for Ketua Pemuda.

Leaders are made of sterner stuff. Mukhriz hasn't got the Bismarkian trait of his father. If they are not, then they must surround themselves with people of that constitution. This leads us to Najib.

The whole country will be watching whether DS Najib will do the right things. That by the way is what a leader must do. He must do the right things. We are very familiar with the expression the function of a leader is to lead.

So the first thing, DS Najib must do is to stop playing to the gallery. He must stop being all things to all people. He has an irritating tendency to do this. If he has 10 people, he wants to please very single one. He cannot. He has to recognize this fact.

In his parliamentary seat of Pekan, even though he won with a big majority, there will always be around 10,000 who will not vote for him for whatever reasons fancy them. It has been that since the time of Tun Razak but Tun Razak did not lose sleep over that. But Najib suffers insomnia if that happens. So to get rid of that political insomnia, he must stop being all things to all people.

That kind of behavior pattern suggests an ingrained ambivalence in his personality. It suggests he does not have the resolve to carry out unpopular actions. He must be decisive and must acquire the ability to not be sidetracked with criticisms. He must have a trait of a Mahathir and the attitude of a Hussein Onn's willingness to take the right action rather than being pissed on his grave.

He must stop pandering to wishes of the many UMNO warlords. This country is not composed of only UMNO warlords, UMNO contractors and UMNO businessmen. DS Najib is UMNO leader for all Malaysians.

The first order of things is to acquire a ruthless streak. By that I mean he must be assertive and decisive. He must clear his Augean stables- get rid of deadwood political leaders. Those who have contested and lost, he must jettison. The MB's who lost elections and states must be assigned to the bottom rung of the leadership ladder. They have had their day. Ministers who have not been performing and who can be liabilities to Najib must be pensioned off. These include Najib's journeymen during his stint as Ketua Pemuda long time ago. If Nazri Aziz, Rafidah Aziz,Azalina are burdensome to him, he must let go of them. And he mustn't be hesitant to mete out the same treatment to MCA, MIC and other component party leaders. Those who have lost the trust of their own communities should not be accommodated and pampered once again. Najib should cut his losses.

He must surround himself with capable advisors. By these I mean not those advisors in awe of him, mere myrmidons and sycophantic panderers who hallelujah him all the time like uncritical zombies. He must have advisors who are willing to risk talking candidly with candor and upfront with everything. He will need a constant dose of reality checks.

He must seek counsel from previous leaders. Pak Lah must be treated with decorum. I have said this a long time ago in my article An Honorable Exit Nonetheless.

Of course he must engage TDM who will definitely be his biggest critic. He must be prepared to put up good reasoning with TDM. TDM just can't be ignored. Part of making peace with TDM will entail sacrificing some of the more strident and vitriolic voices in UMNO. One such person is Nazri Aziz. And most of all Dato Najib must show he is made of sterner stuff. Otherwise TDM's perception of DS Najib being of weak constitution becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

He must conduct himself to the business of leadership. That involves the paramount mission of to first of all, LEAD. By ensuring the right people are there. In the next article I will write who can be Najib's ketua pemuda and the reasons there in.

The other burning issue is the economy. Unless DS Najib can devote an overwhelming time to managing the economy, he should relinquish the Finance Ministry. TDM did that during Tun Daim's time. He put a capable person there. Tengku Razaleigh managed the country's finance and economy for a long time. The PM at that time wasn't obsessed at keeping the finance ministry.

Minding the kitty requires a person with serious constitution. When DS Najib took time off to present the CEO of TNB with whatever award of the year thing, what did that show? It shows he has got the time to take time off from the serious affair of managing the country's economy at these trying times. He has got 3-4 hours to while away from minding the economy. That presenting award thing could be done by the other finance minister. In the new administration is there a need to have a second finance minister?


Anonymous,  25 February 2009 at 10:14  

Good advise but will those people care.If i m correct Abdullah STARTED WITH A BANG! The end game was that it was a disaster for him.It showed his weakness so openly.
To be PM, you need that something extra and my vote is for that polished diamond Tengku Razali but luck not on his side.Perhaps umno sees him unperforming but we think he is the man for all seasons.He is cool and he can weather any storm and thats the man we malaysians can count on.

Anonymous,  25 February 2009 at 10:16  


Najib has to make some adjustments.
I totally agree with you on getting rid of deadwoods and hanger-ons.

To calm probable rough waters, he would have to take both KJ and MM as cabinet ministers. This will appease both Dr. M and Abdullah camps. Never mind who gets to be the KP.

As for KT, he still has his dental clinic, at least he wont be looking at Job Street!


Wah Al-Subangi 25 February 2009 at 10:35  


To be made of sterner stuff one does not have to be brash and uncultured like the country's First SIL but not-for-long now.

That is not the measure alloted to the Malays or rather the 'fitrah' / nature of the Malays. A verse in the quran, ..Allah made everything according to its measure.., or so the verse goes. The key word here is 'fitrah' / nature.

When it is the natural thing to do one can be polite and matter of factly but firm and direct to the point ala MM asking Pak Lah to resign after the 12th GE. That's the time when almost everybody else act unnaturally in UMNO still burying their head in the sand after the being totaled in the GE. Only ostrich do that by nature.

I hate to think what would happen to the Malay and as a consequent the country if Pak Lah was allowed his 2010 date under his limp leadership and bull-in-the-china-shop SIL running rampant. Die of natural death I guess.

Yes! I agree with Nazri that Pak Lah have 'berjasa besar' to the country.. for resigning! UMNO have been given a second lease of life for renewal.

It is given that UMNO come to the situation that it is now in due to its excesses over the years and that is the nature of an organization that has become complacent and it must be corrected pronto!

But what brought UMNO to its knees is the unnatural bent that Pak Lah soon-to-end administration has steered UMNO and as a consequent the country to be and his chief ideologue is SIL. UMNO have to get rid of these unnatural flocks lock stock and barrel, the idea, the ppl like there's no tomorrow.

It is also in the nature of things for the Malay to 'sindir'. A 'sindir' is to be politely putting ppl down and MM give a classic of a 'sindir' i.e. politely ruthless when he said don't treat Pak Lah like Dr M have been treated.

I can image Pak Lah blood vaporize when he heard this and a sigh of desperation from SIL camp. MM score a lot of points here. Naaah!! SIL don't have the kind of finesse.

Let's not mince words. UMNO is a Malay nationalist political organization. It is in the nature of things for this country to have an UMNO and it is on this basis that we move forward.

It have had a foray taking on an unnatural bent and it need to go back to its roots.

'Setiakawan' is unnatural.. no wonder the contorted face.

- From the boondocks.

Anonymous,  25 February 2009 at 10:47  

wah jango frm the boodocks.
if umno remains just a nationalist party, it will vaporise. the voters are not just the Utusan Malaysia crowd you know. what nationalist are you talking about? there were 5.7 million Malay voters in the last elections- how many presumably Malay votes did UMNO candidates get? just about 2 million. so? 3.7 million people reject UMNO for what it stands for- parochial nationalism appealing only to the bigoted segment.

Raison D'etre 25 February 2009 at 11:54  

That some tall order for Najib, SM.

Can he rise to the occasion?

Our traits, characteristics and demeanour are tempered by the years of our upbringing and I've always found trauma (not the extreme one, mind..)and experiences the best teachers.

TDM had his as a go-getter when crutches were yet not in place.

Tun Razak had the May 13 incident as his bogey.

Simplistic at best, but these are good examples.

What of Najib whose political career unlittered by obstacles?

Eyes Wide Open 25 February 2009 at 12:58  


Solid advice indeed. But will anyone listen?

Looking at the events of the past few weeks, it seems Najib is more concerned about everything except the economy.

I saw a clip of his Parliamentary speech about the 2nd stimulus package - slouching over the table on his hands, head down reading from his notes...

In contrast, his gait at the press conferences following the Perak coup shows a man fully awake and alive.

What does this tell me?

It tells me that our Finance Minister and soon-to-be PM finds economics a bore! It also tells me that the politics of power-at-all-costs is what he's really interested in.

And that does NOT engender confidence in his ability to lead.

Anonymous,  25 February 2009 at 13:29  

Who are you to direct Najib on what to do or not? C'mmon, you should look at yourself! Talking is much more easir than doing...Najib is playing his domino cards very well and I love watching it. I truly believed Mukhriz will win as can go and fly kite with Pak Lah and KJ!

Anonymous,  25 February 2009 at 14:35  

Anon 13:29

I just wonder why Sak a gentleman of his intellect and appears to be very concerned on issues affecting the interest of the general populace was selected to contest in the last GE. What a waste ? Don't you think so?

Anonymous,  25 February 2009 at 15:00  

Too true. Your article encapsulates the reality today. Ang bang on mukhriz, he is not a chip off the old block.

Anonymous,  25 February 2009 at 15:19  

“Of course he must engage TDM who will definitely be his biggest critic”

I’m glad you said that. Isn’t it obvious TDM still matters? I don’t think people expect too much of Najib in terms of being “the LEADER” or messiah from heaven we all been waiting for. Najib will be more like a sponge, a duty to absorb water whether clean or dirty, and wipe clean where necessary. He shall be the wetting agent that gel the concoction which made up or a mixture labeled as UMNO and BN.

He must be stern but impartial and to get the best advisors whether from the old guard or the young ones. He must have a big heart to accept the positive ideas and inspirations from anybody and make his concrete decision from there. He is not less a man if he can perform this, “I have my own way” attitude is admirable like what Pak Lah did, but when you been surrounded by bad advisors, you are actually saying “I have my own stupid way”.

Watching Hujah on tv9 last night, it seems like he has a mounting task to wipe clean UMNO. Old losers with old ideas preaching morality and patriotism as if they are the role model will only make us all wanna puke.

mamasita 25 February 2009 at 16:33  

Anon 13.29.
Yelaah..whos is Dato sak kan?A nobody..a man of peasantry level..just an ordinary guy on the street! Thanks so much for your very kind reminder Sir!

Anonymous,  25 February 2009 at 16:54  

oh no....i was really expecting you to say "KJ" is the Ketua Pemuda that Najib should pick.

I'm glad you didn't do mean him, don't you? :-(

you know. this is really baffling. you strike me as someone so solid, so passionate, so berkewibawaan...yet you have come forth painting a pretty picture of KJ.

But... to each his own, i suppose.

i agree with a lot of things you have said...but not about KJ. I'm sorry. He is everything Umno's young should not be -- his "intelligence" notwithstanding. He has done nothing to earn him any privilege(s) in the party hierarchy. No, sir.

Get out, and come back in 10-to 15 years -- maybe, most possibly, KJ will have earned something. If not some humility.

So, Sir...i'm with you here, there, almost everywhere....but not on KJ. Not even your very the powderful argument for KJ can make me see him the way you do.

Wong Pencen 25 February 2009 at 18:24  

"In the next article I will write who can be Najib's ketua pemuda and the reasons there in."

I am anxious, really anxious to read your next article on who can be Najib's Ketua Pemuda.

Since you have already dismissed Mukhriz, there are only 2 candidates left. Your statement nonetheless suggest that you will not be writing about Khairi as you have already written so much about him.

I am now anxious to see your reasons why Dr Khir should be the next Ketua Pemuda. I hope you will not disappoint me. Thanks.

Anonymous,  26 February 2009 at 01:22  

DS Najib is one aggressive guy with his act of taking over Perak...

Truly , the measure of the man will not be seen until he reaches the top and no longer needs to dance with his boss...

So wat will Najib do ?

He will be reducing the number of Ministerial posts..and will have more non politicos professionals in some key function such as Finance,MITI,Science,Education...and these Ministers will be empowered to deliver and will spend more time working rather than roadshowing

He has to get things moving immediately rather then follow the Pak lah's crowd pleasing populist game plan when he became the PM...

His longevity and Umno's will depend on how Malaysia gets out the financial crisis..thats his main focus.Nobody cares too much about transparency,corruption etc as long as they are not hungry.

Mahyuddin,KJ,MKT,Nazri,Azalina,Syed Hamid and a few MBs will be out.And SAK...ur will be in trouble too.

And Khazanah guys pls start distributing ur resumes too cos Daim's boys will be in town soon.

Yes..Najib is the man that will out Obama Obama.Thank God our saviour has arrived.

Ariff Sabri 26 February 2009 at 09:20  

anon at 01:22

demi Tuhan, i am shaking in my boots at this very moment.
if yr statement means, i will be less critical from now on...babe, you aint see nothing the saying goes.

Anonymous,  1 March 2009 at 15:11  

Kadang2 ur english ni sounds weird and petty dan panjang berjela. U shud keep it short and simple. tak payahlah pakai ayat panjang dan mengelirukan.

anyway, reading ur interview with tdz and reading this article 'a new thinking for a new leadership' provide nothing new. ayat sama, idea sama. ni mesti copy idea tdz. have ur own idea pls. tq and err....simple and short english too

msia is surely able to provide a pool of fools (in politic forray)not many talented ones so it is not an easy task to pick a good one to helm. unlike those days, we shall mention tdz as one of the proudest politicians we used to own, apart from tengku li whom is still active in his own way. other than that i cud hardly imagine any of them. kj pun ok cuma budak tu otak dia banyak evil, if he really is forecasting on malaysia's triumph, guess he will be one of the finests kut....

najib has got to choose, politic asides, country first


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