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Sakmongkol ak 47

Monday 8 June 2009

Nasharuddin’s Victory: Is it good?

It's bad for UMNO. It will stultify the much needed internal changes shouted about.

Nasharudin Mat Isa's victory over Husam Musa, showed two things:-

  1. UMNO is really scared of Anwar Ibrahim. Hence the defeat of Anwar's chief ally in PAS, Husam Musa is hailed all around.
  2. That victory will further induce UMNO's paralysis. It actually does not want to change. The Nasharudin victory is seen as a much needed life support machine to UMNO.

What is happening now is while the base on which UMNO derives its support has undergone tremendous changes, the top or superstructure has lagged behind. UMNO simply does not get it. More Malays did not vote for them during the last elections and they still refuse to change. The party becomes the lid which can no longer contain the build up of internal pressures. The leadership stubbornly resists changes and welcomes any excuses that can justify its obstinacy.

What is it that UMNO needs now to ensure its longevity and continued relevance? What it must do after the disastrous performance in the 12th GE and amidst the party's declining credibility and with it, its legitimacy, is to undertake invasive surgery upon itself. Yes, that would be in line with the avowed declarations that UMNO must change radically. Who said that is now no longer important.

One simple glitch that could dampen the already not serious intention is a sudden feeling of false security. This could come in the form of thinking and feeling that the victors in the recently concluded PAS elections are sympathetic to UMNO's agenda.

This is why I see Nasharudin Mat Isa's victory is not good for UMNO. It will prevent UMNO from undertaking its own internal re-engineering. It will provide the flimsiest excuse for UMNO not to undertake its own reforms. Because of that, UMNO is just prolonging its inevitable demise. The prematurely ejaculated enthusiastic responses from UMNO people serve only to betray the true unwillingness to change. How could we expect those with vested interests to sign away their privileges?

Let us use some simple concepts in economics to analyse why this is so. If the euphoria from UMNO supporters to the Nasharudin win is an indication, then PAS under the stewardship of Hadi Awang and Nasharudin places the party and UMNO in the context of substitute goods.

In economics, a good or service is a substitute good in so far as the two goods can be consumed or used in place of one another. It is an either/or choice which makes no difference as whichever one we eventually chose. Hence, if we vote for PAS, it makes no difference not to vote for UMNO because our decision serves the same purpose.

This is what the Nasharudin Isa's win makes PAS. It makes the party an almost perfect substitute for this thing called UMNO. Then UMNO is the BUTTER to PAS's MARGARINE or UMNO is the PETROLEUM to PAS's NATURAL GAS. The last two goods are used for heating or electricity and it does not make difference whichever good we use for the purpose we have in hand.

The notable economic effect of these two goods being almost perfect substitutes is that the demand for one good is tied tot the other god. Hence customers can TRADE OFF one good for the other if it becomes advantageous to do so.

Therefore, if now I feel it is advantageous to choose PAS because it's an almost perfect substitute for UMNO, then I will tell myself why not? I am not losing out on anything. PAS can deliver the same things as UMNO can.

The danger is this- if UMNO makes itself more expensive such as by portraying itself as all round obnoxious entity, then people will gravitate towards PAS. This follows from the principle that an increase in price of good A will result in an increase in demand for its substitute. For example an increase in the price of timber for home construction will result in increased business in concrete.

Now, PAS under Nasharudin and Hadi Awang is a perfect substitute for UMNO because PAS can deliver the same things UMNO can. Theoretically speaking, in case of a price difference, there would be no demand for the more expensive good.

Imagine now, UMNO makes itself more expensive in a number of ways. Its leadership is full with riffraffs, nondescripts and low quality leadership. Its culture of personal aggrandizements is pervasive and destroying any residual idealism. It is haughty and its image is revolting. The sum total of these, make UMNO 'expensive' and that makes PAS more appealing.

The danger of treating Nasharudin's win as welcoming, is to relegate UMNO and PAS as good substitutes. In economics when we speak of good substitution, we mean two goods are of comparable value. We can argue the two are different, but as we have seen, if the price of UMNO goes up, people will buy PAS. We can argue that Ford pickup trucks are different from Nissan trucks, but if the price of Ford trucks goes up, I will buy a Nissan truck.

Therefore, Nasharudin's win is not good for UMNO. His victory must be treated with more circumspect.


Pak Zawi 8 June 2009 at 10:05  

Dato' Sak,
Your economic analogy of the two parties certainly makes sense. Already I am buying the lower priced item as I see it has better future values, relevance and credibility.

Anonymous,  8 June 2009 at 11:51  

Dato '47,

I am intrigued by your interpretation of the results of the recent Pas Muktamar! Especially the argument from the basic economics of substitution. It would appear that UMNO,given its current travails, may be falling into a trap being set by PAS on the so called "Unit Talks" trojan horse. It is a way to lull the present UMNO leadership from making the necessary surgical changes that are needed to survive the next GE. The fact that Tok Guru did not criticise the "unity talks "issue a the PAS Muktamar but at a separate ceramah speaks volumes of the PAS strategy to wipe out UMNO. The truth of the matter as far as the results of the PAS internal elections go are that PAS wants time to absorb and assimilate the changes that the Malaysian public wants, as expressed in the results of the last GE. By the next PAS Muktamar you will see a much different PAS, a more professional and more inclusive party. Dont forget that PAS is an Islamic Party and if this is true, then race or "Ketuanan Melayu" cannot be part of its agenda! To Allah and Islam all mankind are part of his creation!

Anonymous,  8 June 2009 at 12:00  

Don't worrylah, Sak!
With all this, Pakatan will fall into disarray.
The fence sitters who voted for PAS may not do so again.
Even PAS members are confused and may loose faith in its leadership.
Milk this unity talk issue for all it is worth .
When UMNO is stronger, u can always spit PAS out.
Without the support of its PKR/DAP friends, the moderates and non Muslims, it will just be a shell of its former self .
It will take PAS a long time to recover the goodwill and support it received in 2008GE.

Anonymous,  8 June 2009 at 14:51  

Must say you are one with inner foresight. Never thought of this angle to view PAS.

Anyway, Marriage between PAS and UMNO would never work. The former on religion and the latter on business = money. That was why when money got in the way, the last time these two were "married" it broke off really fast by the "money" kicking out the religion.

Umno thinks by bringing in PAS they can have enough votes forgetting that they would drive whatever left of support for non Muslim component parties.

Will such marriage last ? - one pious no nonsense interested only in God... the other well tasted the ills of money.

It would be a matter of time , money will kick out religion again.

Anonymous,  8 June 2009 at 15:34  

It is not a secret that Mat Isa is one of UMNO trojan horse in Pas !!

As long as PAS, PKR and DAP can't form a prominent coalition , it will be a victory for UMNO/BN !

It will be an uphill task for UMNO to reforms or changes as long as all those corrupted morons are still in power in the ogranisation.


Suci Dalam Debu 8 June 2009 at 18:12  

PAS is not DEMOCRATIC enough but hope it will get better.

Sikit-sikit haram ini, haram itu.

Greenbottle 8 June 2009 at 19:03  

the reason why so many umno people hail nasharuddin's win is simply because nasharuddin has no brain. this guy can be kicked around by umno like there's no tomorrow.

and hadi awang? with his harebrained idea of 'unity government' it is clear that this guy is another malay racist in a closet. he's incapable of looking beyond malay survival in a narrow sense when it comes to the crux of the matter...

i congratulate umno for successfully hoodwinking PAS yet again by promoting this so called erdogan vs ulama factions in PAS...the simple minded lebais in PAS (there are a lot of them) bit it hook sink and line!

as long as you have these idiots in PAS you need not worry. umno is safe...the devils in umno will eat these people alive...

Anonymous,  8 June 2009 at 19:05  

Nasha's win will be good only if Zahid Hamidi becomes PM...
Under present regime its like Newcastle Utd buying kaka,Ronaldo,Messi i.a mirage for thirsty guy caught in a desert storm.

Unknown 8 June 2009 at 19:16  


You've been able to look into the situation with foresight and rightly show that PAS's intention of publicising it's likely affiliation with UMNO as a means of enticing more UMNO members into its fold....

This tactic will eventually drain UMNO of its supporters....

Whilst UMNO leaders are busy flirting with PAS, the clock is ticking. Nothing like getting caught with your pants down on the day of reckoning!!

goodwithoutgod 8 June 2009 at 20:30  

An interesting perspective on the Nasharuddin's Victory. I like your optimism that somehow UMNO will be able to see the folly of it's actions and institute reforms. Is a bit like malignant..and there's only one outcome.

It must be said though that it is always premature for us to assume that all PAS supporters have somehow put their Malay identity on the backburner and have been totally Islamic centric. Even on the simple tenet of gender equality, bastions of male chauvinism is still rife within PAS.

The opportunity to share power even with an enemy can be enticing for some. Whether PAS will identify and subscribe to core democratic values that other Pakatan Raayat component parties aspire to remains to be seen. If it chooses to side with UMNO for opportunistic and cultural chauvinism reasons, the party will be doomed and invariably be split into two separate parties.

What we see happening in our nation is the evolution towards a more progressive, democratic and fair Malaysian society. The machinations of the PAS elections is part and parcel of that evolving process for the nation.

A totally discredited and corrupt UMNO will do whatever it can to hold on to power; legal or otherwise. History is riddled with examples of despised governments of what they will be prepared to do including perpetrating violence on it’s own people to stay in power. We must all remain vigilant.

vinnan,  8 June 2009 at 21:44  

Nasharuddin or not, Ulama or not the elctorate is not stupid. The good thing about PAS's 55th electoral bash is that we now KNOW who are our enemies in PAS. Come any by-election or the next GE we will punish these shortsighted UMNO wannabe fools.

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