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Sakmongkol ak 47

Sunday 14 June 2009

Reading Lee Kuan Yew(2)

Reading Lee Kuan Yew (2).

In the previous article I touched the following matters:-

  • the emerging trend of voting
  • The Malay predominance in politics
  • Young, urban and unconventional voters.

MM Lee's meeting with Haji Hadi, leader of the PMIP was instructive in its implications. The younger generation are rooting in for the opposition. They are educated, urbanised and net-workers. They read between the lines and therefore, in the famous words of an English judge, not mere riders on the Clapham Omnibus. They will prove to be the biggest problem that UMNO faces.

There is a huge generational gap projected by the present UMNO leadership. The exclusion of the Ketua Pemuda, despite the rancorous reception his victory received, is sending negative signals. You want to include the younger generation, yet the spokesman for the young, who could attract the interest of the younger generation, is ignored. If you don't have that 'x' factor identifiable with the young, you cannot be the leader of the Pemuda UMNO. To me it's that simple. It's that ability to flow with the aggressive juices, taming their restlessness with how things are, sharing their inclinations, talking their lingo. These requirements would exclude the dour and bland characters. They also want a spokesman able to muster intellectual aggression.

It's for the good of UMNO. The younger generation needs a rallying figure. We can't go on justifying the exclusion of the ketua Pemuda who won his position within the boundaries of UMNOesque legitimacy, on grounds, of the oft repeated verbal remarks- that if we ask the man on the street, 70-80% of them will reject KJ. If we now use the same logic, and further accept it as legitimising our rejection of the Ketua Pemuda, where will such empirical findings leave UMNO?

If you were to ask 10 people on the street, 8 out of 10 say, they want to kick UMNO down the drain. Do we then take steps to reject UMNO because 80-90% has spoken against UMNO?

No, what we do is take remedial actions and consolidate. UMNO must be seen as an integral whole before it speaks of One this and One that.

The PM and UMNO president must not be seen vacillating on this point. You either include the Ketua Pemuda or explain clearly the reasons for his exclusion.

I have seen this trend directly. It was during the by elections of Bukit Gantang. The Pemuda UMNO was effectively excluded from playing the field. The Ketua Pemuda was even warned not to come. Now, if you could do that to your own, what impression does that behaviour give to lesser beings?

Not that, their involvement could have altered the outcome, but it would have created a presence. I have mentioned this in my article on that by election. When young people went in droves to listen to Nik Aziz, Theresa Kok and to Anwar Ibrahim, that didn't look good on UMNO. When young people who are more suitably categorised as kutus were handing out leaflets by the ketua pemdua PAS, that meant, the younger generation identified with PAS. Whether they believed in the principles of PAS was another matter. What they showed, was they were anti UMNO.

When Dr Mahathir was talking at a mass meeting in Taiping, his audience profile was revealing. The majority of those sitting in front were election workers from outside Perak. Most of them are in the saluran 1 and 2- which are for older voters. UMNO doesn't have a hold on the future- so how can they claim the future?

What's happening in UMNO that is perceived by the younger generation? This is what they see: UMNO is not paying serious attention improving the incentives for young men and women to join the government. This is because, in reality it is still caught in this idea that the government knows best. In the politics of UMNO, that is translated into the leaders know best and by leaders, we mean the elite few.

Hence, leadership succession issues mean simply that- UMNO politics is knotted to the idea, that the incubator of UMNO leaders is the old boy and family network. You enshrined the principles that we elect and select leaders based on who they are- titled persons, sons and daughters of previous leaders who are assumed to inherit the genetic attributes, holders of hereditary positions. Here we go again subscribing to the ethos of ascriptve norms. UMNO should reject these and uphold the ethos of achieved norms- we elect leaders because of their accomplishments and merits.

UMNO must face this fact which Lee Kuan Yew observed way back in 1966. The second generation of UMNOniks are basically careerists. They see UMNO as a means for personal aggrandizements, to secure contracts which they subsequently sub-contract to others; they see UMNO as means to go up the ladder for positions. They are not idealists.

They have turned out to be these because of our natural economic progression. In the early years, political leaders were more idealistic and their place in politics was naturally determined.

Now, we have class F contractors, big time contractors, businessmen of the type we mentioned above becoming UMNO leaders at various branches and divisions. The ideals that motivate these people are obviously more materialistic that idealistic. We end up having a political philosophy coloured predominantly by crass economic interests.

UMNO must face the fact that the second generation are careerists. They look for opportunities to advance themselves, for the immediate families. Their priorities are different. When this happens, the best and more able will direct themselves to securing career opportunities in the private sector.

What do we have? Trouble for UMNO because the second best careerists, not able to compete in the open market, will now dominate UMNO politics. What happens to UMNO when it's dominated by second best careerists? Its leadership quality suffers and the ethos of second-best careerists predominates- loudmouthed, uncouth, and haughty and so forth.

In other words, UMNO makes itself expensive on the wrong terms. In a world where there are substitutes to UMNO, becoming more expensive motivates other people to consume the less expensive but equally good product.


backStreetGluttons 14 June 2009 at 10:04  

Your frank opinion and feedback on UMNO's life threatening ailments are not something unknown to those upper echelons of that ailing party but something which they have been trying to hide as long as anybody can remember.

To put it simply UMNO is corrupt and run by corrupt people with self interests. Only some brave people like you ( & perhaps VIP foreigners like LKY )can tell the truth in public with no fear. Fullstop

Anonymous,  14 June 2009 at 12:29  

Just appoint KJ as cabinet minister and UMNO's future is revived?Or do we need to remove Mukhriz from the cabinet too?Its all about meritocracy..

And UMNO head honchos from cawangan right up to the Supreme council are nothing more than businessmen dressed up as politicians?KJ being the unemployed person that he is reputed to be should bring a whiff/gust of fresh air.

Simple solution indeed.

Ariff Sabri 14 June 2009 at 12:42  

its up to you to see the problems affecting the 2nd generation in yr 2 dimensional way.
as to the observation of the types of individuals heading UMNO branches and divsions- are you an UMNO member by the way? ajk cawangan? ajk bahagian. macam tak tahu compostion je. i said various branches and cawangans. if you tak terima, tak pe.
your snappy answer suggests only one solution- your solution.
i agree- not as simple as appointing KJ or dismissing Mukhriz- which is by the way, your proposal.

Anonymous,  14 June 2009 at 12:42  

Dato Sak,

with the current bunch of 'Pemimpin' UMNO , largely characterised by the Rakyat as highly corrupted, incompetent, racist and uninspired ...UMNO is heading to DOOM !!

In fact, UMNO has live past it shelf life and it is time for the rakyat to dump them !


Malaysian Heart 14 June 2009 at 14:55  

Example of a second best careerist - Mukhriz Mahathir

Mukhriz seems unable (or unwilling) to perceive Zaid Ibrahim's efforts re Judicial Appointments Commission, Anti Corruption Agency, repealing unjust laws etc. as anything other than the furthering of Pakatan Rakyat's manifesto in opposition to BN, instead of as the aspirations of Malaysians for good governance, transparency and accountability (as loudly signalled via GE-12). He rejected these initiatives because, in his own words, "Ini tidak disebut pun dalam manifesto Barisan Nasional dalam pilihanraya baru-baru ini".

Malaysia needs true leaders who are able to appreciate that our National Interest may extend way beyond their own. Sadly, many BN leaders & supporters do not have this ability. To them, a "sense of gratitude" to party leaders is the highest virtue, whereas thinking independently is derhaka. Therefore, in their eyes Zaid Ibrahim (or any other person with an independent point of view) will always, by definition, be a musuh dalam selimut and treated accordingly. It's easy to be "prescient" when all you have to do is create self-fulfilling prophecies.

Anonymous,  14 June 2009 at 15:14  

We have too many fundamental problems with basic issues that should have been resolved many2 moons ago.I fail to understand why an administration and systems that was perfectly adequate in the sixties was dismantled and instead of being improved was band aided ( at a cost of billions) and now is found to be wanting.Its the result of either shortsightedness and the unhealthy doses of personal agendas or a combination of both.
What are the issues?
>>Education system..English as a subject and Teaching of Science/Maths in English...surprising data of 130,000 students failed English.
>>Limiting students to 10 subjects?
>>System of Tender Awards and Payment certification..our Govt Civil Service Boss vows to introduce new systems...but wait Sir,we have a perfectly internationally accepted system..and we were a referral in the sixties.Competitive tender is not a NEW NEW thing..and computerisation allows one day valuations and certification and with electronic workflows subsequent approvals can be monitored to find the bottle neck.So Boss are you really serious?or just hyping up to be seen as people savvy?

If we can't get simple things right then we shouldn't be thinking about globalisation,higher value add economy,all the corridors...that would be just 2 complex.

Is the culprits the politicians?or is it the civil service?Maybe Dato have the answers.

lebai 14 June 2009 at 19:01  

We should give our undivided support to Umno as it is the only part which can uphold the integrity of the Malays. There was no alternative for the Malays, except to support Umno. I regret that there were Malays who opposed Umno and had instead befriended other political parties for their own vested interest. PAS and PKR is a party which had no definite principles in their struggles. PAS was putting the Malay race and Islam at stake by co-operating with DAP and PKR.
Umno should no longer confine its efforts to traditional issued like the status of Bahasa Melayu, Islam and the special priveleges of the Malays but instead move with the times and start tackling more universal problems. One of the most important issues is making sure that all Malays are mentally prepared to move into a more developed era so that they will not
be left behind. And, the Malays should always maintain the patriotic feeling.

Anonymous,  14 June 2009 at 19:37  

How can i support umno when even for a 400k contract,one have 2 give 80k upfront?
How can I trust a leadership that almost overnite make a ketua cawangan a rags to riches story...with no apparent skills or effort.How can i hv confidence in the judgement of persons who place incompetents in key GLC posts?
I love UMNO but the current UMNO leaders loves themselves more.Perjuangan n sacrifice only expected from the rakyat whereas the UMNO elites zooms in luxury,sleep in luxury and have enough to last 20 generations.Mana perjuangan?

lebai 15 June 2009 at 17:28  


There is no doubt that Umno is the greatest national movement in Malaysia. It is the national hope, the national aspiration and the
national flame of idealism. That is why it is not only its relevance that needs to be defended but more than that, its relevance needs to be enhanced so that it is able to be ahead of the times. In essence, there should be a paradigm shift in Umno.
Umno is just like Han Suyin's love: a many-splendoured thing. The more one tries to understand it, the deeper one gets into the realm of unknown. True love has never come out of orderliness, at least that's what one's experience tells. And Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", Kawabata's "Snow Country" or Usman Awang's "Uda dan Dara" easily attested to this contention. This is not to mention Mitchell's "Gone with the wind".
The state of disorderliness was what had given birth to Umno in 1946 and again such a state provided the embryo for its rebirth years ago. No one seems to have been able to articulate convincingly the rationale behind the trauma that had caused the party to experience a temporary, if legal, death preceding the rebirth.
Yes, I do agree with you on 'UMNO elites'. But, Sir...what we should do? There we could evolve a new
culture within Umno which will further solidify its position as the backbone of the Government. Efficiency, pragmatism, self-reliance and nation-building will be the ingredients of such a culture where negative elements, like money politics and pursuit of personal gains, can find no compromise.
Tq Sir..

Anonymous,  15 June 2009 at 22:27  


Maybe Romeo do not need Juliet anymore.She has changed too much;her indulgence have weathered her mindset into a jaded and jaundiced state>>she cares more for her tresses and make up and is in love with her own self more than she should.

Romeo may have discovered the charms of Laila Majnun?

The cure?Its so easy yet until the mirror is banished forever,Juliet will not see the error of her ways.

Time changes everything,nothing stays in a limbo and equilibrium is never permanent.

I want my Juliet..the warm,sincere and honest gal that I use to know,the gal who introduced me to so many pleasures.But I can't wait too long cos I am getting old and Laila beckons.

Anonymous,  17 June 2009 at 11:34  


You speak of special privileges in the same breathe as to be mentally prepared to move into a more developed era.

Unfortunately, there are no special privileges in globalization. You swim or sink on your own merits and have to compete with the best in the world.

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