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Sakmongkol ak 47

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Bagan Pinang: Let’s not turn it into premature optimism

Before the UMNO cowboys ride into town and shoot off their mouths, I say to them, hold on to your horses boys. Don't do a Nazri Aziz- the mouth engaged in 5th gear, but the brain is in reverse. UMNO isn't out of the woods yet. You didn't win Bagan Pinang- Isa did. You know the UMNO machinery from outside Teluk Kemang was playing film extras. Team Isa was already in place since the previous ADUN died. You were given time to enjoy the sun soaked beaches of PD and enjoy your fruit cocktails at the hotel lobbies. Courtesy of Isa Samad.

You didn't win over the soldier boys- Isa and PM Najib did. You didn't have to lift a finger. The soldiers clearly said while they are in uniform, protocol dictates they vote for the ruling government. The brand UMNO is still nearly discredited. Isa's win is good for Bagan Pinang and Negeri Sembilan. This isn't what's good the goose is good for the gander. People probably want him to spite Mat Hassan. Think of that possibility. Hasan is generally disliked by the UMNO rank and file. Isa's victory can be seen as a censure for Hassan. That can only mean, UMNO is in for a long drawn out battle.

It's too early for UMNO to make Isa's victory as an excuse to rejoice. The jubilation that greeted Isa's victory may only be a huge sigh of relief that finally, UMNO got a win. It's not a definitive win. It may be significant but not yet conclusive. Isa's win may not be a complete approval and endorsement for UMNO. UMNO the brand is faulty and needs to be recalled.

UMNO's victory at Bagan Pinang, in my opinion was brought about by two factors:-

  1. Najib, the brand
  2. Isa the man.

Let's analyse Tan Sri Isa first. Everyone knows him in Negeri Sembilan and more so in PD. It's his Kampung. Sirusa is the kampong of his late wife. There's even a name of a street after the late wife. He was the MB for 23 years and had brought many things to PD. Visitors to PD can see the difference. Sure, you also see many abandoned projects, but there were brought about by the failure of private businesses. It had nothing to do with Isa.

As soon as the previous ADUN passed away, Isa got his UMNO machinery on alert. I was told that when Isa visited the deceased former ADUN, he and Mat Hassan bumped into each other. The current MB told Isa in no uncertain terms, that Isa will be contesting. Even the MB recognized at this juncture that the brand Isa can no longer be ignored if UMNO wants to win this seat.

How organized was the Teluk Kemang UMNO division? Each branch has a complete schedule of election program. The UMNO members who came from all over the country needed only to blend in with the locals. They had everything planned such that the UMNO members outside Negeri Sembilan needed only to adjust to the local agenda. Team Isa Samad was effectively in control and was able to direct the action so to speak. UMNO Teluk Kemang was prepared from the word go.

Hence, UMNO won not because the perception on UMNO has markedly improved. They still have outstanding issues to settle with the Malays at large. They still have many issues to settle with postal voters. They certainly have the gargantuan task of recapturing Malay loyalty. If there is a trait that is rare among the Malays, its loyalty. And loyalty must be earned by words and more importantly by conduct. In UMNO's case, it's the conduct.

As delegates come to KL today, please remember this. Out of the 2.38 million votes UMNO candidates got during the 12th General Elections, probably only 2 million were Malay votes. That means 1.5 million UMNO members were disloyal. Remember also this. The number of Malay voters in the previous GE were 5 over million. That means over 3 million ordinary Malays rejected UMNO. That number was bigger than UMNO membership.

UMNO has to regain loyalty from its own members and from non UMNO Malays as well. UMNO must have done something to have caused that kind of massive desertion. Corruption? Alienation? Arrogance? Next, in order to recapture the loyalty of ALL the voters who supported UMNO before the 12th GE, UMNO must form a government based on the principles of good governance which is essentially a conduct consideration.

Postal votes came mainly from the soldiers stationed in PD. I wouldn't make a big deal of postal votes in the sense of using it as a generalization to excitedly conclude that the voting preference among Malays is back to normal. By normal we mean, the usual unquestioning X-ing of the UMNO candidate's name at the ballot paper. If you are an UMNO candidate, victory is no longer a foregone conclusion. You are not an ex MB for 23 years. You don't have the war chest as big as Isa had. You don't go around admonishing people with the anti benediction that you will be punished in your after miserable earthly life for betraying, you don't look after the chickens from being trampled by cars, you don't have the power to build roads and drains. Your own area isn't Port Dickson or Bagan Pinang. You don't have a Mat Hassan to play scapegoat.

The votes from the soldiers are not a carte blanche. The victory at the army camps is a conditional win, beset with signals the UMNO leadership cannot afford to dismiss and ignore. The army vote is predominantly supportive of BN but it's an endorsement with many conditions. It is an endorsement laden with many expectations.

  • The welfare issues. Those who served less than the minimum period which entitles pension (at least 21 years) need to be looked after.
  • The salary scale of the rank and file. Those who have reached maximum ceiling with still many years to go. Say a soldier retires at 50. At 44 he has reached his maximum ceiling. He will go through 6 years of service without any pay rise.
  • How to blend into civilian society. Despite transition training, it has proven to be insufficient.

The army votes which could have gone the other way were rescued only by the goodwill of the Najib Tun Razak's name. He is seen to have done the most for the army in terms of welfare. But that's trust built over years of service.

But not everyone is Najib Tun Razak and this is where the danger lies. The army votes are dependent on personality not on an enduring system or principle. If the personality isn't there and no system is put in place, in future, postal votes can be discounted.

Then there's the issue of assertive leadership. I am surprised to hear the name of DR Mahathir being invoked among solders here. Moving beyond the name, the essence to which they are attracted to is assertive leadership. PM Najib must recognize this signal. Maybe this is a reflection of the chivalrous nature of soldiers who are naturally inclined to courageous leadership quality.

The UMNO Leadership must show resolve, fortitude and assertiveness. There must be zero tolerance for weaknesses in any form. Zero tolerance for corruption and questionable politicians. Zero tolerance for vacillation, indeterminateness. The leadership must say clearly what it wants. For example, stern action must be taken against any threats to peace and racial harmony. The people behind the deaths of Beng Hock and Kugan must be brought o justice. Ordinary Malays are repulsed by efforts to link these deaths to an overall Malay culpability. The government is seen as weak if it shows ambivalence in handling these matters. If those who were involved in these heinous wrongdoings are Malays they must be dealt with as severely as any perpetrator of the wrongs must face. Otherwise, the entire Malay race is vicariously liable.

So think again. UMNO won in Bagan Pinang because of Isa Samad, the brand. UMN won in Bagan Pinang because of PM Najib's name. The victory was based on the clock builder not the clock. Can such a victory last?


samsaimon,  14 October 2009 at 11:49  

Salam Dato'.

I agree with you on most but not the factor that brought victory to Bagan Pinang.

Its only Isa and Isa is the only factor!

Are you trying to buy your candidature for the next election, Dato' ? after being left out?

Anonymous,  14 October 2009 at 12:01  

Best, Dato', kick ass. Give it to them. These people need to be constantly reminded: You want my vote, you jolly work hard for it.

An article like this (a Malay version, please) should be circulated where they now are meeting. Tapi tak tau lah, kot tak faham/tak minat because it's not a sexy story.

Anak Hamid

Anonymous,  14 October 2009 at 12:25  

Pls visit RPK's postings in M. Today - "a picture is worth a thousand words". It tells us how we tolerate corruption compared to countries like China, Korea, H. Kong, Japan and Spore. No words needed.

Unless we go really hard on this dreaded disease our country will not progress. Our economy will stagnate and then deteriorate. Cost of living will keep on escalating at an alarming rate. We will then become a poor country.

As a result, our children will suffer and we will become a failed nation in not too distant future. UMNO need to show that they are serious to fight this menace for the sake of all the citizens of this country. But will it be done?

Anonymous,  14 October 2009 at 13:52  

the point is that the candidate from PAS lost and if PAS continues to take extremist action then every PAS candidates will lose in the the next GE

Anonymous,  14 October 2009 at 14:47  

time for a bit of fun and seeing how the rest of the world lives before being too serious about ourselves.

Chai Chai

walla 14 October 2009 at 15:54  

This is a good post, Sak.

Tabik spring.

Peter,  14 October 2009 at 18:45  

You should put this on top of all your 1 and 2.
The cause of defeat and mass moving of non Muslim votes- PAS Selangor.

After that you can put your 1 and 2 to 2 and 3.

Just dont play around with religion. Corruption? Okay .. religion No No and NO! This is happening all over the world and is not unique in Malaysia.

dont play around with religion.

Hamba,  14 October 2009 at 19:11  

The word loyalty disturb me... I think as we move further into the new millennium the rakyat should forgo blind loyalty to any political party. Yes, you must be loyal to Malaysia and the constitution but loyalty to a political party? The rakyat especially the malay need to understand that the political party need to work for them and not the other way around. If a political party is causing detrimental damage to the rakyat and country's well being, why should the rakyat be loyal to that party? This applies to UMNO, PAS, PKR, DAP or any other party. The time for blind loyalty is over! Politician and the government need to be afraid of its people and not the other way around. That how democracy work by the way...

besi buruk,  14 October 2009 at 21:03  

Wow Dato' glad you're back and that' s the way Sir, sock it to everyone or give them the mental jolts that God knows, they and quite everyone needed. Thus the battle ended and one party did get a bloody nose but the best lesson ever and hoped that they change and totally gets rid of the outspoken idiots in their midst together with the directionless little band of haram police that will without fail sprung up at the worst of time. Coming back to BP, the Tan Sri as attested by an MCA man is an affable person that would listen to everybody, attends funerals and weddings no matter his schedule and even waves at everyone he passes. Perhaps that particular trait wins him over many times as those particular actions would have taken in the most simple minded individuals not unlike besi buruk as humility can never be far from being victorious in any given albeit sticky situation. And complacency must only breeds arrogance! Salam.

NanaDJ 14 October 2009 at 21:07  

Spot on. But I still do not agree over the choice of Isa, I don't condone nor tolerate wrongdoings but it seem to be the norm these days in Malaysia, so who am I to say or think otherwise.
UMNO must work very very hard to win back the Malays. As the DPM say, they must change but are the members ready to change? Or with the win in Bagan Pinang they delude themselves that they are on the path to glory? Feeling smug and complacent? Busy trying to find fault and discredit the opposition rather than analysing where they have gone wrong? Time is the essence, UMNO must reinvent itself. I am waiting to see the light - I haven't seen any yet.

Unknown 14 October 2009 at 21:39  

The non-Malays vote for a sure winner, simple as that. Without postal votes , it is a different ball game and the result can be against UMNO. It is therefore important for UMNO to realise why Malays irrespective of their political inclination turn their back on UMNO in PRU 12 and many by-elections before BP. Getting back the confidence from Malay voters is a must.You and I know that it has to start by an UMNO systematic change and keeping it house in order. And satisfying wants from the more affluent malay society and younger voters cannot be ignored and denied.

Anonymous,  14 October 2009 at 22:28  

dato sak,

if every aspiring BN candidate worked and delivered promised as Isa did.they dont have to worry.they will be selected and voted into office.

but if the candiddate just depend on the party to win.sorry.that time has passed.

so anyone want to run for YB,,pls work hard in your kampung,town,kawasan.make sure every voters know you.make sure their need and interest are heard.make sure you are well accepted.make sure you are surau,balairaya,majlis tahlil,kematian,kenduri most of the time.i am sure you will be voted.make your present felt.berkhidmat la dengan hati terbuka,tenang,luhur dan ikhlas.jadi kan la amalan harian dan anggapla ia ibadat.bukan hanya untuk menang pilihanraya.jika dipilih dan menang,alhamdullillah.tetapi jika kalah ianya bukan rezeki.bahawasanya rezeki kita daripada Allah S.A.W.amin

Mas 15 October 2009 at 03:29  

Bravo Dato! Your article is very interesting. It hit the nail right on! Its Isa and Najib factors. Not UMNO as it is tainted with corrupt leaders. I am an UMNO supporter, but I hated the corrupt and arrogant 'parachute candidate' of Pak Lah' crony in my state seat during last election, that I voted the opposition and we lost. There are many UMNO supporters like me, who has turned our back. All this were influenced by the borderless power hunger of KJ and cronies with his modus operandi and strategic intervention in all UMNO related power, that tarnished UMNO from its glory during Tun M's era. KJ is a negative manipulative, a strategist, a dangerous one not only to UMNO but to the Malays and he should be kicked. Then UMNO must continue with cleaning from within. Believe me, if UMNO wants to change, UMNO should start with KJ, and his cronies. He dont have grassroot support and he is liability to UMNO.

Nothing compares to Isa. He was a scapegoat, victimize by KJ and the gang, but the rakyat loves him. He is a people's person that all UMNO leaders must emulate and learn from.

Please translate your article into Bahasa Melayu and distribute to all UMNO leaders so that they understand and goes back to basic - Asas perjuangan UMNO.

Bila baca artikel blog-blog dalam negara tentang kemenangan Isa, jelas terpancar kesyukuran dan kelegaan orang Melayu kerana seolah-olah kemenangan ini memberi nafas bagi bukan sahaja UMNO tetapi Melayu untuk kembali bersuara. Hanya kata-kata "kita menang bro" cukup menzahirkan kepuasan dan kesyukuran itu. Diharap pemimpin atasan UMNO dapat melihat mesej ini dan melakukan sesuatu bukan sahaja untuk memenangi hati kaum lain tetapi memastikan Melayu terus berada di persada kuasa di tanahair ini.

nxforget 15 October 2009 at 10:43  

Salam Dato,

You sure stand to your reputation as SAKMONGKOL AK47 by calling spade a spade.

I could agree to most of your points except ... "the Najib, the brand." I don't think so because as a lay person like me still couldn't comprehend his vision. Then again, perhaps the people of BG is smarter to understand it.

Kala Jengking,  15 October 2009 at 15:11  

Syabas to you. Well written! Let's wait for the change....

Anonymous,  15 October 2009 at 21:04  

an aside - the lovely resort town of Port Dickson was destroyed by the willingness of Isa to accomodate the greed of indiscrimnate developers who made contributions to causes and campaign coffers!

don't try to deflect the blame from Isa for this destruction of our environment!


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