Copyright Notice

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, at the address below.

Sakmongkol ak 47

Sunday 14 November 2010

The post UMNO Malaysia-part 1

The post UMNO Malaysia- Part 1.

Readers will be disappointed if they think judging from the title of this article, it's a Malaysia without UMNO. It's a Malaysia with UMNO and the rise of the others. People are busy documenting the rise of others that they forget UMNO is capable of adapting.

By the others I mean non UMNO political parties that are asserting their presence as stakeholders of this country. Correspondingly, it's a Malaysia where UMNO recognizes this fact. It's a Malaysia, where UMNO which will remain as the preeminent political power adapts to a new environment where it has to give space to other stakeholders. But it's also a Malaysia the other stakeholders must know that UMNO and the Malays are not going to disappear just like that. That's the only way to ensure its survival. It's also the only way for the others to survive.

I have not been writing for some time. I have gone back to catch up with some reading. Also, a brief interval is necessary to allow me to see things in perspective.

For example I have extensively criticized Najib's big ideas; 1 Malaysia, the ETP, GTP, New Economic Model etc. I am still critical and will continue to examine these ideas. These ideas must be examined on their merits.

On the other hand, looking at these on a wider perspective, there is a rationale behind them. It's a plan for political survival. For UMNO essentially.

How so? Najib knows UMNO must adapt or perish. It can't survive in its present form. His biggest problem? Making the UMNO people understand this. It's troubling to note that most of his big ideas were rejected at the recent UMNO General Assembly. Yet none of the big UMNO leaders addressed this point.

He needs to disseminate his ideas for which he needs champions at various levels. If many in the higher leadership do not share his passion in his big ideas, how can they be the common cause of the masses? Either many of them are indifferent or are too daft or its only Najib that is thinking how UMNO can survive.

What's happening to UMNO can be discerned if we ask why couldn't Japan overtake America as the biggest economy or most powerful nation etc.? In the 1980's many people were forecasting that Japan will overtake USA. That didn't happen because; Japan didn't have the institutions and the values to allow it to overtake USA. In order to move into the next phase, Najib and his government must devise ideas and institutions that support his grand designs.

I take it therefore; the requirement to enable an entity to move to the next phase is that we must have the institutions and practice that support that transition. Its UMNO and the government machinery first.

UMNO couldn't make it to the next phase because the institutions that made it successfully in rural areas, the values that can sustain the transformation are not there. We don't have the same grassroots organizations that operate in villages replicated or transplanted in urban areas where the majority of Malay voters now reside.

In the villages you have institutions such as ketua kampong or village heads, the penghulus, the kumpulan 10, the surau and madrasah committees etc. and many other voluntary social organizations. Through these, the government can disseminate ideas and also receive feedbacks with great immediacy. The same grassroots organizations are not replicated in urban areas.

So how do you ensure longevity and survival? You adapt. It calls for a strategy of adjusting to the process of natural selection, politically speaking that is. Najib has several options; one to submit passively to a process of natural selection letting UMNO to develop traits that can ensure its survival or to carry out artificial selection. The former process may take a longer time and a luxury Najib cannot afford. Also, we are not sure, the cross section of UMNO people want to develop the necessary traits.

The next option is artificial selection, by grafting onto UMNO the desired traits that can ensure its survival. This will demand an iron willed leadership. No flip flopping and no going back.

An organization that fails to adapt to changing environment, will become extinct. So, in a related sense, those big ideas that Najib churned out, are measures thought of and taken to adapt to new demands from the political environment. Failure to do so will cause UMNO to perish.

But I maintain my reservations that his big ideas do not have the soldiers to carry them though. Most were hatched in labs and are clubbish in nature. And I am not sure Najib has the absolute political resolve to see it through. That may be an indication, that his ideas have not been fully accepted by senior UMNO leaders too. He must inspire confidence in us.

He must have that team, a new one if necessary to carry through his ideas. He must have a team that works harder. I was listening to the conversation with Andrew Gould, the CEO of Schlumberger (the French company) talking about leadership. One of the things that he mentioned is team building. The incoming CEO must have a team that shares his passion and ideals. He must first identify members of the outgoing CEO who can make the transition to his team most easily and usually there is only a handful. The rest he must release and take on a new team that is able to more reflect and share his ideas and passion. PM Najib must have a new team. And that must also include members of his staff.

When Voltaire arrived in Portsmouth, he was shocked to see a man being executed with pomp and ceremony. Upon inquiring, he found out the man who was shot is an admiral. His crime? He did not kill as many enemies when in battle against a French navy. But why execute him asked Voltaire. The answer was, the British find it necessary once in a while to execute an admiral so that the others work harder.

So, in forming his team, maybe PM Najib needs to execute one or two admirals so that the others understand he means business. Throw out those dysfunctional ministers.

UMNO must relearn what it means to be Malay.

UMNO considers itself as the only real voice of the Malays. Now it must validate that claim by understanding what it is to be Malay. Understand first and formulate the operating strategies accordingly.

The social outlook of a typical Malay is shaped by the values he lives by which have been drummed into him for generations. He is basically submissive and functions well in an ordered and structured society. By that I mean, the typical Malay operates best when there is a well ordered hierarchy in society. He will follow the leader, out of respect and also out of adherence to the way as it has always been. Malays follow the leaders, elders, the positioned, the uniformed etc. Malays submit to authority and finds nothing demeaning about that. It has always been that way.

Understanding this basic nature will then require us to approach a desire to graft and cultivate desired traits in a certain way. The only way I suppose, given the cultural disposition of the Malays, is to impose a regime of disciplines. This requires an iron willed leadership or some kind of benevolent dictatorship.

This notion of a will imposed from without, the notion of a regime of a disciplinarian or benevolent dictatorship may be abhorrent to democrats. Personally I feel that too, but I fear our kinship with libertarian ideas can't be the route to change the mindset of the Malays. Not in my generation I think

They need the exhortations from the strong willed leader or leadership. They can't be expected to voluntarily develop the necessary traits to survive farther.

This is my central point as regards UMNO. Like the Malay, it can't be expected to change on its own. We can't expect UMNO people, with their vested interests and their cultural set up like the Malays, to voluntarily develop the traits to ensure its survival in the future. It must be whipped into shape by an iron willed leadership.

So if Najib announces his various initiatives without the discipline, the iron resolve, and without the foot soldiers to carry them through, they cannot transform the Malays and UMNO. He needs good men at every level of leadership to ensure his various initiatives can go through. He must operate via the operations room method of Tun Razak.

Otherwise his big ideas do not become shared ideals and his army of ketua bahagians and other party men are in the dark about his big ideas. He has inadvertently created a vacuum that is filled by gangs of misfits such as Perkasa. While Perkasa may fight for some causes that find ready clientele in the Malay heartland, I think what they are fighting for is superfluous. UMNO is fighting the same causes and is better organized to achieve them.

This theme will be examined in the next few articles.



Anonymous,  14 November 2010 at 12:51  

If UMNO had wanted to change, it would have done so after March 8 2008.
Until today it had not admitted its mistakes. It wants to retain power not by going back to where it was but by being more 'extreme' in its anti-Non Malay stance hoping that this would unite the Malays behind UMNO.
UMNO cannot lead without the non- Malays support.
But how could UMNO lead by denigrating and humiliating the non Malays and calling them unpatriotic and asking them to be grateful, etc.
UMNO has lost the respect of the non-Malays. That means it has lost its moral legitimacy to lead the nation.
The inclusive UMNO is dead.

OneMalaysian,  14 November 2010 at 13:15  

Dear Sakmongkol

“UMNO considers itself as the only real voice of the Malays. Now it must validate that claim by understanding what it is to be Malay”.

You have painted with a very broad brush, and touched on so many major issues that it is hard to comment on all of them.

It surprised me to read what you say about UMNO and the Malays. What UMNO thinks about itself concerning the Malays is not important, but what the Malays think of UMNO is important. The fact that over the past several years that a significant numbers of Malays have shifted their allegiance to PAS, and to a lesser extent, PKR, says that time has changed, but UMNO has not. If it thinks that its political future still lies primarily in bringing about the so-called Malay unity, it is mistaken. What it must confront is the undeniable fact that despite more than 53 years of leading and representing the Malay interest, it has failed to alleviate the social and economic condition of the vast majority of the Malays.

The changes that you advocate that UMNO should make are akin to trying to update a WW2 vintage warship by tinkering with it here and there. No, the way forward requires an adoption of a new political paradigm. UMNO, however reconfigured cannot bring this about. This old warship is riddled with too many holes, and is not seaworthy any more. The Malays and the whole country will be better off if we stop advocating racial unity, but instead promote national unity of purpose. Beating a racial drum after all these years shows that we have been politically stunted. Let’s wake up to reality. Singapore, that little red dot of just 5 million people, is forecast to overtake its 28 million neighbour by year-end. That would be a real shame.

hangkebun,  14 November 2010 at 15:51  

We'll just have to watch it collapse at the next GE. I am just so sorry to say it will UMNO last PM. No doubt the surface change but the heart does not.Don't be foolish to think the last win on the two bye-e is the actual sentiment on the whole ground.
It's not only UMNO but all racial based parties. Unless any of you have green color blood..ha ha.

Anonymous,  14 November 2010 at 17:52  

A party grounded on regressive ideologies and culture will not be able to progress and change for good.

A pirate can not become a philanthropist, a criminal can not turn into a judge, an outlaw can not be a democratic administrator.

The uncivilized malaysian national organization will remain barbaric no matter what facelife makeup they put on.

The best they can do is when they are loaded with loots and can effort to held their mob meeting in grand hotel and convention center.

But the speech still reflect the core barbaric culture, like the recent opening speech by the leader sound like gang leader cheering their mob to assert their core believe and value.

Anonymous,  14 November 2010 at 20:11  

pemimpin umno memang tkkan berubah..sebab pemimpin umno yg ada bukan lah benar2 pemimpin, pemimpin umno yg sejati semua telah umno yg ada hanyalah pembodek-pembodek dan peyamun harta rakyat di siang hari..pemimpin umno yg ada pada hari ini adalah pemimpin yg suka berbohong termasuk lah pengasas umno iaitu dr mahathir...kenapa dr mahathir pengasas umno sebab umno yg diasaskan oleh allahyarham onn jaafar dah di batalkan penubuhan nya oleh mahkamah tinggi iaitu hakim harun hashim..umno yg ada pada hari ini adalah umno ciptaan mahathir sebab itu umno hari ini tidak ada kesinambungan perjuangan pemimpin pemimpin umno terdahulu, baru2 ni umno baru mengadakan PAU yg ke 63??? betul ke umno yg ada pada hari ini berusia 63thn??? umno yg diwujudkan oleh dr mahatir ialah pada tahun 1988 kalau nak di hitung dalam matematik atau pn ilmu hisab umno yg ada [ada hari ni baru berusia 22 tahun...kita kena terima hakikat bahawa umno yg ada hari ni baru berusia 22 tahun ini adalah FAKTA tk kira apa alasan nya fakta nya UMNO baru berusia 22 tahun adakah kita mahu melupakan sejarah???? tapii kenapa pemimpin kita mengatakan umno yg ada sudah berusia 63tahun bukan ke ini satu pembohongan ????? sikap pemimpin umno yg tk nak berubah....sekian

Quiet Despair,  14 November 2010 at 22:27  

I love UMNO to bits. In my book, there is no party like UMNO which is democratic, inclusive, accomodating, tolerant and unselfish.
It is constantly evolving and adpating to changes to stay on course and relevant to all Malaysians.
But I have misgivings about the recent trend in UMNO where our leaders are starting to emulate PAS in Islamisation and Arabisation within the party.
(Please note I am not against Islamisation or Arabisation.)
Take for example Najib's speech during the recent UMNO assembly.
He used the term Wasatiyyah or moderation. His deputy followed suit.
Can't they just used the word kesederhanaan.
Seriously, ordinary Malay folks like my grand-father who has always been in UMNO and was in the government service do not know such words. To most Malays, it is really alien.
And KJ's speech titled Maqasid dan Manhaj perjuangan. What on earth is that?
Oh it means Goals and Approaches of the UMNO struggle. Why not used the word matlamat and pendekatan.
Wow, that comes from an Oxford-educated guy.
It's rather a laugh since most of our leaders are western-trained.
It really jars the ears.
Sak, of course you know we in UMNO mostly conversed in English and we talk Malay in our state lingo.
If it comes from Mr Aljay it's okay since he's a hypocrite self-proclaimed Muslim leader whose major is Malay studies.
And do you all noticed Najib sometimes sounded like him with the grrr sound and mouthing his two favorite words Tuntas and Mampan. I still dont know what that means.
Why? Does UMNO wants to attract PAS members? Or is it because the party is infiltrated by Abim religious fanatics when Tun M parachuted Aljay to UMNO.
I fear that soon UMNO leaders will soon be addressing themselves Ente nd Ana like PAS when now its I or You.
Why cant Najib et all be like Tun M. Speak simply without flowery language in his native Kedah dialect.
Then there's now a lot of ulamak new comers like the controversial
ex-Mufti Asri.
It's good of course because UMNO can match PAS with its array of ulamaks.
But it may also be a liability if they create controversy. Remember PAS was formed from the ulamak wing of UMNO.
UMNO must stop all this. It must revert back to its original role as a Malay, nationalist and a secular party in tune with its coalition with parties of different races and religions.
It must not allow radical ulamaks to dictate UMNO's national policies which have always attract the moderate Malays.
And UMNO should not be apologetic about taking the middle road.
Be true to its original charter of 1946.

a.z 15 November 2010 at 09:06  


By the references you made in this article to Voltair & Japan, can I infer that you are reading something on history?

Would you mind sharing with us your reading list?

Thank You

Anonymous,  15 November 2010 at 10:43  


With all the money and resources at UMNO's disposal, it beats us why you have to write this article.

Well, but you have to.

Didn't Felda have a lot of success at grafting in getah kahwin?

But Datuk, you just might have the "Thrilla in Malaysia".

Cheers to your next parts!

Red Alfa 15 November 2010 at 11:27  

Salam Dato'

We can never be amazed; in spite that over the 23 odd years UMNO the new having unrecognizably evolved from UMNO the ori has just got its members to express the only misgivings they have of UMNO today are that its leaders is becoming to be speaking just like PAS.

Its members still do not or will never see as nothing amiss with the culture of corruption, the declining standards of Malay leadership and morality, etc which are pervasive are destroying UMNO.

Can they not see that UMNO is losing being the bedrock that future Malays can and shall depend on when it has become too self or vested interest serving?

These UMNO members will be betrayed and feeling very betrayed one day for sure.

Anonymous,  15 November 2010 at 13:02  


Immediately after the March 8 2008 GE, the cry of reform by the UMNO leaders were loud and clear.

However, based on the recently concluded UMNO General Assembly, I cannot see any visible sign that point to a UMNO that is capable of major reform.

Apparently UMNO is still mired in the same old ways of the good old days.

bat8 15 November 2010 at 15:28  

Dato Sak,

1. saya masih lagi mengatakan bahawa usaha murni dato ibarat shadow boxing, flocking a dead horse yang dah tak ada. Kuda yang ada didepan mata adalah kuda lain, baka lain, temperament lain, serba serbi lain. bagaimana nak ajar kuda lain dengan fi il perangai kuda yang telah mati supaya menjadi kuda yang telah mati?

2. Kalaulah kuda, alangkah senangnya kita jika dah tak mahu ikut cara dan kehendak tuan. Paling tidak kita jual je atau pun kalau duit tidak menjadi masaalah, kita tembak je. Kita beli kuda baru tetapi kali ini kita beli yang kecil. Kita ajar kuda baru mengikut fi il perangai kuda kesayangan kita yang dah mati tu. Anak kuda ini bila besar, tidak mungkin akan menjadi kuda asal tetapi sekurang-kurangnya kita dah asuh dengan iil dan perangai yang kita hendak.

apa ke halnya cuba mengubah kuda yang dah matang aka tua? Sampai bila pun takkan berhasil. orang tua-tua kata.....kerja sia-sia!

rasanya begitulah juga dengan UMNO(baru) ni. UMNO(baru) adalah UMNO(baru), tujuan dan penubuhannya juga berbeza dengan UMNO lama yang telah dimatikan. bagaimana pula boleh kata sama?


Anonymous,  16 November 2010 at 11:36  

setuju ngan Bat8

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP