Tuesday, November 18, 2008
NAJIB RAZAK ON TOP OF MALAYSIA
BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH - ABDULLAH’S EXIT, NAJIB’S FALL?
A Tale Of Moral Depreciation And Morale Slide In Umno
The Malays are returning to communal politics after the bad flirtation with integration, Except for the pool of young voters who are enthralled by Anwar Ibrahim’s charisma, most will either vote Umno once again or split the votes between Umno and Pas.
Umno has been deprived of moral and historical functions.
After five years of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s unsubstantial leadership, the party which was born to fight British colonization has become “rotten at the core”, a remark and conclusion made by the chairman of the party’s disciplinary committee, Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen, that hit the nail right on the head.
The Malays have had enough of listening to Chinese and Indians who think of themselves as the successors of the British Raj, and therefore, are remaining mentally comprador.
The ceaseless Hate-Malays and Hate-Islam campaign they launched from some years before has finally struck gold.
On Sunday 16 November a forum that discussed the Social Contract convened by Perkasa, decided to tell the non-indigenous Malaysian communities they can reject the Social Contract and end the agony of questioning it. The non-Malays have even been asking who, indeed, are the Malays!
It is clearly a signal that the color-blind days of the Malay Anak Malaysia have ended. I am told most of these good people have decided to revert to their identities as Malays and Muslims.
While it would be a happy hum-along tune for Najib Tun Razak who will become Umno president and Prime Minister at the end of March 2009, Umno is sadly saddled with a gigantic internal corruption.
Facing deep global recession, the party is now having to reach into its heart for what’s left of a historical mission and an ethical purpose to continue being relevant to the Malays.
“It has gone rotten at the core,” said Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen, him charged with the responsibility of taking disciplinary action against “money politics” in Umno, the vote-buying and vote-selling in the party that’s making it a market place for political aspirants who are rich to gain power without political effort or talent.
The disease, erupting about two decades before, reared its head again from the moment Abdullah Badawi took over from Dr. Mahathir. His son-in-law, a new comer, intervened in party and government, becoming number two in the Umno Youth by rewarding contestants who pulled out.
Abdullah was hauled into national prominence as Mr. Clean. The irony and stark contrast of Mr. Clean and Dirty Politics is probably not a matter of nature but a straight character of incompetence, or non-substantial leadership that’s now lazily sauntering to a finish by end of March, a date that’s bad simply because it will take time to come, says his predecessor, Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
There was and is an audible sigh of relief when it was decided Abdullah shall not stay on after March. But the question many are asking is why should Abdullah stay on after December when the party’s general assembly should be held?
Abdullah ought to go. Japan has fallen into recession. Commodity prices have fallen from USD147 for a barrel of oil to USD 55 and still falling.
Palm oil, which affects directly a large number of Malaysian farmers and workers has fallen below the critical RM1,500 to around RM1, 450 per ton. It is expected to go down some 46 per cent more by mid-2009.
What’s Abdullah doing about this?
He is doing nothing. Instead, he insisted he should stay for an extra three months from December simply to read the Bills in parliament that will introduce a Judicial Appointment Commission, an independent Anti-Corruption Agency and three other Bills in a state of an economic meltdown that will be the worst Malaysia has endured.
Abdullah can stay for the three months if the Prime Minister-elect, Najib Tun Razak, is given the freehand he needs to quickly put in place the stimulus and fallback packages the country will have to have. We should have already begun counter-trading, for instance.
There will be about 300,000 unemployed Malaysians coming home from Singapore alone.
But how can Najib act freely and take all responsibilities to usher in new policies and to change structures if he is still number two?
Umno reacted to the stresses of party and nation in remarkable somnolence during the recent divisional meetings that nominated Najib as party president without contest.
In more than half of the party’s divisions, it is learned that the members just came and went, leaving the halls and the speeches delivered inside merely a bout of stout words mainly for old men and women.
These oldies came with the belief that the party they love is still the same one they had known before. But it is not.
Umno is now a ruling party of a successful commercial and industrial nation. In the transition moral integrity in the party simply slid off, leaving the idealism in a slough of despond.
Moral integrity virtually caved-in inside Umno, leaving a bleeding wound that can only be medicated by “money politics”.
Members of the newly enriched in the party were known to have spent more than two million Ringgit for positions number one at divisional level. Some among these took vote-bearers on oversea trips until the eve of the elections so opponents cannot reach them.
They were never purged and neither were they disciplined.
Umno members asked, was there collusion, negligence or a blind spot at the top all along?
At the general elections of 8 March 2008 many party members refused to work unless their palms were laced. When that was done some branch and divisional leaders complained the amounts paid were chicken-feed.
The party paid dearly. The Barisan Nasional lost five states and one federal territory on the 8 of March and a lot of members were happy with the outcome.
Umno was not facing an internal revolution. Rather, it was internal revulsion that had caused the party to bleed profusely in the 8 March elections.
Abdullah was seen not only as an incompetent leader but corrupt as well. His family and some friends blatantly became ultra-rich.
They became multi-millionaires - father, son, son-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, cronies and, according to Dr. Mahathir, also his sycophants. Mahathir himself enriched his children and his cronies, Abdullah said. He called Mahathir a Ten Percenter.
The rot at the core of the party had become debilitating. Umno lost moral purpose.
The question before Najib is how can the party recover its moral and historical motives? Alternatively, should he rule as a member of an oligarchy comprising of the ultra-rich in Umno and in Malaysia?
Umno is not ideological and neither is it religiously Islamic like the Pas is. Will Najib turn in a rule of a triumvirate with his cousin, Hishamuddin Hussein Onn and Mahathir’s son, Mukhriz, for a powerful mix of kickapoo to overcome the problems of ideological and moral lack in the party?
But that would put Mahathir in the Big Man’s shoes and he is alleged to have ruined the integrity of the judiciary as well.
This is what Najib will have to resolve along with the impacts of terrible global stagflation (recession with inflation) that has already set and will quickly worsen, with no solution in sight.
This is a systematic breakdown of the world financial order.
It is also a systematic moral depreciation in Umno, and a certain erosion of party morale Najib will have to somehow restore.
Which way Najib navigates once he is in power will finally determine whether or not the majority of the Malays will want Umno, or go to the Pas instead.
People will not be impressed by a simple communal pretense. Being ultra-Malay is of no value. What will he do to translate that into policies and goodies? Will he reaffirm what his great father, Tun Abdul Razak, did for the Malays?
The PKR of Anwar Ibrahim is sadly viewed as the cause of the mud-slide the Malays are facing from the comprador mentality of some non-Malays in Malaysia. Some Malays say PKR opened the flood-gates. ----a. ghani ismail, 18 Nov. 2008