Monday, March 23, 2009

MALAY UNITY RECALLED ON SUNDAY




With the worst over and Najib Tun Razak finally and actually taking over as Umno president and premier after the 59th Umno general assembly beginning Tuesday 24 March, tension was decently absent during the Sunday Malay Unity gathering at the TNB Multipurpose Hall in Kuala Lumpur where former Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, delivered a lengthy keynote address to usher in the new regime.

Speakers and attendees, admitting their feelings of anxiety, were quite relaxed, some suffering themselves in private about the lack of a think-tank to settle for a common and coordinated strategy.

It was about surveying the grounds lost during Pak Lah’s five years of flip-flop and the moral decay in Umno crowned by Ali Rastum’s disqualified bid for party number two because of “money politics.”

It was a peep of the new divide among the Malays who are now given to three political parties with the intrusion of the multiracial Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) led by Anwar Ibrahim.

The underside up, the once docile Malay agricultural community, having been predominantly transcribed into a commercial and industrial society governed by state-enriched political, administrative and professional elite in as many years as Mahathir was PM, has split by dint of educational and workplace diversities as the strongman was retiring.

He had successful turned Malaysia into an industrial nation but the Malays had not derived new production tools worthy of note other than in manufacturing the Japanese techno-graphed Proton cars, hybridized with the Lotus from Norwich in England into a national pride.

After it had gone stale by Pak Lah’s politics of vengeance against Mahathir (he had even ordered the Augusta holdings of Proton sold for one Euro, worth RM4.50 at that time), the Malays in Umno and in some NGOs now want to regain the lost grounds and the lost time. .

Dr. Mahathir, ruing the divided house, called for a straight shot back to Malay political dominance. He mentioned Pak Lah’s Singapore Sling in apt rupture.

“Some Malays are even afraid to refer to Malaysia as Tanah Melayu (Malay motherland), preferring to steer clear of ‘racism’ since anything that has to do with a commitment to the unity and development of the Malays and Bumiputra would be strenuously condemned as being ‘racist.’

It’s a recall of the role of Umno, a role that has been lost in the moral slump of a party now seen to have been squashed into a cesspool and appearing no more than a grant of wholesale corruption.

After Malacca Chief Minister, Ali Rastum, was debarred from the Umno Supreme Council election, Pak Lah’s son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, has been found guilty of vote-buying by the Umno Disciplinary Committee, but he was allowed to contest.

He wanted to become the Umno Youth chief now and Prime Minister before he turns 40 in seven years. Mahathir mentioned him and immediately took a drink to clear his throat.

Most leaders at the gathering were clear about rallying behind the new leader, Najib Tun Razak, and standing up against Anwar Ibrahim, who will have to hold on to his seat to face the impending slaughter.

But while among the speakers political outlooks were different, everyone was certain about one thing – that there should be no compromise on the special rights and privileges of the Malays and Bumiputras.

“We need to be clear about one thing first,” said Datuk Panglima Salleh Said Keruak. The special rights and privileges enshrined in the Constitution cannot be shared.”

Representing the Bajau in Sabah, he said, ”power can be shared but not in a 50-50 equation. We in Sabah are not willing to depart from what was agreed in the founding of Malaysia in 1963 and we look to the Malays in West Malaysia to uphold and to defend the agreement.”

After that was wrapped the worries extended to the decision to end the New Economic Policy and showed through in the technological gap that expanded during the five years of Pak Lah as premier.

Off-stage a few talked about the technological lapse.

A couple of years ago Sony presented in Malaysian malls its robots dancing in wireless choreography involving more than 200 movements.

That happened while we were perversely regressing into a digital gap with the Japanese that could span 60 years once again.

Pak Lah chose to plant fruits for export to Japan in a free-trade exchange with Japanese automobiles, an exchange that could have been inspired by Aladdin’s new lamps for old.

Umno should be made conscious about that fact. It was that kind of criminal waste that had caused much of the widespread disillusionment and anxiety when in a time like this the nation should have opted to employ high-tech in agriculture too.

It was primarily because of that technological and moral regression that Umno lost her role as the Malay leader and must now quickly regain the profile or the Malays will not rally behind the party as they had done many times in the past.

The party is corrupt at the core, its rich elite sunk prematurely into debilitating hubris bringing an unprecedented dissociation the party leaders cannot fail to redress without losing altogether the faith and the trust of the Malays.

The malady is captured in a brief and succinct description by Prof. Dr. Shamsul Amri of Etnika, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Said he, Umno has become socially and politically distanced from the Malays.

The party is no longer representing any ideals of the youths too.

With six million new voters expected to be registered for the next general elections in a total of 16.9 million, the Umno leaders ought to slot that remark into the members’ brains to instantly motivate re-orientation. .

Umno and the BN are facing three by-elections on April 7, which could be less than one week into Najib’s leadership.

Even if losing in Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai may be overlooked, in Bukit Gantang a BN defeat can mean a very long haul to redeem Najib.

The former Perak Menteri Besar, Nizar Jamaluddin, will be Pas candidate. Umno/BN ought to win.

The fight for Malay survival and political dominance is on in earnest and it must begin right now. Hidup Melayu! ----a. ghani ismail, 24 March, 2009

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