Object Lesson for UMNO

There is always this tendency among UMNO leaders to trivialize the erosion of people’s confidence in them. It’s the fallacy of forced over-optimism. The Ali Rustams, the M.Taibs, the lesser myrmidons make light of the messages.


The trivializing mentality is typified by statements like – UMNO lost because the OTHER side played dirty. WE are still ok.

The people of Pekan, Najib’s constituency, may be shielded from realizing the truth. After all they have enjoyed the spillover effects of having a favorite son becoming the national leader. They are promised even more. But what happens if UMNO loses the federal government?

Can trivialities or fickle-mindedness explained the massive shift in votes away from UMNO in the recent general elections? UMNO lost its mandate to rule in 5 states and is basically impotent in Federal Territory with one seat? Can trivialities explain why more than 1 million UMNO members did not support UMNO candidates? With a membership of 3.2million, UMNO candidates secured probably only 2.0million votes? Can trivialities explain why out of the 5.7 Malay votes, UMNO candidates secured only 2million? It’s insulting our intelligence to accept suggestions that these are flashes in the pan.

So the leaders speak of change. Muhyidin speaks of change. Najib because he is a stout defender of the UMNO tradition, is slower to endorse the calls for change. In the end, everyone joins in the choir and chorused we must change. Change what? What changes are UMNO leaders talking about? What particular changes is Dato Najib talking about? If his idea of change means imperceptible re-arrangements here and there, slipshod steps taken for publicity stunt, UMNO is gone. Such changes serve only to reaffirm people’s perception that really UMNO doesn’t want to change the system.

What is the system that UMNO has? Looking at UMNO, I would say, that it has a system almost akin to colonialism of old. I remember reading a very telling definition of colonialism by that grey eminence across the causeway as something like this. The colonial system is that which allows the masters to build his house or mansion on the rock, or hillock or hill. On the other side, in the swamps, the natives get to set up their atap houses, zinc-roofed hovels etc. This system cannot be changed by having the natives move inches away from the edges of the swamps. They have to be moved to higher ground or the swamps filled up with earth or whatever. In short, the change we want is nothing short of revolutionary social change.

UMNO leaders get finicky when the word revolution is mentioned. Violent changes by violent means? To pacify the keristuans, that’s why we place the qualification- social revolution of the system. UMNO has a system where the power elite could not hold on anymore while its members, 3 million of them, will no longer tolerate.