A potential rude awakening

Sakmongkol AK47

Tenang can potentially be a rude awakening.

Who wins in Tenang will depend on who can muster the support of the Malays in Tenang. There’s about 7000 of them and 3000 are Felda settlers. The BN can more or less forget about getting Chinese votes. Most of the votes will go to the DAP. If DAP can secure 80% of the Chinese votes the PAS candidate stands a real fighting chance.

It’s commendable that UMNO will try to shore up MCA, its traditional partner in the BN, by giving concessions to the beleaguered party. That will improve somewhat the tarred image of the MCA. But frankly speaking, MCA needs to get used to growing public perception , that it’s just a token ornament in the BN. its influence is waning.

Chua Soi Lek must be delusory. Perhaps he is blind to the massive buildup of attendees to DAP’s ceramahs in Tenang. And most of them are Chinese. Chinese voters are not exactly enamored by the charm offensive of the Chua father and son team.

Except that it can take comfort that UMNO’s influence is also waning. I have pointed this out in several of my articles. UMNO is losing touch on younger voters and building disillusionment in more mature voters. This sad state of affairs does not come about because the founding principles of UMNO were inherently defective. It comes about because UMNO sowed its own seeds of destruction when it generally adopts a culture hostile to the emergence of people who can work selflessly in UMNO. As I said in an earlier article, UMNO now adopts the principle, can I trust this person rather of can this person work?

If UMNO loses this by election, it’s due to its own stupidity (for want of a better word). I have long thought that allegiance and loyalty to its causes must be worked at, need to be cultivated continuously and assiduously. What do you see? UMNO people are behaving as though they are God’s gift to Malaysia. They behave as though there’s nothing worrisome and as though things are back to normal.

For UMNO things are NEVER getting back to normal, unless the UMNO leadership rids itself of this mentality that it can get things gratuitously without working for it. That negative NEP mentality that you think you get things as of right has sadly infected the UMNO body politic. The UMNO leadership thinks it can get Malay support as of right without having to prove credibility and without having to further prove you are worth others’ support.

UMNO’s vital internal organs are crumbling. The first thing that strikes me, is UMNO undergoing a draught or famine? With bountiful membership, we couldn’t find a winnable candidate from those UMNO people who have slogged and slaved for umpteen years? Surely, this will raise disillusionment within the UMNO ranks. This will make being an UMNO member not a passport to becoming holders of public office.

As a person versed in UMNOthink, what do you think UMNO foot soldiers will do? They will likely go out of their way to disprove the top leadership. Lets thump their noses for belittling us. Already that is taking place. Support from within UMNO is slowing. Indeed just to prove their point, the UMNO locals may even be wishing for UMNO to lose if only to remind the UMNO leadership, it needs to play ball with UMNO locals.

That is a clear sign that bad culture has already permeated UMNO’s structure to dangerous levels. The party is full of sycophants and ululating cheerleaders who are making UMNO into a party for blind flowers. It has none of that positive vibrancy that promotes internal competition so that the best come forward. Instead it practises the bully and stifling culture that only self-interested individuals work around the system, deter the more able and the less unscrupulous.

Let me state this bluntly. UMNO is feudal by nature. It doesn’t have a system that nurtures talent. I am very sorry to say this- what DS Najib proclaims about nurturing talent isn’t exactly practiced in UMNO. In UMNO you arrive at the pecking order as a result of accident of birth.

So what do you find? Suddenly you find, there’s not enough talent of leadership up there. The feudal fixed deposit has dwindled. The lower reaches of UMNO are filled with less desirables. You can’t get talented leadership from down there. So what do you do? You have to cast your net outside.

This is exactly what UMNO does in Tenang. It has selected a former PTD officer over the heads of the party faithfuls. That can yield disastrous results.

In the old days, PTD was known as the MCS. It represented the epitome of career achievement. The desire of many Malays then was to be a civil servant and eventually a District Officer (DO). Our MCS was styled essentially after the Indian Civil Service. Many of the people in these services went on to become political leaders.

The rationale for the choice among others, it’s said that the candidate is an experienced government officer. He knows how to deal with government agencies and all that stuff. The PTD badge is the giveaway passport into the green lane of political office. Plus he has some traces of politics being a son of a former ADUN, served as ketua cawangan and treasurer. Nothing to shout about, but enough to have some semblance of political pedigree on his CV. Enough also for wizened and panicky party elders to choose him over party stalwarts.

Unfortunately, that would also suggest that among the UMNO hoi poloi, there isn’t sufficient leadership material or potential winnable candidates. This will be looked as a slap in the face for UMNO Labis Division.

The fact that UMNO has to cast its net beyond its own turf suggests there is a dearth of talent within UMNO. Uncharacteristically UMNO is facing the problem faced by the opposition parties in the 2008 elections. There weren’t sufficient number of credible people to take up the mantle. Hence the opposition parties took the step of grab and offer for contest.

I hope UMNO hasn’t reached this draught in leadership material.

Knowing the UMNO mindset, this choice of candidate will certainly be met with silent protest. That would make the by election in Tenang not so tenang after all. Surely, the UMNO grassroots and foot soldiers will be asking- haven’t we fought hard in previous battles? Haven’t we earned at least some modicum of appreciation and acknowledgement? We were the ones who fought hard to ensure our candidates won. Most important, all previous candidates were one of us. This candidate isn’t one of us. We have gone through the mill and have chosen to remain steadfast to our struggles. These points would certainly surface in the minds of the UMNO foot soldiers.