Much work for Umno leaders after the general assembly

There are as many as 2.9 million new voters in the next general election. Umno can sit back and relax only after it has convinced these young voters aged between 22 and 29 years old.

Lim Sue Goan, My Sinchew

The recent Umno general assembly has once again proved the enthusiasm of the Malays in politics, and their allegiance to leaders. However, no matter how successful the assembly was and how well it demonstrated solidarity, the party’s general assembly will never be the battlefield of the party.

The assembly was filled with tears. Party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak successfully touched many delegates. However, the most important thing would be to touch voters. Therefore, no matter how high the morale was, Umno leaders still have much work to do to bring the momentum to the general election.

Firstly, Najib must rectify the problem of overconfidence and arrogance in leaders at all levels. For example, Wanita Umno leader Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s May 13 statement triggered concern while Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob even said that the MCA should “close shop” if it loses Bentong in the next general election and he will also cut off his ears and jump into the Pahang River. Such a cavalier attitude has been turned into a ready-made issue to be attacked by the alternative coalition, while making voters uncomfortable.

Adnan also said BN will win 13 of the total 14 parliamentary seats in Pahang, while having half chance to win the remaining one seat. He even said that the number of parliamentary seats BN wins in Pahang will be equal to the number of Kuantan residents in favour of the Lynas rare earth refinery. It is puzzling how he can so amidst the strong opposition against the Lynas project?

The top priority now would be to teach leaders about humility. Only those who are modest will know their own inadequacies.

Secondly, Umno must restore the people’s confidence as soon as possible. Various controversial issues have eroded public confidence in the existing system, including whether the rise of the national debt would cause the reduction of subsidies after the election or, worse, lead the country towards bankruptcy?

The government has guaranteed the safety of the rare earth refinery but it has not fully explained about the Asian Rare Earth (ARE) plant in Bukit Merah. The construction of ARE’s second permanent disposal facility is scheduled to be completed in March 2013 and it will be monitored by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) for 300 years. Three hundred years involve a few generations and it is afraid that the country might have to bear a huge cost.

The government also said that Lynas must ship rare earth waste abroad, but Lynas said that all waste will be converted into commercial by-products. Who should we listen to? Who can ensure that all waste will be converted into by-products?

There are as many as 2.9 million new voters in the next general election. Umno can sit back and relax only after it has convinced these young voters aged between 22 and 29 years old.

Thirdly, Najib must offer the people a new direction. The transformation plans have reached a bottleneck and failed to solve corruption problems as well as boost vitality in the economy.

The RM40 million political donation and former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan’s criticism of the police force have reflected the lack of transparency in the existing system.

The government-related enterprises’ performances are also poor. MAS’s accumulated loss has reached RM8.19 billion and it has to implement a reorganisation plan. Meanwhile, Petronas posted a 21.3 per cent fall in third-quarter net profit. What should we do if the world economy encounters a recession next year?

Transformation and reforms are not just about adjusting the minor parts. It should not be controlled by politics either.

If the BN is able to put an end to the various problems which are shaking its credibility, it will then be on the way to success. The problems come from them, instead of the alternative coalition.