Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Seeking Lost Relevancy?

Back in the days before the North-South highway, trunk roads threading through rural areas between main towns were the only option for road vehicles. Mind you, though apparently more risky, trunk roads made for more accomplished drivers. Today's generation of drivers tend to lack skill and experience in negotiating corners, over-taking and indeed road courtesy!

But why am I talking about trunk roads? Actually, I was reminded of the rural areas we used to pass through and Jeannie's observations of cows by the roadside. She jokingly called them UMNO meetings although she was never interested in politics. Well this week we are witnessing another Mother of all UMNO Meetings...the masters of herd mentality (and the use thereof) are meeting to select the masters of the herd.

One is tempted to think that with the mood in the country now, UMNO may not survive another tsunami should a General Elections be held today. However, the reality is that in the immediate term the new UMNO president will become PM of Malaysia in due course.

Today, it is the UMNO Youth Wing elections; the choice is between three and by bovine intervention we will see a new Youth Chief this evening. Though the movement appears lacking in relevancy since it has somewhat lost its sting and efficacy as an UMNO "attack dog", its new leader is still worth watching.

I cut and paste below a blogpost by one of my favorite UMNO bloggers, Dato' Sakmongkol AK47 who of late, seems to have become a KJ apologist. He does make sense in some parts but for the fact that KJ, as out going Deputy UMNO Youth Chief (and First SIL) had not shown any sterling performances either...well, maybe apart from the rabid keris shaking moments and when trying to cook Rice (Condoleeza).

Whether KJ's rebranding exercise which began after 8th March 2008, has succeeded in time of not, I am sure its price is still being paid. Nevermind the cost!

Please read for yourself and find out why it tends to ring hollow when one is scraping the bottom of the barrel:

KJ-The New Ketua Pemuda.

Today, the 25th of March 2008, pemuda delegates will elect its leadership. We have heard all the unlikely admonitions about saving UMNO by preserving the status quo. We have heard the distended arguments of choosing certain leaders. In desperation, certain quarters even attempted to read their own agenda into the speech given by DS Najib. DS Najib officiated the opening o the Pemuda, Wanita and Puteri Conventions. They are nothing more that fearful voices.

There was one which imputes the message of dare to change in DS Najib's speech, which is of course the battle cry of sun setting Mukhriz Mahathir. That is of course nonsensical for there is none. What we heard was unmistakably a humbled awareness for UMNO to conduct structural changes . That is not the same with the superficial and at times farcical calls by Mukhriz Mahathir. We actually heard calls to appreciate intelligence which is getting scarce in UMNO.

Examine the exhortations built around the rallying call of Mukhriz Mahathir. What are they? They are nothing more than a disguise for a return to less democracy and more autocracy. It is an attempt to bring back the unquestioned principle of choosing a leader because of who they are.

Think about this. Think of KJ representing the opening of doors for people like you and I (in my case my sons) who don't have that pedigree background to offer. What is KJ representing? He is representing the opportunities opened to ordinary Joes without having to resort to which family we belonged to, what office we held before or which group we identify with. We offer our own merits.

The Pemuda delegates are voting for a desire for total change. Your votes must install a leadership dedicated for revolutionary changes to help UMNO.

Can change come by mere declaration? You very well know that change will never come by way of cosmetic and superficial re-arrangements. It will not come by way of mere declaration that you dare to change. The change that is ushered or intended only by way of changing one or two people will never be sufficient.

It is the culture and system that needs attacking. In order to usher in a desire for genuine change, you must elect a leadership that is determined, courageous, wilful, able to bond with you, can articulate your fears and aspirations, and who are serious about wanting to change.

The journey to change UMNO and save UMNO must begin in the hearts of the Pemuda today. You must identify who the leader who best represents the spirit of Pemuda.

Right now, the man with the plan is KJ. What is the message you get from MM? Some mumbo jumbo and marbles-in-the-mouth speech about dare to change. Change to Mukhriz is represented by one thing only- kicking out Pak Lah. We have already punished Pak Lah sufficiently. We don't go around kicking a dead horse.

UMNO's eroded credibility is travelling further south despite Pak Lah and not because of Pak Lah. Its credibility is so because UMNO itself is self-inducing paralysis.

Asking Pak Lah to go- well, that's about the most earth shaking thing that has issued forth from the sun that is setting.

It is the UMNO culture that needs addressing of. And right now, it is the UMNO culture that must be thought about by the Ketua Pemuda. Everyone can talk about wanting to bring change but they have not defined what kind of change they want to bring. Consider these.

The idea of liberalising the way we elect and choose UMNO leadership is a fundamental change. Allowing direct election of leaders, dismantling the archaic and undemocratic quota system is a fundamental change; re-structuring the work ethics of the Pemuda is a fundamental change. Insisting on quality values is a fundamental change.

Asking for the removal of one or two fellows is not a change. Returning to the old business as usual system is not the change we are looking for. Reinforcing rogue nationalism which is nothing but fearful admission of our own deep-seated vulnerabilities and collective insecurity is not the change we are after. Indeed, the verbal pronouncements of people like Mukhriz and Khir Toyo indicate they don't know what changes the Pemuda must take. What does encouraging dissent in UMNO means? Do they mean the structural changes we actually want?

Let us first begin with the very basic and fundamental step. Move away from evaluating our leaders based on who they are. Abandon the idea that leadership is reserved for certain people. Insist on the idea that we evaluate people on the basis of what they can do to the movement. The fundamental changes we want are moves that liberate us from feudal, personality cult-based politics.

So far, we hear only one person personifying the real willingness to change. That's Khairy Jamaludin. So today, you Pemuda delegates, honour the ideas that he represents by voting in Khairy Jamaluddin. Accepting any other is an unmitigated disaster

No comments: