Hornbill Unleashed

June 27, 2013

A crisis of imagination in Umno?

Filed under: Human rights — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:01 AM
Tags: , , , ,

KJ John

I am no politician and cannot win any seat by election for selection for more than one term. The reason is simple: for me truth matters and all truths about all issues do matter. Therefore, in most, if not all matters, I do choose to seek and speak the truth; and somehow, in the current and modern world, this is not very acceptable.

Therefore, as my father advised me, I have stayed out of all forms of partisan-level politics, including civil society groups, at most levels of leadership. But, that is not to say or suggest that I am not political. All humans are political, when, or at any time we intervene within any given situation to make some specific kind of change happen.

All such change is defined by our “calculated” intentions and not simply by chance, or even ‘force majeure’, which is the blame God phenomena.

Therefore, disagreeing with many about subjects of national import, I am of the view that all Malaysians can say and do anything that is permitted by our version of human rights, as preserved, protected and currently being actively promoted by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam). Allow me therefore to make my three senses clear and comment about the next Umno general assembly to be held at the end of this year.

There currently is a ‘moving consensus argument,’ emerging among some Umno members that an all-out contest for new leadership is not good for democracy within Umno, or for Malay representation in Malaysia. This argument is being made by some not-so-relevant and older members of Umno who are already quite irrelevant in terms of how the citizens voted and exercised their choice in the last general election (GE).

But, even there, the younger members are in favour of new leadership and therefore would like to see a change of leadership through contest at the coming general assembly. But many incumbents already proven to be incompetent and irrelevant by the loss of the popular majority against the Umno-led BN are seeking more creative ways and arguments to remain in power.

In my view, it is only a matter of time that BN will implode because already both the MIC and Gerakan have expressed differing views about many forms of policy compliance hitherto “shared” by these subservient groups.  They, too, are seeking self-renewal or they will become irrelevant. Of course MCA is almost history now, the exact position that Gerakan and MIC were at after the last GE.

Therefore, all these cries for moderating current leadership change without democratic processes are what I will call a crisis of imagination within Umno or any group seeking this approach. One cannot rearrange furniture on the Titanic, after having sighted the iceberg. I argued about sighting the Titanic before the 2008 GE, so, why is there any surprise at the visibility now?

BN needs a new way forward

My father was a founder-member of Kedah MIC.  So, while I have never had the intention of ever joining the MIC or any other party, I have some sympathy or empathy for the quandary they now face. Therefore, I will argue that the original alliance members should go back to their original agreement and arrangement but with newer models of trust and mutual respect demonstrated.

The original leaders “did not lord over one another”.  There was never talk or thinking about “Ketuanan Melayu.” The Melayus were in fact in full control of the newly-formed nation-state, and the then guests of British Malaya, whether Chinese, or Indians or Arabs, or Pakistanis, were all accepted as part and parcel of the “so-called social contract and arrangement (but not an agreement).”

In return for Independence for British Malaya, these “guests” were to be granted citizenship. This was a common national interest agenda of all Malayans, including the Malay royals, for the sake of their ‘shared’ independence from the United Kingdom.

The federal constitution of Malaya was the consequent, collaborative, and common “set of rules” for their shared new future.  But why have we been derailed from such an agenda of true national unity? That is the most important question of import for a new Malaysia to emerge, or to realise what I have always called or argued as the 1Bangsa of Malaysians.

Radical and fundamental changes needed

In a previous Malay Mail column called Truth Matters, I argued that we need a real tsunami or a paradigm shift, if we understand and accept the reality that 51 percent of Malaysians voted for Anything But Umno (ABU).

Now, the real question for Umno, i.e. the target of ABU is – why is there so much underlying anger, bitterness, and even hatred with Umno and how can these be dispelled when the original Alliance did not have such internal issues of deep distrust? This is a similar issue faced now by the Brazilian government by “popular disapproval”.

I therefore have three unsolicited suggestions for Umno:

  • Move away from ethnic-based membership and open up for the realisation of a real participatory democracy, wherein representatives must speak and “re-represent views of the electorate and not just further their future and survival”. Malayans generally know good leadership must include good representation for the majority of different people groups.
  • Convert the NEP into the NEM, wherein all need based and basic foundational facilities will be made available to all, without fear and favour. “Bumiputras” are any citizen (i.e. prince of the earth) who has needs which fall below the adopted national poverty line indices. Finally also, make all systems of purchases for goods or services, or the distribution of opportunities, truly an open and transparent competition model to grow our open market competitiveness culture. May the real best learn to win. This does not exclude need based affirmative action and policies.
  • Make, and include the practice of the Rukunegara as a Preamble for our federal constitution, to help define the spirit of both; the original formations of Malaya and Malaysia. This is not currently included into our federal constitution. The Rukunegara was the positive creation of the worst friction or fracture in our community in the past. It was the first National Consultative Council which sought and got a full and consensus view to emerge that agreement. It needs to be given greater prominence and enshrined as our promise as the basis of evolution and promotion of the creation of a common bangsa of Malaysians.

May we therefore have the wisdom to understand the real issues facing us as a nation-state and then seek to address them with transformational models of leadership. The opposite is seeking self-survival within the older and failed transactional model or relationships driven by self-promotion and preservation.

1 Comment »

  1. I cannot understand why Umno is worried bout the so-called Red Bean Army when Umno has Utusan, TV3, TV1, NTV7, 8TV, BH, Kosmo, Astro Awani ……….

    Comment by Zaki — June 27, 2013 @ 6:46 PM | Reply


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