Monday, November 27, 2006

PAS : Umno GA declares war on M'sian nation

Umno Must Speak For All ?
by Dr. Dzulkifli Ahmad (above left), Director of PAS Research Centre

Umno did it again. That annual general assembly or delegate conference of any party had always been and shall always be a ‘big gallery’, where every member, leader or follower, has to play to, is arguably understandable. Every party admittedly does it. Granted.

However, going by the events in the recently concluded Umno General Assembly, calling it as the most bizarre is still an understatement. It is the worst ever! Anything beyond, borders on and tantamount to a declaration of 'war' : 'Umnoputras Versus the Rest of the Nation'.

Never had the nation witnessed a congregation of Malay politicians, ostensibly guardians of the Malay supremacy, totally oblivious of others as to equally bemused, nay enraged, their BN-supporters, much worse their detractors.

Under the very glare of the entire country, Umno has again arrogantly displayed her total contempt and 'lordship' over the rest the nation, accusing everyone else for their predicaments, saved their own selves.

Premised on the 'nothing-to-shout-about' 12-pillars speech, entitled "Fulfilling Promises", the President's speech was characteristically mediocre at best. I couldn't concur more with Mukhriz's 'nothing-new' critique of his President's speech. In all honesty, to continue tasking him annually such a feat is immensely unfair.

The speech and his concluding remarks reflected his beleaguered state, consequent to the cascade of disparaging attack from many quarters, not the least from his predecessor, for his unfailing dismal performance.

His recent pre-emptive announcement of wanting to go beyond 1 term is baffling. Many shudder at the thought of his capability to end his first term in one piece.

Despite his reminders that delegates should observe restraint and care in sensitive issues of race and religion, what ensued were completely on the contrary. Either they no longer give a care (read damn) to what he says or was it because of his many nuances, the like of 'Don't Push Me or Don't Push Us', 'My patience has its limit','It's harder to be nice', that actually provided the clout and incited party members to 'unleash' in that very undignified and disgraceful manner.

The President-cum-PM has time and again been guilty of that flip-flop stance, typically due to his indecisiveness or perhaps his ineptness of sort.

The consequences were horrendous. It was the real Umno 'unplugged'. It was a 'no-holds-barred' kind of outrageous display of unbridled arrogance. Brandishing the unsheathed keris again by the Umno Youth leader, was offensive enough, but the readiness 'to die in a blood-bath' was atrocious and entirely unsolicited.

A Perlis delegate remarks of 'when the keris will be used', after it has been unsheathed, waved and kissed by the youth leader, not only angered an opposition leader but ruffled feathers with the entire nation! Umno has turned back the clock of nation-building by decades.

As if the actions of the Youth leaders of Umno were insufficient to incite hurt and animosity, a veteran Umno leader saw fit to remind everyone that Malays (read Umnoputras) are very capable of exhibiting the amok, when challenged. Reminders of the May13 incident were conveniently cited and off-repeated.

Overwhelmed by the immediate interest of their 'entitlements' and 'sacred' rights that now seemed challenged, this assembly of the Malay political party has willfully deluded themselves from addressing malignant problem that will indeed obliterate them forever viz; the scourge of corruption.

No delegates dared touch the subject with any vigour nor rigour, as were exhibited in discussing their 'Malay Agenda'.

None spoke of the Corruption Perception Index of the Transparency International that has further relegated the country performance to 44th position ie slipping further from 39th. Any guess of who the greatest perpetrators were?

If corruption wasn't the focus, so was the discussion on the competitiveness of the Malay race, much less of the nation's competitiveness in facing the ever-increasing global business challenge.
Most disgustingly, we are cruelly reminded that this is the backbone, if not, the government of the day. This is the annual assembly of the party of policy-makers and the political masters that determine the destiny of this nation!

Any serious attempt at addressing the issue of the flagging inflow of FDI, is naively rationalized as caused by our own lack of interest in merger and acquisition (M&A), hence the failures to entice foreign capitals. When has FDI been hinged on M&A of critical and strategic assets of the nation? Are we in denial of losing out to even our immediate neighbours?

Are we facing a perception problem here? I’m afraid it is more than just perception. It is real. It's the sum total of two basic malaise of our nation viz lacking Competitiveness and Integrity. What has happened to the grand launching of the National Integrity Plan of April 2004 by the President-cum-PM?

None dared to rock-the-boat, while everyone was ever too willing to partake in the orgy of adulation of their leaders and cursing their detractors. That is ‘playing to the gallery’ at its best.

Umno could at best, only narrowly debate on her 'sacred' entitlement and harp endlessly on their yet-to-be-achieved-equity, with hardly any or little regard to the real challenge of turning around the malignant economy to a vibrant one.

Serious talks of actual 'capacity building' and raising entrepreneurship zeal of the Malays, gave way to the many quick-fit measures of ascertaining that Malay (read Umnoputras) businesses and contractors of all classes, will be duly awarded, comes the implementation of the 9th Malaysia Plan.

If the President's speech and deliberation was a real let-down, his deputy's performance was also a far cry from envisioning and articulating the reengineering of the 'Malay Agenda'.

Talks on the need to acquire transformational mindsets and leadership was visibly perceived as hot-airs or empty rhetoric. Insistence on perpetuating the Malay Agenda just because the Malays have been oppressed and colonized for 446 years, spoke volume of his ludicrous intellectual reasoning.

The Deputy President is himself in serious need of a total overhaul of his faulty worldview of social reengineering, so as to be in total grasp of the new realities and the current context of challenges plus the future shapes of things to come.

While the writer neither harbour any intent of invoking the anti-sedition act nor attempt at stifling their freedom of expression, the nation could now amply discern for themselves who truly are the extremists, racists and the real bigots.

After the 5 days of unprecedented 'show of strength', it will be the greatest folly for Umno to hoax or hoodwink the rakyat with their front-page media sloganeering "Umno Must Speak for All"(NST, 18 Nov.2006).

Umno has to humbly admit failures. Otherwise she will be soon doomed to irrelevancy. - mr

(This article was originally published on 26 November in Harakah Daily; Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad was PAS Central Committee Member and the Director of PAS Researh Centre)

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