Those who never learned from history are doomed.This is a time for drastic action and measures. It is a time for honest and sincere opinion. It is time for a no hlods barred reevaluation. For those purposes, I will be writing a series of personal opinion, articles and news cutting relevent for UMNO to reevaluate its situation.
UMNO, specifically the UMNO President cum Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, made a cardinal mistake of refusing to acknowledge information. From very reliable insider sources, Abdullah would get into a state of denial and even tantrum whenever any intelligence or ground report stating Khairy as factor.
Abdullah was too engrossed in building his family dynasty that he refused to acknowledge that early poll is a mistake. He refused advise that the timing is wrong and effort must be done to adress the problems.
Having deceived the UMNO MKT to extend party election for the wimsical reason to focus on implementation of RMK9, he wanted to use an early poll to place in Parliament those allied to him and Khairy. After General Election, his plan is to do a major party purge from ground zero up through the party election and it is widely believed to place Khairy as heir to the "premiership throne".
During the General Election, cah keting was not just confined to Kelantan but happening everywhere, for various reasons - rivalry ranging from within the internal division, and macro party level. That has caused a double effect of backstabbing and money and resourced were saved for the party election, which is to begin after the General Election. UMNO was not "fighting" the Opposition but fighting within itself.
All along, Abdullah could have been mislead to believe that everything is fine and to focus on his chess game. Unfortunately, not only are party members disgruntled with the way UMNO is heading, the economic, security, sovereinty, media, ethnic and religious and many other issues are brewing among the people. this was compunded by the demonstratiosn and handling of the demonstrations.
Lets refer to this news report from Singapore's Straits Times dated March 13th, 2008:
BN 'MADE BIG MISTAKE WITH EARLY POLLS AND MEDIA ATTACKS ON ANWAR'
Both strategies backfired and helped Anwar gain support for opposition: Experts
By Zackaria Abdul Rahim, THE STRAITS TIMES
THE ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition might have been able to prevent its election disaster had it let former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim run, a panel of experts in Singapore said yesterday.
Holding elections early allowed the charismatic opposition leader to roam round the country stumping for the opposition instead of being tied down to campaigning for himself in one constituency, they said.
That 'fundamentally flawed strategy' contributed to the big swing against the BN at the polls, concluded the panel at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at Nanyang Technological University.
After his imprisonment for corruption, Datuk Seri Anwar was barred from holding public office until April 15. Thus he was free to campaign anywhere; he even gave a speech at a financial conference in Singapore last Wednesday, just days before the election.
The visit gave the government more fodder for the anti-Anwar campaign it conducted in the country's pro-government newspapers.
'Perhaps, for the Malay Muslim electorate, a certain sensitivity has been touched because this was a man who had been put in jail, beaten up by the IGP (Inspector-General of Police) of Malaysia,' said Dr Farish Noor, Senior Fellow at RSIS. 'He had been demonised in the media, and then there was this unrelenting attack on Anwar Ibrahim for four days.'
Voters in Kelantan and Terengganu receive only Berita Harian and Utusan newspapers, he noted.
'And the attacks in Utusan and Berita Harian took up half the contents of each paper,' he said.
'When you heap this relentless barrage of abuse on Anwar Ibrahim, without giving him a chance to even reply, the sympathy simply swung in his favour.'
Other members of the panel, chaired by Associate Professor Joseph Liow, RSIS' head of research, were: Professor Shamsul A.B., founding director of the Institute of Ethnic Studies at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia; RSIS' senior fellow, Mr Yang Razali Kassim; and Ms Jacqueline Ann Surin, former Sun journalist and founder of the website malaysiavotes.com..
On the part of Anwar, I would like to differ but would agree that it was over done. Anwar was not a significant factor but the manner the GE was scheduled and overkill towards Anwar has made him a factor.
BN has the necessary tools to end Anwar's popularity but refused to use it. On this aspect, I will be consistent with my position that all along Anwar had an understanding with Abdullah. In fact, I strongly believed that Abdullah had manipulated the judge to release him. But that is another story ... the issue is Abdullah did not handled Anwar factor wisely and made it into a factor.
Another move that contributed to the BN's massive losses, said Dr Farish, was the decision to scrap the use of indelible ink, which had been aimed at curbing people from voting more than once.
'This immediately sent out a very clear message to a lot of the supporters of PAS (Parti Islam SeMalaysia) and the opposition in particular that there is going to be massive vote-rigging, so you better go out and vote,' he said. 'Perhaps, it made the pro-government supporters a bit more lax.'.
I agree with this argument. The cancellation of the use of indelible ink at the 10th hour was bad timing.
Personally, I have heard of BN party workers making statement "ini adalah operasi lah" signifying that it did not go well with party members too, who mostly wanted send a message to Abdullah to spoilt the votes.
It is bad taste to cancel when the Government claimed it met three out four of the demand made by BERSIH demonstrators in November.
The presence of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin on the campaign circuit may have also backfired.
Dr Farish said that Mr Khairy, as the Umno deputy Youth chief, is projected as a role model for young Malaysians, but he really epitomises the gap between 'rich and poor' families.
'(So), some of the PAS leaders were quite happy when Khairy came to Kelantan,' he explained.
Read my earlier posting Khairy ... His Numbered Days.
Thus, the panel yesterday agreed, the combined anger of not just the Chinese and Indians, but also the Malays, hurt the BN.
'It is quite clear it is the Malay backlash that pulled down the BN,' said Prof Shamsul.
He added that while Chinese voters are touchy about language, culture and education, Malay voters are protective of morality and Islam.
In my opinion, Abdullah's poor communicative skill and inability to restrain his cabinet members and handle the situation is the main reason that the language, culture and education including religous issue became a problem to BN. For all likelihood, Abdullah refused to acknowledge there was a problem.
'It is quite interesting that the Malays have decided that the BN is not good morally and it doesn't look after Islam, and that's why we don't want you,' he said.
Dr Farish said that the Malay Muslim electorate has rejected the concept of Islam Hadhari promoted by Datuk Seri Abdullah in 2004.
He said that ordinary Malays see Islam Hadhari as building a 'RM250 million (S$109 million) Islamic theme park', - an allusion to the extravagant Crystal Mosque in Terengganu.
He showed a photo of a poster put up by PAS outside the mosque, which read: 'Never before this has a RM250 million mosque been built only for tourists. This is Islam Hadhari.'
Another poster reminded the electorate that Umno had destroyed mosques in the past.
Dr Farish interpreted the voters' thoughts as: 'Why should we build a mosque just to attract tourists. We want it for us.'
Yet another poster, with the tagline of Islam Hadhari, highlighted the social ills that have plagued Malaysia's Malays: Mat Rempit (biker gang), teenage couples holding hands, gangsterism in school, alcohol consumption and smoking.
Islam Hadhari has been my crying call since 2005.
The root to the problem of Islam Hadhari and other policies of Abdullah is that it is mere propaganda and media spin without anything of substance to substantiate.
The problem of Abdullah has alwasy been about seliing a defective product by purely branding and rebranding other's product as his own.