An anonymous commentator here described the no contest call by several UMNO leaders for the position of President and Deputy President of UMNO as rubbish. It gives the wrong signal to UMNO members and voters.
It is as though UMNO leaders are only interested in preserving their position in the party and not it's struggle.
And, that perception have been spreading since the pathetic candidate list and later after the general election, the cabinet list that came out of the war room, UMNO headquarter and Dato Najib's office.
Do not compare to opposition parties, because the voters have a higher expectation on UMNO. BN candidates must not be just legally fine and halal, but halaalan toyyiba. Voters expect democrasy be preached and practised in UMNO.
If the President and Deputy President had served well, everybody will support them.
Since Najib had been man enough to face the rakyat and do battle with the fiesty opposition to get a new mandate for UMNO and BN, he should be man enough to face the members to affirm his mandate as party leader.
Why the silence, Najib?
Najib's Words in 2009
Najib promised reform in 2009
Blogger Life of Annie here politely expressed her disappointment should the call of no contest turned out to be true:
Well, I'm not against DS Najib Razak to continue as Umno president and prime minister.
It's just that I remember cheering for him when he announced at the first Umno general assembly after he took over as party president about five years ago that he didn't wish not to be challenged or hold any advantage if there is to be a contest for his post.
It was just after he said that Umno will be as democratic as possible with the introduction of a new voting system for the party election which was to be anchored at the grassroots level.
Yes, I remember cheering and sending a congratulatory text message to one of Datuk Najib's close aide when he said all that.
Below is an extract of Najib's maiden speech as UMNO President at the UMNO General Assembly at the Dewan Merdeka, Putra World Trade Centre in the morning of October 19th, 2009:
Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan,Was the candidate list in accordance to those state criterias or there still exist ad-hoc parachutes from above? Has UMNO open itself in the last 4 years to be more inclusive to non members; Malays and non-Malays?
69. Menuju ke arah ini, pertamanya, UMNO telah bertindak berani meminda perlembagaan parti untuk menjadikannya lebih telus, inklusif dan demokratik. Nampaknya, langkah kita telah menyebabkan pihak-pihak tertentu melatah, hingga ada yang tanpa segan silu cuba meniru dan sekonyong-konyong meminda perlembagaan parti mereka, sekalipun tanpa perincian yang rapi. Inilah tembelang, aliran dan gaya sebenar mereka, suka membuat janji umum yang tidak pula ada susulan tertentu.
70. Berbanding pindaan yang kita lakukan ini, bukan sekadar bersifat kosmetik mahu pun tempel-tempelan, sebaliknya ia merupakan perubahan secara tuntas dan signifikan. Ia akan meluaskan bilangan ahli yang terlibat sama secara langsung untuk memilih kepimpinan parti. Ia membabitkan anjakan angka daripada sejumlah 2,500 perwakilan kepada lebih 146,000 orang. Inilah petanda, bahawa semangat demokrasi hidup segar dan hidup subur dalam UMNO. Nyatanya, tidak ada mana-mana parti politik di Malaysia yang berani bertindak sedemikian rupa. Dengan itu, saya ingin mengingatkan kepada semua pihak, setelah pindaan kita lakukan, berhijrahlah meninggalkan gejala negatif seperti politik wang, supaya kita menjadi parti yang bersih dan dihormati.
71. Keduanya, berkaitan dengan cara parti memilih calon. KPI atau Petunjuk Prestasi Utama termustahak bagi sesebuah parti politik ialah untuk memenangi pilihanraya dan membentuk kerajaan yang kuat serta stabil. Dalam memenuhi maksud ini, kita perlu mencari calon yang betul. Untuk itu, kita akan mengubah kriteria menentukan calon.
72. Maknanya, dalam memilih calon, individu itu perlulah seseorang yang diterima masyarakat tempatan di samping mempunyai kualiti untuk berkhidmat kepada tiga peringkat penting, yakni, peringkat rakyat, peringkat parti dan peringkat negara. Pada analisa akhir, inilah calon yang dikehendaki rakyat dan akan memenangi pilihanraya.
73. Ketiganya, budaya berparti dalam UMNO haruslah bersifat inklusif dan bukannya insular atau, terpulau. Lebih banyak program penataran yakni harus dilaksanakan. Dalam konteks ini, seperkara yang harus diingat, ia tidak seharusnya terbatas kepada ahli UMNO semata-mata bahkan hendaklah melebarluas kepada semua orang Melayu dan bukan Melayu.
And now, we hear of a no contest call which means less transparent, less inclusive and less democratic.
Walk the Talk
|Najib's reluctant smile on victory night
However, should the President and his Deputy allowed no contest to happen, we have to remind them that the public and UMNO members on the ground will view it as a cheap attempt at self preservation of power. They matter most.
PM will be seen as not walking the talk on his own agenda transformasi. UMNO and it's leadership will be seen as not true to their words and deviate from the political transformation plan that they had plan to put in place.
In the first opportunity to implement the new system, UMNO is seen as making a concerted effort to deny a more sizeable number of it's members to exercise a right that have long been denied to all it's members in the selection of the party's leadership.
UMNO will lose the plot and locus standi to criticise any undemocratic practises of the opposition, particularly DAP and PKR.
Since Dato Mohamed Hasan of Negeri Sembilan made the no contest statement, many such as Dato Mukhriz, Khairy Jamaluddin, Dato Razali Ibrahim and others have echoed the same.
But, there is no attempt by the UMNO President to stop this "rubbish." Has he not shake off that 11th hour decision making habit?
Or he is allowing the no contest call to gain momentum and reach the grassroots?
Another perception that will arise from this no contest call is that the President is insecure of his position. It will be seen that he has no confidence with his adviser-generated policies that he dare not face members.
We view the contest will dispell such perception and also the perception that he was willing to sacrifice the party from a larger victory in order to preserve himself. There is a widespread view in the party that the generally unacceptable "winnable" candidate list was to preserve PM's position in the party.
While there are many parties that had prepared candidate lists, including the BN Chairman, component party Presidents, UMNO Secretary General and War Room, the decision sits with Najib.
After election, sources claimed that PM's leading advisers, Dato Alies Nor and Dato Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis of the war room fame had urged Najib to select cabinet members that would fortify his position in the party.
It is heard that war room was partly responsible to recommend the latest cabinet appointments with it's ridiculous mathematics.
It explains for the presence of tarnished, expired and overstayed names like Dato Shahidan Kassim, Dato Mahadzir Khalid, Tengku Dato Adnan Tengku Mansor, Dato Nazri, etc. There is also questionable appointments like Dato Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis as Special Adviser and Tan Sri Nor Moahamed Yakcop as Deputy Chairman of Khazanah.
Basically, there are the presence of many state political warlords and operators to preserve PM. Words are the present cabinet is temporary and the real team will be after the November party election.
Again, the cabinet membership is the prerogative of Najib.
All these talk does not make good sense because the affair of the party should be independent from the affairs of getting re-elected and governing. If true, it only provide further basis that Najib should distance himself from these advisers or else his ability to make decision is suspect.
Part of the reason for the new system is also to eradicate money politics using the process of democrasy.
It is our belief that money politics is intertwined with Malay feudalism. Thus, we welcome a contest because it is in the right direction to end the imbedded culture of feudalism in UMNO and Malay society.
Sociologists have long viewed past Malay court behaviour as sadistic and it arise from the practise of blind loyalty.
The feudal chief to serf relationship of provider and benefactor still remain till today. That dependent psychology is a mental block and hindrance to Malay progress. [Read our past posting in 2008 here.]
Maybe we are socialistic. So what? Aren't we hearing lots of bandying of the term rakyat these days?
From our ground analysis, Najib should not have any problem to get re-elected, thus he should not feel insecure. He has got several states in his hand and it should thwart off any attempt to dethrone him.
Those reluctant to see a contest, including those mentioned leaders, are worried that a tight race in the party will be bad for the party. Where are their senses?
If PM can be so open and receptive to the onslaught from the opposition, in which there are reasons to believe that they are backed by western powers, and won convincingly, why should he be so insecure with his own party members?
So what if there is another Sulaiman Palestin to surface and mount a challenge or a token challenge to deliver a message?
It is good feedback to the populist strategies he had adopted. At least, PM can gauge and see for himself the quantifiable KPI of acceptability with UMNO members for the policies of Omar Ong's Ethos Consulting and associate, McKenzie & Associates.
If we are Najib's Penasihat, we would advise him to contest because he will come out stronger after many baptism of fire. Tun Dr Mahathir went through many challenges. Hopefully one day, Najib will be acknowledged by historian and academics as a social liberator.
This is the new millenium and an open Malaysia could not accept undemocratic practises of the past. Like it or not, the decision today will build up towards the perception and poll results for 2018.