Tuesday, April 1, 2008

RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP BY EXAMPLE

The General Elections have passed and we’ve witnessed the worst winning record Barisan Nasional has ever scored in the history of this country. Contrary to general consensus, we didn’t lose the elections, we only lost 5 States and 10 out 11 Parliamentary seats in the Federal Territory.

Naturally, in such shocking circumstances (by BN standards), everyone’s crying for blood in the political sense. It burns the blood even more when everyone down to the grassroots are asked by the members of the UMNO Supreme Council to look upon themselves to self-criticize, evidently to distract the nation from their hand in this widely uncelebrated victory.

Besides a very small number of “straight from the hip shooters” like Shahrir Samad and Zaid Ibrahim, (who have been appointed ministers leaving there a smaller number yet of straight shooters among the members) a larger number of officials in this beloved party of ours prefer to remain quiet and is only seen to come out fighting not in the name of God or the Party but to defend our leader. What they fail to realize is that if they took personal responsibility for the sake of the party on a collective decision made based on their reports, the President wouldn’t have to be defended as those more directly responsible would have cushioned the deep impact that came with the worst winning record for the Barisan in 50 years.

I personally take umbrage on behalf of the thousands in my division whom I have witnessed work tirelessly to maintain the comfortable hold that UMNO has in our constituency , to the fact that WE are asked upon by esteemed members of the Supreme Council to self criticize and look at our own mistakes ( that is my understanding of “muhasabah diri”). The grassroots in UMNO are like "the forward pack" while the leaders are like the backs in rugby. The “forwards” work like cows to win the ball only for the "backs" to score and take all the glory. It is usually the forwards who come out ugly and dirty while the backs sometime come out of the game with minimal dirt on their shirts with lovely companions at the party afterwards.

Why should the members below have to look within themselves for fault when year in and year out at the branch and divisional delegates meetings, they have identified through their motions the problems being faced within their respective communities? In addition, in the meetings they also expressed their fears and even identified the problems they would face in their respective branches come election time. Have those at the UMNO house in PWTC taken their fears seriously?

The government has a good number of intelligence sources all over the country. I know in my division alone we have these officers who interview people in villages and parks and take notes to file reports. Many of these agencies exist to check on the general sentiments on the ground and send these reports to the top echelon at state and federal levels. They also check up on possible candidates to ensure that they are well screened and squeaky clean. This is not an advantage that is enjoyed by the opposition. So, with the reports from the thousands of UMNO branches and the advantage of having these government agencies serving the leaders, shouldn’t they be in a position to make the best possible decisions in relation to the general elections?

I ask again, why should we on the ground be asked to self criticize when we have been providing the true picture and statistics to the top? We don’t make the decisions, the Supreme Council does and if this is the result, I’m beginning to wonder what usually transpires in that august meeting room weekly. Do all these people speak the truth to our President, or do they even speak? I’m told of at least one person in there who has not spoken once since holding office by virtue of a quota from one of the wings. Do we need passengers in the Supreme Council? The wings are already represented by their respective leaders in there, why add more representatives if they can’t give good input to the leadership?

I would like to shorten your misery reading this article by sincerely congratulating Dr Khir Toyo for taking the bold (because it is almost never done in our form of politics) and responsible step of withdrawing from holding the office as Chairman of the Selangor Barisan Nasional and Selangor UMNO Liaison Committee. This is indeed a handsome gesture showing responsible leadership that needs to be emulated by his peers that suffered the same hand in the last General Elections. A leader taking responsibility is indeed a rare breed in Malaysia. Very seldom one owns up until he is truly exposed as we’ve seen in many cases before.

Dr Khir’s action displays his respect and love for the party and even more, his sincere respect and support for the President and Prime Minister. If the other Menteris Besar and State Liaison Chiefs had taken full responsibility for their losses in their respective states, the Prime Minister wouldn’t have been under much pressure to resign. Did they hand in their reports to the Supreme Council before the PM announced the dissolution of Parliament? Did they run a mock run of the elections in their States? Who were their sample voters? What were the results?


Those members of the Supreme Council from Vice President downwards would have defended the President more accurately had they collectively called for the resignation of the State Liaison Chiefs that lost BN’s control in their respective states instead of hanging on to the age old Malay cliché of “ Ini bukan masanya untuk menuding jari”, and asking us to “muhasabah diri”. The former is usually employed to absolve those saying it from any responsibility. The selfishness of the losing State Liaison Committee Chiefs and their fake support for our President is evident in the absence of responsibility being taken. I ask these Malay leaders who so loosely use this cliché, when is it ok for the mass to point their fingers? There is a strong contradiction in their call. What is the point of holding postmortems if you do not intend to point the finger on the causes of the defeats in these states?

The Prime Minister is not totally responsible for the defeat. This is debatable but I can swallow it. What I cannot accept is that none of those more directly responsible for the State defeats barring the good Dr Khir Toyo is stepping up to take full responsibility for the defeats. The Supreme Council has also failed to pressure them to this end. The Prime Minister is sincere in wanting to instill integrity in the running of this great Nation. It is sad to see that very few of those whom he has entrusted in UMNO are willing to carry out his pure aspirations. I strongly urge those Members of the Supreme Council who have failed to speak the sincere truth and assist the President accordingly in the management of UMNO and the country, to withdraw from contesting in the coming UMNO elections. The UMNO delegates are well informed today and I’m sure they will make the right choices.

As it is the will of God that disposes while men proposes, as a practicing Muslim, I surrender my arguments but all things being equal, leaders have to take some responsibility and not blame God for their actions.

Dr Khir Toyo has shown great strength in taking responsibility and putting UMNO above self interest. Let us hope the same light is shown upon the State Liaison Chiefs of UMNO Kedah, Perak and Kelantan. Let us see if they are sincere supporters of YAB Datuk Seri Abdullah Hj Ahmad Badawi.

Finally, I read a few days ago a comment by a leader that “for a person to ask someone to step down he must first have some credibility. I put it to him if he is reading, what political credibility will we all have if UMNO is no longer deemed relevant amongst the Malays?

3 comments:

DalieY said...

Quoting Adibah Amin"My King, your claim to my total allegiance is not based on genealogical myth or divine right or the super natural sanction of daulat or super qualities. As a modern Malaysian I know that the blood in your vein is neither white nor blue but red like mine. But I do pay obeisance and I pledge undivided loyalty, for you are the symbol of my people's unity and my country's sovereignty."

Huh...
I am a very patriotic Malaysian. Syukur I keep telling myself I was born Malaysian. Country, no doubt! But King???

TPJ said...

Daliey, quoting Hang Jebat, "Raja yang adil di sembah, Raja yang zalim di sanggah".

These days it also applies to government leaders, some of whom live better than Kings.

May God protect the righteous amongst us for the good of the Country.

Anonymous said...

Assalmualaikum Warahmatullah TPJ

I finally managed too figure out how to post my comments in a blog. Forgive me for still being in that Jurassic age.

I found your comments sincere, bold and brave. In fact Your comments represent many of the not so bold leaders thoughts on the sorry state of affairs they face.

Congratulations and keep up the good work and God Willing (Insyaallah) the effort would aptly rewarded by the improvemtns we are sorely wish.


Regards
The humble servant