Saturday, March 22, 2008


One of the many reasons why Malays are feeling tired with UMNO and have turned elsewhere in search of an alternative party that also represents the Malays and Islam is because many UMNO leaders tend to insult their intelligence by not pausing to think before they speak in response to reporters, whose main aim is to pit one UMNO leader against another just to acquire cheap publicity and news. These same leaders also say one thing while blatantly exhibiting the contrary, in the same interview. Some also make the most illogical statements thinking the Malays watching are silly enough to absorb whatever they say without processing it. Let me justify my comment.

While we flip the TV channel away from the loud mouthed Melodi host from TV3, we pause and pay attention when UMNO leaders make press conferences thinking that there are important messages for the grassroots. Last night, little did we realize when we watched yet another press conference by the recently dropped Wanita leader and her deputy, that they would behave not unlike the TV host from Melodi, instead of showing class, finesse and strong leadership of the likes of Tun Fatimah Hashim and Tan Sri Aishah Ghani, the Wanita leaders of the past.

Emotions were running high in the press conference and despite the many microphones placed on the table in front of them, they were speaking loudly, insinuating that there are outsiders trying to break them up, evidently displacing their disappointment and clearly trying hard to hide their contempt for the Prime Minister’s decision of not appointing anyone from the Wanita Exco to the Cabinet.

While asking all the UMNO members to come and ”gel” the party together and “not have factions within the party”, Rafidah and her gang showed strong animosity towards Azalina Othman, a second term Cabinet Minister who is an UMNO member and is a woman by gender but not quite accepted to represent the wing.

This is clearly an instance where emotions spoke without the benefit of intellect and the hypocrisy was shown on TV and felt by the viewers. The hypocrisy is in the call for the grassroots to mend their ways to heal the party yet the bigwigs in the party are openly showing contempt for each other. This is what makes the Malays sick to the bone.

I used the word “gang” two paragraphs above because it seems like the Wanita is creating a party within a party and the leadership of the wing is using this and their membership numbers to extort the top leadership with many demands, often reminding everyone of their strength.

Sharizat said “ We have one common struggle. No one should underestimate the spirit of Wanita UMNO. Please remember we will rise again.”

No one here is underestimating their spirit, and the wing has not fallen from grace just because their leader is not in the Cabinet. If Wanita is a wing representing the gender, then there is a very capable Minister in Azalina and, although Sharizat didn’t win in the last elections, she still carries Ministerial status and is an Advisor to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister decided to field new faces. I’m sure the Wanita wing that is 1.3 million strong which includes Azalina has equally if not more capable leaders to allow Rafidah to rest from the Cabinet after 20 odd years. There are 1.3 million members to choose from for heaven’s sake.

Had Noraesah or Sharizat won their seats, we would be very surprised if they were not appointed full ministers. How many of the current EXCO members won their seats and of the few, how many are academically qualified and have good command in the Malay and English languages? A Ministerial post is not quite the same with a State Executive Councilor’s post, if they are considering the lady from Johor, because it is more universal and the one offering stewardship must be of the same caliber of Rafidah, Sharizat or Noreasah. By looking at those behind Rafidah last night, I’d say the Prime Minister made the right decision.

It is time for the elders to start grooming the young and qualified to replace them so that they won’t have to hog the position for decades.

UMNO Leaders should also refrain from commenting on issues brought to them by reporters which they have no inkling of. For instance, they shouldn’t dismiss Tengku Razaleigh’s effort to call on everyone to discuss the issues without carefully giving it enough thought, or even viewing his full press conference. Dismissing people is easy. Even my 10 year old can do it. More importantly do they have a better plan or do they just know how to make passive comments about their peers in the same Party as though they are wiser? It’s alright to dismiss one’s effort if an alternative one of a better scale is put in its place. These people would have more respect from us than the pessimist within our leadership.

One statement that defies logic was uttered by the Youth Chief, that this time is “unsuitable” and not “conducive ” for anyone to offer himself to change the leadership. Now, I’m NOT saying that we need a leadership change here but I’m just challenging Hishammuddin’s statement for clarification. The party just lost 5 States and 10 out of the 11 Parliamentary seats in the Federal Territory. This is undoubtedly the worst record in the history of Barisan Nasional. Despite the strong feeling amongst the UMNO Supreme Council, everything is not hunky dory within the party on the ground. Now, thinking with a clear and lucid mind, would this be a good time to make a change or would it be easier to do so when we command 90% of Parliament, recapture all the lost States and have the UMNO party at its strongest? Logic would dictate that under no circumstances should the party leadership be changed when we are at our strongest position. It would be political suicide for the challenger.

Again, not well thought of comments such as these from second line leaders pisses off the well informed Malays of today because they simply won’t swallow the verbal diarrhea that comes from these people.

Leaders should just remember that we have constitutions i.e. Federal Constitution for Malaysia and the UMNO Constitution for the Party etc. Let’s just follow them and refrain from forming unnecessary and silly opinions. One doesn’t have to speak just because reporters stick a microphone near one’s mouth. More often than not reporters start instigating by spinning the question to draw an angry remark and true enough, one says something unintelligent feeding them with more ammunition to instigate the original source with one’s response. For example: Tengku Razaleigh didn’t hold a press conference to announce his bid for the Presidency but to explain about the widely circulated letter to all the branch leaders. He was however asked by one reporter if he would contest for the President’s post. His response was he would only if the members wanted him to and if he had enough support. Even he didn’t think it was an easy achievement. Now having heard that, the reporters itched to reach other leaders within the party to spin the question and put it like this; ” Dato’, what are your comments on Tengku Razaleigh’s announcement that he is challenging Pak Lah for UMNO President?” (Making it sound like the Press conference was solely to launch his challenge for the seat). Why do these overzealous second-liners in UMNO always fall into the reporters trap like this? I would have thought those whom I voted in to lead were intelligent enough not to be manipulated by the media and stacked against each other like clowns. Pak Lah has more sense when dealing with these culprits; either dismiss them or be short and sassy.

Coming back to Tengku Razaleigh’s suggestion, since it is not seen or felt like the members of the UMNO Supreme Council is assisting the President in solving the issue at hand facing the party, he has called UMNO members to seek an EGM to frankly discuss the problems we faced in the recent elections as provided for in the UMNO constitution.. It may be supported by the grassroots, but if an affirmative action plan is seen initiated by the Supreme Council, the grassroots might just reject Tengku Razaleigh’s suggestion. Members can think, weigh the consequences and decide wisely for themselves without having to be told what to do by people with vested interests at the top.

Similarly, his offer to stand in the election for President of UMNO should not be over-killed to the extent that people support him not because they believe in him but out of spite for the second-liners who are overzealous in showing their support for the incumbent. Why the much hue and cry over such an offer which is provided for in the Constitution? Why do people have to form an opinion on it other than say it is his right and wish him good luck in getting the 58 nominations to qualify? He has offered himself before but only managed one nomination. The members are matured enough to make the right decision without being treated like children.
The more sensible voices amongst the second line UMNO leaders came from Khaled Nordin and Muhyiddin Yassin. The Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin said today that Tengku Razaleigh has every right to offer himself for the post of UMNO President and members have the same rights to reject him too. "That is his right. If the members do not support him, that is also their right," said the Johor UMNO Liaison Committee Deputy Chairman after attending a meeting with branch leaders of the Pasir Gudang division.

UMNO Vice President and new Minister for International Trade and Industries Muhyiddin Yassin also didn’t object outright to Tengku Razaleigh’s suggestion for the EGM. "Please ensure that whatever action we take will not weaken the party. If it can strengthen the party, then we cannot prevent it. "It's up to Ku Li (Tengku Razaleigh). As a member of the UMNO Supreme Council, I believe in the party constitution. He is free to do what he likes as long as it is not against the constitution," he said.

Those who are quick to jump to the microphone every time a reporter shows up should learn from these two leaders on how to address the media.


Da Real Deal said...

Congratulations on the creation of your blog bro! The Patriot is fitting for a straight talker like you.

TPJ said...

Thank you for your posting. Hope to get more views from you in the future. Interesting times ahead.