Tuesday 27 November 2012

What more does Umno want? — Shanker

Yesterday, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad asked the question: “What more reforms do Malaysians want? You tell us...”

I think if he cared to read through the response by most commentators, he would get a pretty decent idea of what it is that he needs to “convey to the prime minister”. Well Tun, I hope that — now that you know — you could give the rakyat an early Christmas cheer perhaps?

And oh yes — a very big thank you too for allowing the rakyat to perform lion dances and for giving money to churches! That is your concept of “reform”; in Umno’s mind the rakyat needs to be grateful for what is already rightfully theirs to begin with! But perhaps a more pertinent question to ask is, what more does he and Umno want from Malaysians?

The rakyat gave Umno and company the mandate to govern this nation for 55 years. And the underlying conclusion derived with regards to those years is that they have failed in more ways than one at governance.

I need not detail the measure of Umno’s failures; why, just read that excellent book penned by Barry Wain on the wastages and leakages that were a hallmark of the rule of one maverick Malaysian politician — and we get dreadful insights into how much of our future has been swept away by the tide of corruption.

An operative word globally these days is change. We now live in a world that wants change faster than politicians can carry out reforms. Against that undercurrent of change, Malaysians are demanding that its politicians measure up to the responsibilities of their office.

But alas! For in spite of all of our pleadings for change, at best what Umno and company have given Malaysians are nothing more than cosmetic tinkering of a system that is dangerously edging towards socio-political distress as a result of corruption.

You don’t apply band-aids to treat cancer cells; but that is precisely what the Najib administration has done by enacting Acts and laws that were supposedly put in place to usher in a new era, in attempting to do away with existing laws such as the Internal Security Act. But once we sift through the technical and legal jargon, there is hardly any doubt in most people’s minds that the Executive still wields overriding influence over government agencies.

Umno hasn’t changed — period. How do I ascertain that?
“Protocol dictates that the prime minister’s car should leave first… (but) Najib often whispers to his staff to make sure that Dr Mahathir’s car drives first when the event finishes.”

“Najib left his Hari Raya open house lunch to escort Dr Mahathir.”

“Najib personally sends (Dr Mahathir) down to his car.”

Certainly there is nothing wrong in offering respect to our seniors, but I really wonder, is this all about showing respect, or is it about pandering to the feudal system that is so inherent in Umno?

I am tempted to think it is the latter, because I don’t ever recall Joceline writing of Najib treating Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in a similar fashion!

But that is why we need change. Because it appears — at least from Joceline’s “insider” observations — that old-style feudal politics still remains very much the order of the day in Umno. And this despite Najib’s plea for us to note Umno has “changed”.

So do you now see why we still need to pursue reform?

Because the old boys are still kingmakers inside Umno and — by extension — this country. We really do not have an independent anything. The Judiciary, the MACC, the police, the EC — you name it; none of our critical agencies is absolutely independent from Umno.

In conclusion Tun, I for one would like to see that we do not give Mr Wain an opportunity to write a sequel to his book, especially if that is derived from Umno’s continued governance of this nation in status quo, and thereby compounding our woes.

Don’t you?

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