SADLY, many UMNO top brass prefer to discuss party problems only within the confines of the party headquarters at PWTC. When an Umno-linked news portal, KMU.Net, organised a one-day forum discussing the March 8 general election, many top leaders chose to stay away and watch from a distance.
Some sent their representatives over, and they would later brief their bosses what transpired. Only former Selangor Menteri Besar and fellow blogger, Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, came as a panelist in the open forum. As expected, Dr Khir was asked numerous questions and often his responses were drowned by the jeering from the crowd.
It's a credit to Dr Khir for turning up. And this was after his Liaison Chief, new Minister Tan Sri Muhamad Haji Muhamad Taib, had advised him from attending. This is something many just couldn't understand. A Ketua Cawangan called me to ask if the so-called advice was true.
When told that it was, the veteran grassroot combatant said: "When will these people learn! They are still in a state of denial. They'd rather behave like an ostrich and bury their head in the sand. With this kind of attitude, forget about wanting to regain the state!"
A committee member of a division in Kuala Lumpur abided by the advice and stayed away. Later in the evening, she asked when she could get a copy of the VCD of the forum proceedings! There are many like her who are eagerly waiting for the VCD, and it's only a matter of time before they turn their backs on their leaders and continue their struggle elsewhere.
If these leaders had attended the forum, they would have seen the anger the ordinary members feel about the outcome of the election. This sense of anger and deep disappointment is not likely going to go away, and it's possible that it'll resurface at the year end general assembly. In fact, I won't be surprised if the anger will manifest itself at the branch and divisional meetings soon to take place.
Such meetings were generally routine affairs in the past, though there were instances of fisticuffs in isolated areas before. I don't think this year's meeting will be a tame affair. Let's wait and see.
It would also be interesting to see what could happen when the Gua Musang division headed by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah hold its EGM this Friday. Ku Li, who is trying to get enough support to call for a national EGM to amend the rule in the constitution governing contest for top posts, has invited other divisional heads to his big do.
I haven't heard it yet, but I expect similar advice from party headquarters to discourage other divisional heads from attending. This is one attempt of alienating Ku Li from the Umno masses. We'll know if it works in the next day or two.
While Umno leaders huddled in private meetings in their homes or offices, top leaders of the Gerakan, MCA and MIC had already initiated their own analysis of the election. Each of them are trying to determine their relevance on the national political landscape - not an easy task I can tell you!
On the day Umno top brass bury their head in the sand, the DAP, PKR and Pas sat down to announce the formation of Pakatan Rakyat, an alliance which they hope could be the foundation of an enduring pact among themselves. As of now, Pakatan Rakyat is on trial in Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor and Federal Territory.