GROUPS of young men and women, in twos and threes, have been going on a membership drive for Parti Keadilan Rakyat in recent weeks. An old Umno member told me that he saw these young men and women distributing forms and pamphlets at public events and functions.
Senior leaders of the MCA, MIC and Gerakan have been having small group discussions with professionals, academicians and opinion makers trying to get feedback and suggestions on how best to move forward.
After the massive defeat at the March 8 general election, the leaders realised that they better get their act together. First thing to do is to acknowledge their shortcomings and get some independent minds to identify the problems and suggest remedial measures.
The feedback centres around how voters view the BN parties. It's a perception game. The leaders were told that they were (in fact some are still) seen as arrogant, big-headed, rent seekers and very selective in their friendship. The BN were seen as insular.
The MIC, MCA and Gerakan have been having small gatherings seeking feedback and collecting data. Various reports are being compiled and some conclusions were being finalised.
As for UMNO, the party is caught in its own web of hiprocrisy and denial. Many grassroot leaders, especially at the branch levels, are still unable to explain to their members what went wrong at the pool booths.
They just couldn't explain why the party and the BN as a whole suffered such massive erosion in popular support. They couldn't explain why they were rejected. You and I may be able to do so, but grassroot Umno leaders just aren't able to shed light on the fiasco they face.
Those whom I met in recent days are even more confused at the state of the party, especially when their leaders continue to argue, disagree and do battle among themselves. Will this ever end, one branch secretary in his 30s asked.
While the young men and women of Partri Keadilan Rakyat goes on a membership drive, the young men and women of Umno are still looking for answers and guidance. Those from MIC, MCA and Gerakan are poring over datas and reports trying to piece a blueprint for the future.
One simple conclusion I make is this: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had asked Umno members to leave the party and return when its president, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has resigned. Dr Mahathir won't get his wish, but those in Umno have to deal with dispirited rank and file who are unsure of their way forward.
I wonder how many of the Keadilan forms have been distributed, filled and returned to party HQ...