Salam! I wrote a piece for my Sunday column which appeared in the New Sunday Times today. It carries the heading - where are the winnable candidates? It won't be easy to get them but I'm sure they are somewhere in the heap of service-minded individuals hidden behind their mountain of work and duties. The article:
MANY people, it seems, are looking for “winnable” candidates. These are individual whom political parties can put up as their candidates when the national election is called. The search for “winnable” candidates had intensified in the past week or so.
The search became a lot more urgent following speculation as to when the general election is going to be held. In Sarawak, talk of a state election is also widespread especially after Chief Minister Tan Sri Taib Mahmud said that he has got the “inspiration” when that day would be.
Sarawak has until the middle of next year to hold its state election. When Taib said he has some ideas when it would be held, the search for suitable candidates went on high gear. This search has gathered momentum especially after the Prime Minister made it clear that he is also looking for “winnable” candidates.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak last mentioned this when he spoke to Barisan National leaders at the ruling coalition’s convention held at Wisma MCA last week.
This was not the first time Najib had spoken about his quest for such candidates, having stressed the same at the Umno annual assembly held in October. He has been consistent in his demand that coalition members produce such candidates.
Perhaps, the coalition members should look for such candidates not just among the known faces among them, but also among local grassroots leaders whom voters know and respect.
Quite often, there are gems hidden way behind the scenes, working like a bee minus all the flashlights and television cameras. These leaders are the ones who make things work at the lower end of the party hierarchy.
Come to think of it, what constitute winnable candidates? If we go by the Prime Minister’s advice, these leaders must be free from four major ailments – amnesia, inertia, delusion and arrogance. These four ills were identified as reasons why long-serving political parties fell from grace and were no longer relevant.
The Prime Minister must have made known his demands clearly and loud enough for everyone to remember. One MIC leader confided: “it’s impossible to forget. The PM drove his point across to us forcefully. I can still feel the fire in his voice when he made that speech.”
The MIC wakil rakyat went on say that everyone was fired up after listening to the speech. He said: “The PM told us that serving the people should always be uppermost in our mind. (Certainly, this is one quality a winnable candidate should have).
“He also told us that no matter how busy we are with our work and other chores, we should, as we retreat into the night, think deeply how else we can make the peoples life better and more meaningful. I felt so touched by this,” he said.
His point was echoed by his MCA colleague, who said the BN chairman wanted each and every component member to undertake careful screening of potential candidates. This is important to ensure that the right person be chosen to contest.
The MCA man said: “The PM don’t want us to submit names of friends or individuals who are close to us but can’t deliver winning votes. It’s really a good advice and we should all take heed. He really wants winnable candidates.”