Tuesday, April 8, 2008

When Prime Ministers lock horns...

WHEN Prime Ministers trade barbs, even if one is no longer in office, the bruises are there for all to see. The on-going argument between Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad goes to another level after last Sunday's war of words.

Both of them had separate speaking engagements - Pak Lah at PWTC and Dr Mahathir at a hotel in Ampang. Pak Lah's do was organised by the Information Bureau of Umno and Dr Mahathir's was by an Umno branch.

The mainstream newspapers and tv networks showed the PM taking Dr Mahathir to task for various faults during his 22 years in office. Dr Mahathir, on the other side of town, continued his call for Pak Lah to step down and take responsibility for his action.

Dr Mahathir has been at Pak Lah since the latter lost five states and the two-third majority in the Dewan Rakyat following the March 8 general election. Dr Mahathir has expressed unhappiness over the erosion in credibility and control of Umno and the Barisan National in national politics, just four years after the resounding victory in 2004.

Pak Lah, hitting back at Dr Mahathir, insisted that now is not the time to speak about quitting from his job. Now is the time to close ranks and make every effort to consolidate the party and restore members' confidence. Pak Lah attributed the loss to 'saboteurs' who betrayed the party by various means.

In the midst of all this, a small town Umno Branch Chief called me and lamented that his members are clueless as to what is happening to the party whom he had supported since childhood. He said there are many others like him at the grassroot level who's confused, angry and disappointed after the poll.

His contention is simple. With all the allegations and counter allegation, someone has to be right. He is of the opinion that Umno's future will not be any brighter if party leaders ignore the plea from the grassroot that wrong strategies were the main reason for what he described as the most humiliating defeat in the party history.

Coming from a state now under the rule of Pakatan Rakyat, the branch chief has not been able to walk tall in his town after the election. His members are not regrouping, prefering instead to go their separate ways to lick their wounds.

He refused to pin the losses on Pak Lah alone, echoing the party president's statement that he can't be made to be solely responsible. The past is the past, he said, arguing that some serious and drastic solutions are needed to ensure Umno's continued relevance. Let's have some fresh ideas, and fresh leaders too.

He follows closely developments within the party, more from direct discussions with fellow grassroot leaders rather than from the mainstream newspapers. Some reports in some newspapers linked to Umno and the BN contributed to the losses, he said, asking whether would the mass media be also guilty of sabotage.

I wouldn't give too much attention to a branch chief but he was so passionate in his articulation. He said the people has spoken. He now wants his voice as an Umno member he heard, to be allowed to make a choice as to who he feels should lead the party and restore its credibility, respect and confidence.

He is sure that Pak Lah have his own band of supporters and followers, as do Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak and all the top names in the party. Rather than skirting round the bush, my friend said point blank:

"Let the members decide once and for all who should lead the party. Let there be free contests so that everyone has a say in whom they want. All this talk about quotas and call for stepping down and finger pointing are just academic. Pak Lak have his own merits, as do Ku Li and whoever else who want to join the fray.

"Let us show our BN component members and the Pakatan Rakyat that Umno is serious in wanting to reinvent itself via its own reforms."


Da Real Deal said...

Let's campaign against the re-election of the Supreme Council members who spoke in defence of Pak Lah without offering ideas on how to win back our losses other than by asking us to stand firm behind the cause of the defeat.

Also make sure those who influenced Pak lah to nominate them as candidates in places they have no business being in and lost be known and not be re-elected by the delegates. Having been born in one place doesn't mean one deserves to lead the people there if one isn't already a grassroot leader in that place. By doing so, one is denying the true leaders of that locality who've served and sacrificed much only to give way to a stranger who was by accident born there.

Anonymous said...

KU LI - becomes Umno President with the task of re-uniting Umno, which might also include kicking out cancerous characters from the party.

NAJIB - remains as deputy president but assumes the post of Prime Minister. (either Kuli or Najib could assume the BN chairmanship).

Muhyiddin (he looks thge most promising VP now (even Hisham comes into the ranks)- holds on to his VP seat while becoming Deputy Prime Minister.

This may seem far too simple, but if such an arrangement takes place and and the 'players' agree to it.... Umno might be heading in the right direction.

BUT if power, greed and all the other negative traits remains at the highes level in UMNO...then even God cant help.



Anonymous said...

Datuk AAT and commentors, please read this article


the indie story said...

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Sanusi Junid sudah bawa keluar Pedang Samurai...Haaiiittt!

Benarlah sepertimana yang tersebar diseluruh negara satu waktu dulu bahawa, dengan Pak Sanusi ini jangan dibuat main-main; kerana beliau mengamalkan semangat Bushido; yang sering dipegang oleh Samurai Berani Mati dari Negara Terbit Matahari...

Dato' Seri Sanusi Junid yang kini merangkap Presiden UIAM sememangnya ahli politik yang berani dan mempunyai prinsip kesetiaan yang tinggi kepada bekas ketuanya... Haaaittt!

Lihat sahaja keberaniannya mempertahankan Enche' Ghaffar Baba (Tun) daripada serangan bertubi-tubi media yang dikuasai oleh kem Anwar Ibrahim dan juak-juaknya, pada masa perebutan kerusi Timbalan Presiden UMNO pada tahun 1993; yang penuh berliku dan bersejarah itu.

Sanusi mengepal penumbuk berdiri teguh diatas Rostrum membela Tun Ghaffar Baba habis-habisan biarpun selepas itu beliau kalah mempertahankan kerusi Naib Presiden Tempat ke-3, yang disandangnya pada masa itu. Perhimpunan Agung, tahun 1993 menyaksikan Dato; Seri Sanusi Junid menongkah arus 'Kem Wawasan' yang dikepalai oleh Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim; yang disokong oleh juak-juaknya seperti Mike Tyson, Muhyiddin Yasin dan Rahim Tamby Chik.

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tarings said...

Salams Datuk,

Some people will never learn despite all their shortcomings being exposed.

The good ones will just own up to their mistakes and move on. Either by trying to improve on the weaknesses at hand and formulate for a better future or by leaving with their dignity intact by letting a better person do a better job.

The bad ones will always be in a state of denial and begin to shift the blame elsewhere.

If Tun Mahathir's administration was bad, aren't you supposed to correct the wrongs and paved the way for a better and more trustworthy administration the four years you were in power. If Tengku Razaleigh was the cause of the fall of Kelantan, what was the rest of UMNO leaders doing all these years, apart from enriching themselves, that is.

It'll be a grave mistake for UMNO leaders to ignore the small town branch chiefs. Or other grassroots leaders for that matter. With their knowledge of local politics, they can sway support from one to the other. Especially those unfairly labeled saboteurs when UMNO is their life. Is all they got.