By Ariff Sabri, Raub MP
Why are we not surprised at the issues raised at the UMNO general assembly? Every single nondescript delegate wishing to make a name for him or herself will talk about the threats to special Malay rights, the Malay religion, and the Malay monarchy?Even Khairy Jamaluddin, the bright star in UMNO, young, arrogant and naturally despised by the UMNO leadership.
Why is it, we are asked to go for each other’s throat, but the leaders of UMNO go to bed with Chinese and to a lesser extent the Indians? All their business partners are non Malays- but the lumpen-proletariat and the proletariat are enraged to kill one another?
Organisations like Perkasa and Isma and other right wing groups are doing nothing but the bidding of the elite Malay bourgeoisie speaking from the rostrums and the state beseeching others to hate each other.
We take note of these war-drum beatings but then we should not be unduly alarmed. The UMNO assembly is an orgy of rhetoric making. The sirens are having a jolly good time. Come evening time, the puteri and even the wanita members, away from the spouses for a period of 3-4 days, get into their amorous clothing and seek out the forbidden pleasures which the freedom of KL has to offer.
What were spoken just a few hours earlier are drowned in the din of dangdut music, the hopes and fears of the Malays so ferociously spoken during the day, evaporate into the heat of the night .
These are nothing but excuses which UMNO uses to hide their incompetence, greed and thievery. It is always Malays are under threat, their rights are questioned, Islam is under siege and the Malay monarchy is vilified.
None of these are taking place except in the beleaguered and devious minds of UMNO people, embellished and amplified wildly by the media under UMNO’s control. Malay special rights are protected by the constitution and by the sheer force of Malay demography. It’s impossible for any ruling government to ignore the Malay factor unless the government we voted in practises apartheid. That is impossible given that every centre of power is controlled by UMNO.
How does changing the name of roads and streets improved the value of our currency? It’s now RM2.50 to the Singapore Dollar and will soon touch 3 Ringgit to the Dollar. Our southern neighbour which the UMNO people so violently hate is a favourite destination to which they travel to go shipping with their girlfriends and artist mistresses. But this is the country that Lee Kuan Yew, the Chinese thug built isnt it?
How does talking about the treats to the Malays better the economy of the country and improve our country’s credibility?
They cannot be made better because we lack the most important factor in nation building- Good Leadership, good government, and the rule of law.
The warnings of Dr Mahathir must be heeded. This country is suffering from the most debilitating deficit of all- leadership. The country is rudderless.
In terms of foreign policy, Malaysia has faded into less significance. Indonesia under Jokowi is emerging as a dominant force from South East Asia. Indonesia, not our Malaysia under insouciant Najib, looks as the likeliest candidate to emerge as a powerful force influencing geo-politics. Malaysia was noticeable only when Mahathir was PM. That was entirely due to leadership factor.
Domestic policies too are also f**ked up. Despite the pronouncements by the country’s leaders that the economy is good, the reality is different. The elects of such good sounding announcements are not felt across the country. Inequality in income and uneven distribution of wealth and unequal access to wealth creating resources remains a crucial problem. And this what the UMNO irritators and tub-thumpers fear most- that the threats to the Malays stem from UMNO’s incompetence and larceny.
The GINI coefficient which measures inequality remains above 0.4 which is considerably high. Relations between racial groups are being threatened by weak leadership allowing unelected groups to raise tempers and volatility.
Dr Mahathir should know one thing or two about leadership. He was our PM for 22 years and despite the moniker of dictatorship hanging around his neck, lack of leadership and decisiveness in dealings with issues isn’t one of them. Najib on the other hand, has indeed transformed into the insouciant leader that he actually is. Good in making thundering fury, but producing little rain.
It’s about UMNO warlord structure where talent is side-lined in preference to sycophantic mediocrity. This kind of arrangement, convenient to the top leadership, is pervasive. It is reflected in the quality of the BN backbenchers in parliament. The most vocal are the empty tin-cans. The ones with more substance are usually the reflective types not easily given to cantankerous outbursts.
It has led to the leadership structure in UMNO at all levels to be dominated by mediocre leaders- the bank jagas and school gardener types. This is the party that wants to lead Malays to the level of supra excellence. God help us all.
The other favourite object of Dr Mahathir’s criticism is also my favourite- pointing out the mediocrity of Najib’s leadership. I hope I don’t sound boastful- but other than Jamaludin Jarjis and the MP from Paya Besar- I know Najib better than all the other MPs. He is the insouciant leader, the political invertebrate boastful in front of expecting kampong people but mousy in front of a critical and questioning crowd.
But today I am not going to write about Najib’s mis-leadership. There is plenty of time for that. In any case, open criticisms from the man who can walk on water are sufficiently damaging for Najib. He would not know what to do other than falling back on Musa Hitam seeking advice on how to deal with Mahathir.
Let us talk how weak leadership and UMNO’s dismissive attitude has not helped out Malays. Let’s give the shout-boys something to actually shout out loud.
There are about 138 members of one Persauan Sahabat Karib in Raub who have turned out successful in life. All are Chinese. They owned lands, businesses and as a result of their industry, have become relatively wealthy. They are orchard owners, palm oil planters, livestock breeders, fruit growers who don’t depend on any Pertubuhan Peladang, or any intermediary channels. They struck on their own after being given the initial impetus.
The Malay government gave them land or they obtained titles on land they farmed illegally initially. Persatuan Sahabat Karib is an association of former communist terrorists who have surrendered and adopted civilian life. Most of them worked hard, carved out a living for themselves through sheer personal industry and sacrifices and mutual assistance among kindred souls.
I find dealing with them very easy because they are ideologically inclined. By that I mean, it is natural for them to be on the side of those who fight for justice, democracy and decency.
On the other hand our Malay ex-servicemen who fought against communists, lost limbs are like destitutes holding out supplicant hands begging for help; all they want is maybe 1-2 acres of land, food trucks, a little initial capital and business premises. Ex-communists enjoy a better life than these ex-servicemen.
Why have they become like this? Because the UMNO leaders who sit in the local councils and in land appropriation committees and in development committees are busy allocating wealth creating resources among UMNO members only. 100 ex-servicemen have to fight it out to get 5 business premises while premises given to UMNO members are never used for its intended purpose but turned into dwellings. Land allocation to ex-servicemen and other Malays are also difficult.
In Raub, the typical response by UMNO ADUNs to applicants is- go to your MP- see if he can help you get the land.
Come, join me we demonstrate on the Raub padang demanding land, capital and business premises. Come ye severed-limb masses, land-hungry people, dismissed and side-lined- come let us rock the boat.
Who is role model? Not Chairman Mao or Guevara or Castro or Ben Laden- but Muhammad , our prophet. We must inspire ourselves with an irrepressible sense of justice, we must refuse to kowtow to intermediaries and we challenge the power structure of any local councils, district offices or even the state.
Just ignore the empty cans now shouting themselves course at the UMNO assembly.It just an assembly of in-heat sirens.
*The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of The Rocket