Monday, September 23, 2013

Contesting KJ

Bertanding salah, tak bertanding tak kena...

The Star reported that "Anyone but Khairy rumblings is catching on",

"PETALING JAYA: Even before the campaign trail heats up in the run-up to the Umno election, whispers are on the ground to support “anyone but Khairy Jamaluddin” (ABKJ) to head the Youth wing.
The incumbent is facing four challengers for the pivotal spot, seen by many as a growing attempt to deny him a second term.
The four bidding to unseat Khairy include Bendang Baru Umno Youth chief Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah Sanusi, 39, the son of former Cabinet member and ex-Kedah mentri besar Tan Sri Sanusi Junid.
The others are former Merbok Umno Youth chief Abdul Karim Ali, 49; Pusat Bandar Taman Chempaka Umno Youth branch assistant secretary Syed Rosli Syed Harman Jamallulail, 37; and Bukit Setiawangsa Umno Youth chief Irwan Ambak Khalid Izhar, 37.
Abdul Karim said the rumblings did not come as a surprise which, he added, could have far-reaching implications on the outcome of the Umno Youth election.
“This time around, the ground opinion and perception could not be ignored as more grassroots leaders have been given the power to vote under the party’s transformation plan,” he said, referring to the potential 70,000 Youth members who are eligible to cast their votes this time around.
Abdul Karim, a civil engineer, added: “We should not undermine the intelligence of the grassroots members.”

No problem with the contest, but what are the candidates bringing to the table?? I mean let's get rid of the rhetoric and innuendos, wishy washy I am not corrupt etc. We need the a brave and intelligent youth leader and it would help us if there are:
1. Clear, detailed outline of what each candidate stands for (posted on thier blog maybe and open for comments).
2. Public debate between the four candidates. If you cannot handle the limelight, you cannot handle the leadership.

 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

On KJ

I had read the interview given by KJ in the New Straits Times.  It was about this upcoming contest and his future plan for UMNO youth. Read more: Khairy shares future vision, mission on Umno Youth - Latest - New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/latest/khairy-shares-future-vision-mission-on-umno-youth-1.360996#ixzz2fbJSSXq7"

I must make a disclaimer first. I do not know KJ except for what transpired in the newpaper,s blogs and desas desus - so I will try to refrain to comment on him as a person. Akhram on the other hand is a little bit (very little) familiar to me because we went to UK to study together under the same program, but that was a long time ago. Nonetheless, as he is a bit more familiar, I might unknowingly be favorably bias toward him.

Back to KJ and his interview (I am still waiting for Akhram to give me an answer on what is his definition of the "Malay Agenda"). Here are my thoughts:

1. KJ seems to be be systematic and professional in finding out his chances and the real balance of sentiments in the grassroots. He might, as many claimed, be detached from the grassroots for living abroad for so long. However, he seems to have employed enough people who are attached to the grassroots to give him the stats and sentiments. Therefore, anyone banking on this 'detachment' to be his weakness are in for a sore surprise - at least in terms of winning the contest.

2. I don't agree with his view that  "If Umno is out of touch with the Malays, definitely Umno would not have won more seats in GE13 and definitely more Malays would have crossed over to the opposition.
UMNO won more seats, in my opinion, because of Malays who does not agree with the leaders in UMNO but feels that they must go home, vote and lobby for UMNO to make sure that the Malays are still in power; not necessarily to support the UMNO leaders but because the Malay power base is seemed set to fail if they don't throw in for support. I am one of them. But this is a one-time offer so that we hope UMNO can realign itself soon.
3. KJ seemed to be playing the correct political play and strategy. For a guy with such upbringing, he has the capability to be radical and unorthodox, a one-man force of change. However, he appears, to me, as just doing the right political thing - siding with Najib on Mahathir's view on UMNO, item 2 above, etc.

On the whole, I think it would be a really tough fight to unseat KJ, not because he does not have any flaw, but because he is too darn intelligent. Akhram and the rest need to out-intelligent him to win (okay, I can use the word outsmart, but what the hey...its my blog :-))

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

UMNO-C: United Malays say NO to Corruption

There was a time when there were Team A and Team B in UMNO, or UMNO-A and UMNO-B.

Now it is time for UMNO-C : United Malays say NO to Corruption.

There has been much talk about rebranding umno, renaming UMNO and what not.  To be progressive, to be modern and to be relevant. In my view, the best re branding for UMNO is to go back to history and take from one of Tun Mahathir's original ideas: Bersih, Cekap dan Amanah.

Clean, Competent and Trustworthy.

Of the three characteristics above, the last one is the most important one. UMNO must be trustworthy and be seen trustworthy. And the way to get there is to be clean and competent.

UMNO members must start to realise that being clean, within itself and with others, is  not only the key to success, but the key to survival. Islam abhors corruption and whoever that spreads corruption on this face of the earth. It is the religion of the vast majority of UMNO members, we all know that. But now we all have to embrace this abhorrence to corruption wholeheartedly.

The (awkward) truth is, us (non political, normal, middle class) Malays have heard of this supposedly (coz we don't have the evidence) corruption, wastage and incompetence. One cannot be deaf to the fact that cost overruns into hundreds of millions screams corruption and/or incompetence. One cannot deny that there has been talks of this is a particular ministers' project or this belongs to this political party.

But to a large extent, another awkward truth is that some of us Malays (myself included) indirectly condoned this despicable act by keeping silent. Why? Because we believe that UMNO is the real power base that could actually protect and develop Malays and Muslims.The last bastion for the Malays. We do not have the same trust with PAS and PKR, let alone DAP.

We all hate the corruptions with all our might, it kills us inside, it brings us shame, it makes me so frustrated that i can feel it in every one of my veins. Yet we bite the bullet and kept our mouth shut, thinking that the 'greater good of UMNO remaining in power' would outweigh this misdemeanor, that UMNO will keep the Malays educated, will promote the ability of the Malays to generate wealth and to provide a peaceful place for all to live in. 

But we cannot keep silent anymore. Firstly it never justified the 'greater good' and secondly, UMNO seemed to have lost so much focus that there is no more 'greater good' for the Malays. Making our children more educated (by putting an obstacle of learning math and science) in English was abandoned on the fear of political fallout. Why are we so afraid to put (managed) obstacles for our children so that they would know how to overcome them, a skill that would prove invaluable in the long run, when they grow up and face the world on their own. There have been many more examples of 'greater bad' like this.

We, as Malays in UMNO, as Muslims must stand UNITED to fight corruption. Within ourselves and within others. We must not be afraid to voice of disgust and contempt of corruption. We must be able to say that we love you, but we are not going to let you get away with this - for our greater good. I will fight to keep this racial if it means that Malay will be known as a race that has a culture that abhors corruption.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Di Atas Pagar No More

We have just concluded our election, the PRU13, and I had traveled 500 km to cast my vote. And since I have made my choice, I cannot claim to be a fence sitter anymore. I have made my choice, gotten off the fence.

Alhamdullilah, everything went well. The dude I voted for lost but all is well. But nothing is well for UMNO.

Some say, and I tend to believe, that UMNO was saved by some of the educated right wing Malays that has been passive all this while. These Malays are just as educated (as the ones claimed to support the Opposition), hates corruption and nepotism BUT above all else, the CARE PASSIONATELY about the fate of the Muslims and Malays in general.

These group of Malays are thinkers, most a product of NEP in terms of education opportunity, not contracts/handouts; But have been outside the system all this while with the belief that UMNO can take care of itself (and to a certain extent the Malays).

These group of Malays in not racist in the sense that they envy or wants to take the wealth of non-Malays but want to see that the Muslims and Malays are not openly or discreetly oppressed / discriminated now and in the future.

They do not yet have trust that DAP and/or PKR would give the same care to the Muslims and the Malays or that PAS would have the wisdom, clout, strength and willpower to reign in the other two to ensure the wellbeing and development of the Muslims and Malays.

I admit, that in the last election, I was one of them. I do not envy the Chinese for their wealth as they have worked hard for it. They deserve to get whatever they worked for, every single sen. YTL and Genting can prosper as much as they want. I see that DAP (actually MCA too) is doing a great job at championing and ensuring that. But I just can't see them championing for the people that are close to my heart.

UMNO is nothing near perfect, nowhere close to free of corruption. It has been lost in the sea of wealth, some of its members may have been blinded by power and consumed by greed. To say that UMNO has lost its purpose is an understatement; or rather a misstatement. To me, UMNO had not lost its purpose, its is  just that the leaders failed to pursue it.

UMNO needs to pursue its purpose again

UMNO's fight must not be a fight to retain ruling power per se. UMNO has been shouting that Malays need to keep UMNO in power, but for what?

UMNO has a purpose (same like PAS) which is lofty and noble: ultimately for the betterment of the Malay (Muslim for PAS). But the actions of UMNO have been nothing but for the betterment of the upper echelons of its leadership. We can see this. We are not blind to this anymore.  UMNO is supposed to be a power base to direct change for the betterment of the Malays and Bumiputeras; but what we see is that UMNO is seemed powerless and too apologetic. UMNO and its leaders does not have to rethink or transform or re-strategise; they just need to go back to their roots. Go back to their purpose.

2. What would I like to see from UMNO

a. Muslim First and Malay Second
UMNO must understand that it and its Malay members are Muslim first. That is in the Federal constitution - you cannot be a Malay if you are not a Muslim. What do I mean by this?

Firstly, UMNO must not allow MCA or any non-muslim component to challenge Islamic ideologies, even if it was carried by PAS. Discussion yes, dialogue yes, but to allow MCA publicly 'vilify' Hudud as a mean to bring down PAS is the biggest mistake UMNO had done. Granted, UMNO leaders of the day must have thought that allowing MCA to fight/challenge PAS on Hudud could get/retain the chinese votes. But Allah, the greatest of all, showed UMNO that no! I sincerely believe that it is Allah's punishment and a mean to remind the Muslims in UMNO that Allah is greater that he caused the Chinese to not vote for BN.

The Malays in UMNO must open their eyes and see, that ultimately your god, Allah, is the greatest and the most merciful. Why? Allah did not make your plan happen as you have planned it, you lost the chinese votes, but Allah was merciful enough to keep you in power. To give you a chance to rectify the wrong that you have done.

In my humble opinion, in the case of Hudud, much resentment and over zealousness occurred due to lack of understanding. PAS was on one far end of the knowledge (because they are the masters of the religion) and the Non-muslims are on the other end of the spectrum. UMNO is positioned to bridge the gap and explain Hudud and the reality and possibilities of Hudud implementation to the mainstream Malays. Muslim UMNO leaders must realise that they have a duty to stop any aspect of their religion from being misunderstood or put as a center of fear and hatred. Allah had now showed you keeping mum while MCA use Hudud to scare the Chinese would not get you more Chinese votes, in fact you would lose them, to PAS of all parties.

Secondly, instead of holding concerts, increase more religious events like sembahyang hajat, gotong-royong, helping the needy and the orphans. All those that Islam advocates. You have the means all you need to do is to put it into practice. Don't worry, non-muslims will not be intimidated if you hold your prayers. They will not feel threaten if you bring in Yusuf Islam to give a speech (and I think he is singing again). They will not feel bad if you organise gotong royong UMNO to clean up the Kampung after Subuh. They will not feel oppressed if you go around REGULARLY to help the needy, the orphans and the poor (regardless of religion and race).

b. Fighting corruption amongst Malays

UMNO MUST STOP CORRUPTION amongst its members and leaders. It is understood that you need money to run a political group. Trade, do business by all means and make profit, but do not be corrupt. Do not make excessive waste or allow money to slip in the hundreds of millions. I will not say much here as the message is clear, you must be BERSIH, CEKAP DAN AMANAH.

(My earlier thoughts/ dilemma on Corruption here )

d. Educating and bringing the urban Malay closer to the rural Malays

UMNO must act as the bridge to bring the urban Malays closer to the rural Malays so that both sides understands each other better. Their needs and obstacles. Their ideas and inspirations.  

e. Uniting the Malays

The first word in UMNO is UNITED. UMNO must do just that. Don't pay heed to what PAS or others are going to say. Have a program to unite the Malays and do it sincerely without hoping for any benefits. I guarantee that benefits you be the only thing that you will get.

d. Be a fair leader to the nation without fear

Being fair does not mean everything has to be equal. Each race has its advantages and disadvantages. Lead this nation as a whole and have no fear if you need to develop a certain segment of the population or race, be it Malay, Indian or Chinese. But do it because it is needed for the REAL development of the country, not for political mileage. If you need to build more Malay entrepreneurs  and middle class, so be it. Chinese and Indian businessmen would prosper too as these people will be buying from them.

Make sound economic decision and stick with it!

3. What I would not like to see from UMNO

a. Apologetic

Stop apologizing for fighting your cause. Others are doing the same for their group/race but they always make you feel bad when you do something for the Malays. Stop it. Just do it. The Malays and bumiputera kept you in power with the will of Allah, and you never apologise shit to them. Maybe it is about time you should.

d. Wasting

Stop the culture of wasting time or money. Stop it. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Umi Hafilda and her cheques

There are two ways to get to the top, either you get pushed up or you pull everyone else down. In my eyes, Malaysian politics seems to favour the second. To me, it seemed that it is about dirt and who has the least of it.

New allegations has resurfaced regarding Anwar's alleged abuse of power while he was in office, to stop graft investigation on Azmin. The timing and the manner of the disclosure is obviously aimed at tarnishing Anwar's image in the eyes of the voter in the upcoming election. This is what I mean by fight for anti-corruption being raped and abused, degraded by political agenda.

Obviously the pro-Anwar will cry foul and the anti-Anwar will say "I told you so". Meanwhile a fence-sitter like me would not know who to believe in this part? I cannot find myself to fully back the accusers as I feel that their motive is tainted with ulterior intention of smearing the opposition for election - rather than fighting corruption per se. You can't blame me for being skeptical; it is the timing and the manner of it all.

I am not saying don't expose corruption, please do expose them; expose them, no matter how well they can hide, submerged beyond sight, whether as small as an ikan bilis  or as big as a submarine. Just do it for the sake for fighting corruption and nothing else.

Winner: The newspapers - more people will read the news
Loser: Anti-corruption sentiment

Similar read: A fence-sitter's dilemma part 2 : Corruption

Monday, May 28, 2012

Police Brutal-Reality

Of late, there has been series of articles and opinions on 'police brutality' appearing on mainstream media as well as on the online media. What amazes me is the generalisation that people make when putting forward their arguments; generally the police force as whole is either brutal or professional. One side spews stories of police brutality; and the other side defends the police's actions as self defense and retaliation to violence, within their permitted limits. Of course, most evidence are centered on what happened during the Bersih street rally and its related events.

What do we want really? When some parties scream of police brutality, what do they want done?

What? disband the police force? Change their Standard Operating Procedure?

Change the government?

I personally do not think generalizing and labeling the entire police force by the actions of a few (many, but still not all of them) is neither fair nor going to create the desired change. I am sure that among the thousands of the police force personnel, there are many who are genuinely professional and full of integrity. Granted, they may be few and far between, but it will be grossly unfair to call them brutal when they are not; neither do we want them to leave the force in order to be avoid the stereotype.

I believe that a few, if not many, of the top brass in the government are actually a  professional lot and not merely agents to carry out the government's 'dirty schemes', as alleged by some. Just look at Datuk Yusof's becoming part of Anwar's defense team in the Bersih case, if Anwar does not believe that Yusof is truly a professional he would not have hired him, right?

In order to get the policemen to be respectful of our rights, we have to accord due respect too. No, it does not mean that each time we get pulled over we are ever ready to concede the RM50 to avoid the record in the blue-book; at the same time promoting corruption (when they do issue us a ticket, we call them "tak berhati perut", rather than "good, full of integrity" - funny, no?). I have this group of friends who each time we have meals outside and there is a policeman or two eating nearby, we would go and settle their bills; only that we never let the men in the blue know about it, we never even attempt to make eye contact. Just to show that we appreciate the hard work; to respect the profession. Hopefully they will know and feel that people that they are supposed to protect do care about them; and reminds about this when some of the are about to pummel their fist into the face of the people. Accordingly, when we go rallying (not that I do), don't call or condone other to call the policeman "anjing" or "brengset" or any such derogatory words. In order to bring change in others, we must first bring change to ourselves.

Are policemen supposed to be a 'toughguy'? To be honest, I want them to. I want them to be brutal when dealing with criminals; applying force accordingly.  I can still recall the days of yore where my mom would threaten me with the sight or call to the policeman, bring an abrupt halt to any mischief in hand. The policeman was seen as the Punisher. To be punished by them was going to be a brutal experience and I'd better toe the line/let go of the poor cat. Policeman must have the means and force necessary to maintain peace.

Then how do we get them to become more professional? How do we weed out the few brutal policemen? Would changing the government create this change? Based on what I see now, I don't think so. Think about it, a sudden change in the government (thus affecting the livelihood of so some) would almost certainly cause an uproar. And going by the recent precedent, people (pro BN/UMNO) are going to congregate, march and vent their frustration on the street at the innocent post box and thrash cans.

Now, when this happen, do we want the new government to tell the police stay back and let these people trash our country, of course not. And if the new mob are violent and calling the men in blue 'anjing' of the new PR government, do we think the policemen are  going to be okay about it or are they going to go 'brutal' again? Same action will normally result in a same reaction.

Therefore, the mere promise of a new government ending 'police brutality' just does not cut it with me. I need more. The alternative government should tell me how they are going to make the policemen more professional, how are they going to elevate the standards of the police force from where they are now. How are they going to be better than the current establishment in grooming the men in blue.

The police force is very important to us and it is our responsibility as a society to mold them. Do we fight anger with anger, fire with fire? Or do we take a leaf from Ambiga's recent action where she offered drinks to those who 'mooned' her, she offered kindness against inappropriateness and she came out triumphant in that episode. I am not saying we give medals to those recalcitrant officers, but the must be other effective way rather than merely vilifying them in public and in the media, further pushing them to a corner. I remember a teaching by Sun Tze when he said that we must always leave room for an enemy to retreat and save his face, otherwise he would fight you till the death. Give room for the force to change itself.

We want a professional and dedicated police force but I don't think vilifying them is going to do much good.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Fence-sitter's dilemma Part 2 : Corruption

Election is looming and I, having registered to vote in my hometown - a small village in Kelantan, will have to make a decision. The problem is I would like to make a decision as objective as possible, appeasing my conscience  by knowing that I have made a decision that is in line with my ideals to be a better muslim, a better father, a better neighbour and a better citizen.

A couple of days ago I wrote the initial piece on my dilemma as a fence-sitter, touching on Honesty and Community Cause. And now I want to pen down (now type lah) my thoughts on corruption.

3. Corruption

Corruption is high on almost everyone's priority list of things they want to change. Corruption is the bane of humanity as far as the history of human itself. It is the natural enemy of goodness and righteousness.

Corruption, by definition, is very wide: corruption of the mind, corruption of power, bribery and so on and so on. What I am thinking about now is the corruption of power and money; since my vote would put the winner in the position of power and money.

But how do I objectively dissect and make a decision on corruption. Both political divides seems to talk the talk of anti-corruption and the political analysts from both sides have written abundantly on this topic; on where their grouses were, what is wrong with the ruling parties, what are they not doing enough, hypocrisy of cronyism and so on and so on. Despite all the analysis and the writings in the newspaper and the blogs, I am still not clear on who is the winner.

In my opinion, the federal government has tried to fight corruption, with the inception of BPR and then MACC and various campaign. However, I do not know how whether these efforts are merely to appease the international community/watchdog or really wanting to stamp corruption. There are plenty of events that has has transpired to suggest that corruption is far from over in the ruling government.

During the time of Tun Mahathir, there was BCA: Bersih, Cekap dan Amanah (Hmmm... that makes Tun M the original founder of "Bersih", no?). The intention was great, but the momentum just died; the people never did carry the momentum. I guess this is what happen when (at that time) the intention to fight corruption was 'top-down'. It was initiated by the leader without the follower really wanting it (Boom time, money everywhere what).

On the flip side, the opposition party has been complaining and shouting against corruption since as far as I can remember. But I do not see a comprehensive and sincere fights, by the opposition. against corruption as a culture. Corruption was more widely used (in my view) as the means to associate the ruling party (BN) with, and as a consequent, any efforts to fight the ruling party could be deemed as fighting corruption.

There was no effort to promote anti-corruption within its own members, as if the members of the oppositions are free of this bane and temptation of corruption. Corruption was almost exclusively for BN and its members, and if you suddenly switch camp to PKR/PAS/DAP you are corruption free, free from any inkling of corruption and immediately become the icon of anti-corruption itself. This is not real.  By making anti-corruption = anti-BN, it had severely diminished any momentum we the rakyat could gather to fight corruption on its own. By making anti-corruption events anti-BN evnts, it alienated corrupt free BN members.

From the above, in my eyes, both side is half-hearted in their past effort to sincerely and comprehensively fight corruption in the past.

Now to the present. The opposition has governed Kelantan for more than a decade, more than 10 years. Selangor, Penang and Kedah for more than a four years. During those periods, rumblings of corruption in logging and other state projects in those government has been spreading. And some of those innuendos and insinuations are hard to reject. As for the BN government, the rumblings of corruption is nothing new, only the scale is much bigger.

Therefore, If I was to make a decision based on the fight against corruption, against cronyism , I would be  at a loss. It is truly like choosing between two evils, trying to aim for the lesser evil. The problem is, while I can gauge the size of BN's evil, I could not tell for certain about the alternative. The may seem to be the less corrupted of the two, but then again, they have less resources and control in their hands at the moment. I wish I could see more sincere effort from the opposition to fight corruption as a matter of principle, rather than degrade it as anti-establishment tool to gain control over the federal government.

In this regard, I am not convinced of both side's effort and promises to fight corruption. It was too politicised. Accordingly, if I were to vote to eradicate corruption (either way), I should brace myself for an disappointment of an epic proportion.

4. Leadership

-to be continued-