Umno maverick lawmaker, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, continues to be a thorn to his party by taking a swipe at the three contenders for the Umno Youth chief post saying that their individual records have not inspired hope.
Blogging on his website http://www.razaleigh.com, Tueasday (24 Feb), Ku Li as he is popularly known pointed out that watching the TV debate among the three contenders – Khairy Jamaluddin, Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo and Mukhriz Mahathir, “ None of them has presented a consistent and principled orientation towards reform. Some views expressed in that debate actually called for reversion to bad old form rather than for reform. If the party continues on its present recourse, the question would be moot.”
“ Do you think these representatives of the future leadership are likely to embrace any necessary change?”
He said what happened in Perak recently has all the appearance of a desperate and ill-conceived grab for power, with constitutional consequences that are still being played out.
“Barisan Nasional’s loss of popular support is the real issue, so our task must be to regain support,” he said.
“We really have lost support. March 8 was not a freak result. We have had two by-election losses, both of which were exacerbated by our own members abstaining, or voting for the Oppostion, to have that message drummed into the party leadership.”
“Victory would be to regain that support, and to translate those gains constitutionally into a stronger presence in the government. It would mean coming to terms with the true causes for our loss of support, and addressing those causes with real reform. Yet our leadership has done nothing of the kind over the last year. Instead we celebrate ‘victories’ achieved by tricks and shortcuts liable to lose us even more ground with the Malaysian electorate.”
He warned these moves would harm the long-term prospects of Umno, and especially those of Barisan Nasional. However, he said, they may serve candidates trying to secure their standing within the party in view of upcoming party elections.
“Weak leaders will pass off pyrrhic victories for the real thing, rally party members in the opposite direction from reform, and march them farther from the expectations and values of the Malaysian electorate,” Razaleign said.
“No party can survive long with leaders who are so ready to sacrifice its viability for short-term and short-sighted political interests.”
He also called for a return to consensual leadership saying this is the value proposition. “If you will. If we lose this, we might as well close shop.”
“The negotiated power-sharing model that BN practised successfully in the past requires a genuine partnership among the leaders of the various parties. It takes far more strength and ability to negotiate a consensus than to carry decisions by numerical dominance alone, “he said.
“As the dominant partner of this coalition, Umno has a special responsibility of leadership in this process. It means we pick leaders with the ability and moral authority to mediate consensus and hold a moderate, pragmatic centre while maintaining an ethnic support base. This is something that cannot be done by weak or tainted leaders.”
The consensus building mode of government, he said, requires leadership formed in a tradition in which the skills and relationships needed to govern in this manner are consciously handed on. But the party succession is now dominated by ethnic champions or party warlords with little else to qualify them to govern a plural society with a sophisticated, trade-oriented economy, he added.
“There is also a structural reason for the incipient breakdown of our consensual model. For the model to work, each of the major ethnic parties must credibly and reliably represent its ethnic base. This is no longer the case. MIC, MCA, and now possibly UMNO, have each lost the majority support of the ethnic communities they claim to represent. The very raison d’etre of the model, and perhaps even of these parties, is at stake.”
Nevertheless, he pointed out, there is still the need for this model of consensus-based government, helmed by a Malay leadership imbued with a sense of duty to Malaysia in all its plurality, East and West. The country still needs capable, centrist leaders who are also real leaders of the Malay and Muslim community, able to anchor and partner a multiracial and multi-religious consensus for a progressive country.
“At the outset this means a solid commitment to the rule of law which alone guarantees our form of government by constitutional monarchy and the rights and freedoms of all Malaysians. Umno is failing to provide this leadership but this does not mean we don’t still need it, and need it desperately,” he concluded. (MySinchew)
Umno-led Barisan Nasional on the way down with the new crop of uninspiring leadership