REVIEW: The extent of Umno’s courage to realise seven constitutional amendments which was signed in October 2009 as the year-end elections this year comes about is still untested.
According to the approved amendment, 146,500 grassroots members will directly choose the party leadership compared to the 2,500 delegates previously. They will also directly choose the leadership of their respective divisions.
The amendments made are supposedly following political corruption (money politics) that can no longer be controlled and also to show that the party is more democratic and that it is no longer dominated by the rich.
The previous quota system which provides for a 30 percent (57 divisions) support for the position of President, Deputy President – 20 percent (38 divisions), Vice President – 10 percent (19 divisions), Members of the Supreme Council – 5 percent (10 divisions), Youth Chief – 20 percent (38 divisions), Women’s Chief – 20 percent (38 divisions), Puteri Chief – 20 percent (38 divisions).
In addition, for the position of deputy of the three wings of the party, only support from 28 divisions or 15 percent is needed.
Pahang Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said that the position for president and deputy president of Umno should be contested. He said that as democratic and inclusive party, any position in the party should go through the process of competition.
Head of Political Cluster, Security and National Professors Council of International Affairs (MPN), Prof Datuk Dr Mohamed Mustafa said that the existing selection system for the top positions is good enough and better than the quota system practiced previously.
He said that if Umno goes back to using the quota system, the party is seen as retreating backwards.
Emulate PKR Not Transformation in Umno
Many will still remember how the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and other top Umno-BN leaders criticised PKR during the party elections in November 2010.
Datuk Zaid Ibrahim’s move to leave PKR and form the KITA party is used as reference material by Umno to give the impression of a split in the party.
Meanwhile, Umno has never made a selection since 2009 because of fear of a split in the party.
Similarly, during the GE-13, the Umno disciplinary committee received 99 complaints regarding the issue of BN candidates being stabbed in the back.
When the announcement the Umno will make seven constitutional amendments, Najib proudly announced that the amendment is part of his transformation to rejuvenate the party.
Najib may win in moral terms at the time because he has never been tested, in the party election or even in the GE.
The scenario if different at the moment when BN saw failure to add parliamentary seats and instead lost seven more parliamentary seats during the 13th General Election.
Najib’s performance is seen to have worsened from Tun Abdullah Badawi’s performance during the GE-12 in which BN won 140 parliamentary seats.
The former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir in his blog said that Umno’s victory this time is not because of Umno’s strength or unity within Umno, but that this time’s victory is because of fear by the Malay community that they will lose power to DAP and PKR specifically.
This statement proves that Dr Mahathir personally admits Najib’s failure. But because Dr Mahathir has to depend on Najib to place his son (Mukhriz) to lead Kedah, Mahathir had to hide his inner feelings temporarily.
In terms of economy, the country’s deficit is in a moribund state at 53 percent compared to the GDP. In terms of the amount, the national debt is more that RM502 billion.
In other words, more than 28 million people in this country as well as every child to be born in Malaysia owes the World Bank with an estimate of RM17,928 per person.
Transformation Failure to be Punished
These economic figures further highlight Najib’s shortcomings. This opportunity will surely be used by Muhyiddin’s team and qualified candidates, especially Vice-Presidents to oppose Najib.
The elimination of the quota system and the involvement of 146,500 grassroots members to directly elect the leadership of the party will open larger doors to candidates who are deemed eligible to run for the highest level positions.
Rejection from the Chinese, Malay and Indian community against BN and the Umno leadership led by Najib can also be used as weapons for Najib’s contenders.
The boycott of MCA and Gerakan to participate in Najib’s cabinet reflects the failure of Najib’s 1Malaysia slogan to achieve its goals.
Similarly is the response from the urban population which is very cold and totally rejects Umno-BN. BN lost in almost all urban areas throughout the country in the recent GE-13.
This also sheds light on Najib’s transformation which failed to bring the Malay population to the city to support Umno-BN.
What’s more frightening is that Najib’s era has brought about change in Umno from moderate Malays to extremist Malays who are racist and promotes campaigns of inter-ethnic hostility.
Umno leaders at all levels had to use various sentiments of race, defamation and religious sentiments and so on to restore Umno’s strength.
These sentiments clearly took Umno back to the 1970s era. Meanwhile, the opposition is seen progressing step-by-step towards the reality of politics for various ethnicities for the future of the country.
Many are waiting; will Najib receive punishment for his failure in the Umno elections at the end of this year?