The next president of Malaysia's largest Malay party may not even be the PM if issues currently plaguing the nation are allowed to slide further downhill
Political power creates a sense of false entitlement with an inflated sense of self and vanity that consumes our politicians. It infuriates me that those given public office to serve the rakyat serve themselves.
This egoistic shallow philosophy of me, mine, myself, my status, my prestige overwhelms all other consideration. They lack qualities of compassion and humility and are infused with delusions of arrogance, superiority and separateness from the very people whom they are to serve.
They glorify in the selfishness of ‘the lion eating the weak’.
Do they not understand that their greatest moral responsibility is to assist those who are most in need? To mitigate poverty and suffering amongst our people? And these responsibilities must be carried out with integrity.
Not with BRIM, not with subsidies, not with hand out of cash or in kind, or in condescending with magnanimous gestures that reeks of social indifference and bereft of any long term benefit.
Selfishness has become a vice – one that threatens Umno’s political survival in the immediate future. This is the burden under which Umno now labours.
The power of its president, Najib Tun Razak, is an illusion. The strength of Najib’s political power is to be measured by his ability to persuade Malaysians to cast their votes his way at the 13th general election.
In the aftermath of the election, the people of Malaysia clearly rejected Najib. He may still wield real power within Umno and the BN coalition but increasingly he finds himself no longer trusted by the people.
This is why he failed to win back Selangor, and he failed to get a popular mandate to govern. PAS lost Kedah – Najib did not win Kedah! Somehow Najib has dealt with the people. Now he faces Umno.
Najib now finds that the very people in Umno who put him in power are now the reason for his weaknesses. He is beholden to them for his position within Umno. They on the other hand, know his influence with the Malaysian people has waned. Some say his relevance to Umno is no longer valid.
In Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s time there was only Mahathir. Today we have Mahathir, Muhyiddin Yassin, Rosmah Mansor and the need for Najib to have Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Khairy Jamaluddin and a host of other individuals who are chosen by Najib to support Najib.
And the quid pro quo is obvious. Najib chooses these people just so he will have people loyal to his desire to remain as Umno president.
Today the position of Umno president requires one to be adept at finding consensus amongst factions that have vested interests. Najib simply does not have the reputation or the prestige to control these factions.
Today things are done in Umno, in BN and in government without that “What would Najib want me to do” question being asked before it is done. Rather they would have to think of what would happen to them in the social media if what they do were not accepted to the people. This is good for us, but bad for Najib.
Malaysia greater than any of them
Those within the BN coalition are kept on a tight leash but Sabah and Sarawak are prone to pull at the leash almost to breaking point as they each seek to advance their vested interest at the expense of Umno.
So Najib’s power to persuade remains at the root of his strength to remain at the top. When he has less of it, as it is now – his position within Umno is desperate at best and tenuous at best. The next president of Umno may not even be the prime minister of Malaysia if matters are allowed to slide further downhill.
Najib struggles to contain the upheavals that are now unfolding across the political spectrum of our nation. He knows that Umno is past its zenith and though he may not be Forrest Gump, he is bewildered at having to take into account the past, present and possible future forces at play within Umno – forces which if he cannot tame will doom him to not having another term as PM of Malaysia.
Umno challenges the premise that intelligent life exists amongst its three million members. Umno leaders utter religious truths dictated by the Quran and yet for reasons best known to themselves emerge as the most arrogant and corrupt of Muslims in our nation.
And this arrogance and corruption they do amidst frenzied praises to Allah, cleansing visits to Mecca, prepping their numbers with imported Muslims and for good measure, hurl dire threats to non-Malays to do as told or leave.
We will wait to see what comes out of this Umno general assembly but what happens there no longer will dictate the future of our nation.
We have started the process of taking back our country by our deeds at the last two general elections. BN or Pakatan will now have to mould themselves in the likeness that we want them to be if they are to get our votes.
Malaysia is greater than any of them. Greater than all the sum of all of them put together. We make Malaysia great!
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.