The Political elites within UMNO chooses to hold on to power by rewarding those that do their bidding through the politics of patronage.
In Malaysia the Prime Minister is the most powerful political institution. State and economic power resides with the Prime Minister. Within the limitation of protocols (ignored if considered inconvenient to political expediency) the Prime Minister appoints the Mentri Besars, the Minister in the Cabinet and the executive heads of the various government departments. The head of the Judiciary, the Armed Forces and PDRM are also appointed by the Prime Minister. The Sultans are given their dues in as long as they do UMNO’s bidding.
This flawed process is perpetrated when these tainted appointees in turn appoint as their underlings those whom will do their bidding and remain loyal to them. The lineage meanders all the way to anybody remotely connected to these people – wife, children,mistresses, girlfriends, friends and acquaintances. A merry go around of free loaders that hitches a ride on the gravy train when ever and where ever they can.
With these executive positions in high public office comes the opportunity to acquire wealth – either during office of upon retirement with or without collusion by UMNO.
This practice is ingrained as the “Malaysian way” of doing things. Finding an honest and independent servant of the people in any high public office is a rarity – of which Tun Salleh Abbas, Tun Ismail Ali, Prof. Ungku Aziz are the rarity rather then the norm.
Thus is put into place the machinery, the process and the means that gives legitimacy to UMNO to govern our country to serve UMNO ‘s purposes!
The democratic process is compromised to serve UMNO. This has been done legally with their two thirds majority in Parliament (until 2008) when UMNO can and did legislate to legalize all manner of legislation to serve UMNO’s interests. We know that the Electoral Commission has been effectively used by UMNO to ensure electoral success in many devious ways – some overt and some covert – but in all it is used by UMNO to its advantage. Enough has been said about the use of the ISA, PPPA and other Acts to ensure that the Civil Liberties and rights of its people are decided by the prevailing needs of UMNO and not the needs of a civilized and open society.
The Judiciary is not removed from the demands made upon it by the executive within government. Mahathir has ably demonstrated his ability to remove the Chief Justice – Tun Salleh Abbas – from office and Najib Tun Razak has recently confirmed that the CJ who have served UMNO well are profitably rewarded when their work is done – as demonstrated by the award of KIDEX to Tun Azmi.
Within the Armed Forces the proliferation of retired Generals, Colonels and retired Armed Forces personnel in ‘businesses’ supplying Mindef’s requirements are as many as there are Dato’ in the business world. The less ethical KSU’s have ‘negotiated’ for positions within businesses that had required their ‘assistance’ to be successful in their tendering with Mindef. And this culture of corruption has permeated down to the Rank and Files.
Enough has been played out in the appointments of IGP in these last few years to make any IGP’s beholden to the Prime Minister for his appointment. For now PDRM only hope of any trusts and belief for its integrity coming from the Rakyat is the coming in of a government that announces its commitment to open and accountable government – and hopefully demands the same of the PDRM. Without that change of government I fear that PDRM will become a caricature of the Tom Tom Macoutes of Papa Doc Haiti – a Policing Force that Papa Doc established to Police Haiti. The Tom Tom Macoutes were not paid a salary but extracted what it could from the people of Haiti for their needs. Truly and ingenious solution that absolved Papa Doc of any financial burden in having a Police Force but imposed untold hardship upon his own people in having a Police Force of thugs that stole from the people legally. Not quite unlike the PDRM that we now have.
In as long as UMNO is in power the Prime Minister will continue to determine the distribution of major contracts and tenders for any government requirements. The Prime Minister will determine who will secure what funding for what projects and on what terms and conditions. And he will also decide in the manner the resources of this nation is distributed amongst the political elites and to all those that have a role to play in ensuring that UMNO continues to hold power over this country of ours. The politics of Patronage is necessary for UMNO to rule over us.
Does this not then raise serious questions of compromises within the character and leadership abilities of our Prime Minister?
Well it does if you are the Rakyat who are having their guts ripped out of their stomachs by the stench of corruption and money politics!
It does not if your livelihood depends on UMNO holding on to power. And in as long as UMNO ensures that the Judiciary the Armed Forces, PDRM, the Civil Servants are happy with their lot – and that the Main Stream Media will do their bidding – UMNO will continue to be in power.
Now what we need to ask yourself is this: Has UMNO still got all that today?
Will the political elite within UMNO retained political power? Will the Armed Forces, PDRM, the Judiciary, the various Ministries, the Civil Servants and the Mainstream Media hold their peace and allow UMNO to govern for another term?
The simple answer to that is a resounding “YES.”
The opposition today is a toothless Tiger. It cannot effectively prevent the government from continuing with its politics of patronage. KIDEX, NFC, Taib Mahmud are but some of the manifestation of its failure to do so.
Any NGO’s or organization that seeks actively to demonstrate their opposition to government policies is neutralized to the satisfaction of the political elites.
What then can change?
What is now left is for the mobilization of the critical mass within a population that wants an open, responsible and open government. In other words good governance as against the corrupt and self-serving government now in place under UMNO.
The extraordinary results of the 12th general election have already given us a taste of this possibility. BN lost it’s two third majority in Parliament and five states with it.
The extraordinary degree by which UMNO dominates the political elites will start to waver if the critical mass within our population starts to mobilize itself. It must find within itself the ability to convey to these political elites the need to question their support of an inept and corrupt UMNO. It simply cannot be sustained. And sooner rather then later, the fall of UMNO and the political elites that supports them will happen. And nothing will frighten these political elites more then the likelihood that they will lose their economic privileges if they do not align themselves with the incoming PR government!
And this consciousness must be ingrained within the Armed Forces, PDRM and Government servants. There is enough work being done now by the electronic media to counter the MSM in their relentless work of putting out propaganda for the UMNO – so much so that the MSM is now a poor cousin to the electronic media. The people choses to get their ‘news’ and information from the Net and no longer rely on the MSM.
As I remembered it, the complete loyalty of the political elite was first seriously tested within UMNO with the contest between Mahathir and Musa. Already power and the financial rewards that it could bring was already a factor in deciding the final outcome of that confrontation – and Mahathir won out.
Power and the financial rewards it brings was judiciously used by DSAI in his ascent to be DPM and then ironically used against him by Mahathir in his ouster of DSAI. Since then what politics is today in Malaysia is dictated by the use of power and money. The ultimate source of power and money is within the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
However today there are enough opposition to UMNO and Barisan Nasional to make any amount of political permutations possible – but the only want that matters is to oust UMNO out of power – and on that score almost everybody in the opposition agrees. What we have agreed to disagree upon is the manner we hope to achieve this!
Some wants DSAI to be Prime Minister. Some do not. Some think that ABU is the only way to go while some are adamant that ABU at all costs is too great a risk, as it will mean a going back to the ways of UMNO. Some think that PAS and its Islamic ways will not their cup of tea. DAP is still thought of as a Chinese party by Malays. The arguments are endless and the reasoning coloured along ethnic, religious and cultural divides.
And until today we still have no Messiah that will hold us all together and lead us against UMNO in the 13th general election. Maybe the answer is within us all – a compromise that will put the people and country ahead of any other considerations. And yet we know that would be quite impossible for we no longer do not have a Tunku nor do we have a Mandela amongst us.
But the consequences of not being together in our fight against UMNO are failure. Sure and abject failure.
Failure at the 13th general election to oust UMNO will mean further hardship and suffering for people of our nation.
Failure to the political elites within the opposition will mean political oblivion and the almost impossible task of finding the resources and political will to sustain itself for another five years to the next general election.
Failure to UMNO will mean loss of its political, economic privileges and personal freedom. Most of them will face prison for the crimes they have committed while in public office.
You can see that the political elites within UMNO have the most to lose. And those with the most to lose will fight the hardest. And with the means and resources now at the disposal we know that at best we can call on GOD to be on our side and yet we know that in conflicts such as these, GOD will invariably be on the side of those with deep pockets and large armies.
So in reality all that we have is ourselves. We have the critical mass to make things happen but we lack the political will to do so. All that we can hope for is that common sense will ultimately prevail and there will be a coming together of all the forces within the opposition, under one chosen leader, with one common gaol – to have an open, accountable and responsible government in Putrajaya. Now where do we look for that leader?