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A single spark starts the prairie fire? — Sakmongkol AK47

DEC 11 — Dengar cerita CEO NFC (suami Sharizat) dpt gaji 100k sebulan, anak sulung (age 31) dpt gaji 45k sebulan, anak kedua (age 27)dpt 35k sebulan, anak ketiga (age 25) dpt 35k sebulan. Jika ini betul, ia sesungguhnya memalukan. Ambil duit rakyat buat bayar gaji besar.

Anak saya pun graduate juga. UPSR, PMR, SPM dapat semua A. Umur 24 tahun. Kerja swasta. Dia pun work hard. Balik kerja paling awal jam 9 malam. Kadang2 sampai 1 pagi. Gaji dia RM2,700/sebulan. Adakah anak saya akan sokong BN/Umno kalau begini keadaannya? Saya dah tahu jawapannya. Umno tak boleh kelentong orang cerdik. Umno is not capable of changing, not with the current leaders.

When more than 50 per cent of our working population is earning less than RM2k/month, tak tahu malu ke mereka-mereka ini. Merompak siang dan malam, 7 hari seminggu. Perompak Ali Baba P. Ramli pun ada cuti hujung minggu.

8 December 2011 15:12

Even if we refuse to admit it, the above is an outpouring of bitterness. Although Umno people will wish it’s confined, it’s personal anecdotes such as this that strikes fear in Umno. Maybe it’s already that single initial spark that has ignited the prairie fire.

Shahrizat Jalil can huff and puff and weave her tales as her mythical namesake did in 1,001 Nights. While she can fool Umno delegates by employing attack as the best form of defence, her actions are only an exercise in futility. For her, the writing is already on the wall. Whatever she does will not extinguish her blackened image.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called for her exit from Umno politics. She’s finished. Incidentally, the 1001 Nights contained the story of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves, which the writer of the comment cited.  Perhaps, Ali Baba and the thieves aptly describe what Umno has become.

This kind of anecdotal and very personalised tale of feeling marginalised and alienated reflects the wider bitterness of Malays with Umno. There is nothing that Umno can do about it now.

It’s a discredited brand. It’s synonymous with pillage and plunder, corruption, arrogance that can only be the result of being far too long in power. It’s the manifestation of the political dictum — power corrupts absolutely and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Last year, every big idea thrown up by the Umno president was rejected by Umno delegates. When he spoke about 1 Malaysia, delegates insisted on Malay first, Malaysia second. The deputy Umno president was even forthright in affirming that line of thinking, which is more in common with the Umno ground.

Even as Umno members deny it, there is worrisome disconnect between the Umno president and the rest of his team. When he spoke about his nebulous New Economic Model, delegates spoke about more NEP like policies.

In the end, what has Najib Razak got to defend himself?

He has only the claim that he is the son of Tun Razak, imagining such pedigree is testimony that he won’t abandon principles dear to Umno. When a person has nothing else to defend himself with but lays bare his bloodline credentials, it’s a sign he is in trouble. No one can deny that biological connection. The similarities end just there, as people are arguing whether he has inherited the leadership talent of the father.

This year, what has Umno got? It didn’t encourage delegates speaking about economic achievements. No talk on vision, policies and so forth. No one debated about how Shahrizat got the RM 250 million. No one spoke about the ETP, EPP, GTP and whatever labels the Umno president gave to his string of initiatives. None.

The Umno president pleads for continued mandate from the people as the Malay Agenda has not finished. No one spoke or elaborated about the agenda.

How is it that the agenda can only be achieved through Umno, if at all? No one puts forth convincing arguments telling us why Umno is the only qualified instrument for Malays to achieve their collective agenda.

Najib is confused about the concept that he came up when he took over from Pak Lah, which is the claim that the age of government knows best is over. Yet, by asking the nation to give him the mandate to enable him to continue the agenda, he is reaffirming the exact opposite. The government and the party is the deity and dispenser of what is good to the people.

The 2011 Umno general assembly was an occasion for an orgy of vituperative shouting matches. Umno does nothing but direct themselves to attacking and insulting its political opponents. Umno does two things actually; one, heighten the morbid patriotism and nationalistic urges of Malays. And two, it did what it hasn’t done before: speak about Malays’ greatest fear — assault on the religion of Islam.

But here is the irony, just as Najib — who last year had nothing to offer but to invoke the name of his father — similarly too this year, Umno hasn’t got anything.

Listening to the maddening speeches by Umno delegates, I am reminded of what Arthur Schopenhauer in his Essays and Aphorisms said:

“Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

That is what has Umno become: an inferior good. It is a good that decreases in demand as social awareness increases. Malays in rural areas are not exactly insular in their outlook. They read the papers, understand what’s written in between the lines. Their children come back and inform parents. Umno can’t fool all the people all the time with its scare mongering tactics.

Every speaker comes up before the podium, trying to outdo the previous in terms of bellicosity and vehemence. The spectre of the Yellow Peril is upon us; the Chinese will take away Malay rights, turn Malays into Christians, abolish the monarchy and so forth. It’s not going to work because of millions of people are thinking like the person sending in the comment posted above.

People know. They talk among themselves. It has become a huge money making juggernaut. The ones making money are the Umno chieftains, cronies, families. Umno operates a giant Ponzi scheme, not dissimilar to Harry Madoff’s multi-level marketing.

It can’t defend itself on its track record other than reminding people that Umno has done much for the people and country. That claim sounds hollow because ALL governments in the world carry out programmes and implement policies.

Hosni Mubarak of Egypt did the same thing. Muammar Gaddafi gave Libyans much development and personal help to people. The Tunisian president did much development for Tunisia. Therefore, what Umno did, is not unique in that it is sufficient for people to feel beholden and enslaved by Umno.

I feel sorry for the people who think of the widespread disenchantment with Umno since 2008 and that has been building up as a flash in the pan, and regarded — for self-assuring purposes — as mere protest votes.

This time it’s real. Ordinary Malays are disputing Umno’s empty claims of fighting for the interest of Malays. And Umno people realise this. This is what Umno fears most, when Malays themselves start disputing what Umno says and does.

The facts are these: the people who are ripping off Malays are the Umno elites. Since Dr Mahathir took over, Umno has evolved into a company doing a gigantic Ponzi scheme. The elite, the Umno chieftains, their families and cronies have been ripping the Malays.

Who threatened the royal houses? Umno did, during the constitutional crisis years. Umno leaders were the ones who proposed to tie up royal members on trees and let the fire ants sting them. Umno was behind the exposure of scandalous behaviour of members of the royal family.

It wasn’t the Chinese who so much as besmirched the reputation of Malay rulers. I have said it before: The entrepreneurial Chinese would want to befriend the royalty so that, through the royal houses, they can corner more businesses.

How can a numerically smaller group dominate a larger group? How can DAP convert Muslims to Christianity when the majority of DAP members are themselves not Christians?

The only way Malays lose everything, is the result of the rot in Umno. And Umno, says Dr Mahathir, is rotten to the core. It’s rotten as a result of endemic corruption. We now speak of billions and not a few hundred thousand being ripped off.

How does Umno rally Malays into its fraternity? By preying on irrational prejudices, fear and probably some bad personal experience. This is the only way Umno can rally the Malays.

It’s a reaction that reflects the fear and paranoia that is enveloping Umno now. It hasn’t got any big ideas or visionary elements to bind the beliefs of Malays anymore. So, it’s only way out is to sound and represent itself as the uncompromising champion of Malay extremism.

That approach will fail simply because extremism and the patriotism promoted by Umno are seen as measures by leaders to preserve themselves. 

“Patriotism in its simplest, clearest and most indubitable signification is nothing else but a means of obtaining for the rulers their ambitions and covetous desires, and for the ruled the abdication of human dignity, reason, conscience, and a slavish enthrallment to those in power.”

Leo Tolstoy said that a long time ago. — sakmongkol.blogspot.com

* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. He was Pulau Manis assemblyman (2004-2008).

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

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