Friday, October 10, 2008

UMNO's New Clothes

Malaysia's ruling party, UMNO, made a bid to reinvent itself this week, as Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi announced his intention to resign in March. Party leaders apparently hope that removing their unpopular leader -- who led UMNO to a dismal election performance earlier this year -- will boost popularity and help unify the party.

UMNO's problems are greater than Mr. Abdullah, however. After being in power for more than 50 years, the party hasn't been able to deliver the reform voters want. Efforts to tackle corruption and reform the judiciary have stalled. The party too often relies on racial preferences and fear to maintain its grip on power.

Mr. Abdullah promised Wednesday that before he leaves office he will pass an anticorruption bill and establish an independent Judicial Appointments Commission. There's a lot more he could do, starting with repeal of the Internal Security Act, which allows indefinite detentions without trial. A prominent anti-government blogger, Raja Petra Kamarudin, was recently arrested under the ISA; he remains in jail.

But the biggest service Mr. Abdullah could perform for his country is to ensure that the democratic process works. On Monday, Parliament will reconvene for the first time since opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was elected as an MP. Mr. Anwar has said he will use his seat to unseat UMNO and push broad-based reform. UMNO needs to show that it welcomes this challenge and take the opportunity to engage the opposition in policy debate. What happens next week will say a lot about how much UMNO is really willing to change. (Wall Street Journal)

***** I doubt if many in Malaysia realistically expect any meaningful change to come from these very same discredited polticians who have all these years actively contributed to the overt racism and corruption which has taken our country to the precipice. Wolves in sheep's clothing comes to mind.
Image - Source

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Anonymous Purple Haze said...

We can hope that there will be changes but realistically I think it will be more of the same.

AAB gave us a lot of hope after 22 yrs of Mahathirism but alas, he failed.

Najib has the luxury of starting from a low point but can he raise the bar ?

Some of the changes that - if implemented - can be profound

a) abolish ISA
b) set up Judicial Appointment Review
c) follow thru with Lingamgate scandal & bring the culprits to book
d) open tenders
e) meritocracy in university entrance or at least in priority areas

As I said, if implemented, Najib could garner a big following.

2:30 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Zaharan Razak said...

New clothes? More like bundle clothes to me. Old looking new. Replacing tweedledum with tweedledee. Anyway, here are a few pertinent points: You cannot turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. All the umno men are branded brigands tarred in the same tong. Like a Potong Perdana, Malaysia is long over due for a complete psychological, structural makeover. All our thumbsucking pacifiers like race obsession, poor English, will have be thrown out together with the bathwater.

And who is going to lead the way? Anybody so long as he is not a Malay. Karpal Singh also can.

And for chrissake why is the the Kawasaki KLR650 which is assembled in Thailand and sells for US$5400 in the US is being sold by Kawaski Malaysia for RM38,000? This is emblematic of the economic distortion we find ourselves in because of our "doctored" economic policies.

Education? What education? Our education also doctored. In our text book, it tells you animals have no intelligence! For real education you have to cross the Johore causeway.

4:10 AM GMT+8  

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