UMNO has exchanged attributes with opposition parties. UMNO’s existence is just seen at the high level while down on the at the Division and Branch level UMNO is technically dead, lifeless and breathless.
Conversely the opposition parties are more energetic and hands on with the people on the ground through innovative, imaginative and creative approaches that position them close to the people.
UMNO seems to be like the oppositions of 2 decades ago when they are only seen to exist ‘just before’ and ‘during election’ weeks.
Now the opposition is casually saying that UMNO’s existence is apparent and noticeable only during an election and it exists seasonally.
UMNO has abandoned all activities in almost all Divisions as their leaders are too busy with personal politicking in Kuala Lumpur spending a lot of their valuable time in Ministers’ offices carrying files and documents for businesses which they in the end fail to secure.
More often than not, those files and documents are not even theirs: those are files and profiles of companies owned by others normally by big Chinamen who do not have easy accessibility to the leaders who have good signatures.
These brokers earn retainers while soliciting the jobs and subsequently being paid commissions after the jobs have been awarded by the government through their friendly Ministers and inside connections.
While big leaders in Kuala Lumpur are fleshy with eloquent rhetoric, leaders and members of the party down there at the branches are blinking without activities.
PAS and PKR have managed to make up their existence and they are being seen to be near to the public and active working out their programs with the public active participations.
Their leaders are always within their vicinity for interactions and continuously being fed with latest up dates of the goings and comings of the nation’s politics.
The day when UMNO branch heads were active drawing up programs and activities for their members and their neighborhood is obviously gone in oblivion.
I have been spending quite a number of hours a week with these branch heads whom I am still in touch with and I am convinced that lack of money as the main reason for their helplessness to function as branch heads.
We know that UMNO and money is synonymous. No money, no UMNO.
“Sekarang ni Ketua Bahagian tak bagi duit untuk bergerak bang! Takkan saya nak pakai duit sendiri sebab saya sendiri pun nak pakai duit.”
Quite a number say, “Dia orang buat kerja dapat projeklah, dapat duit dari sepak terajang sana sini! Yang kita ni disuruhnya buat kerja macam lembu…sorrylah bang!”
Some say, “Kalau buat program pun orang tak datang bang! Kalau PKR dan PAS buat ramai orang datang. Kita tempah karipap, mee goreng, teh tarik dan macam-macam lagi orang tak datang juga. Jadi malulah kat PAS dan PKR.”
Days back a branch leader told me, “Kita kalau buat program, akhirnya penceramah kita ceramah kat kita, jawatankuasa cawangan-cawangan. Apa faedahnya?”
This environment can’t go on perpetually as it is going to trap us tightly in the next General Elections.
UMNO have lost the main constituent and essential of strength: that is hard working and committed activists to labor their energy and mind for their party.
There must be reasons for this ungainly and graceless attitude and values of the members at the ground level.
They cease to pay attention to program organized by UMNO as they have perceived themselves as being made tools by their opportunist leaders who sell the support they get from the people at the ground level for their personal benefits like getting businesses and position with lucrative remunerations.
For past more than two decades UMNO made decisions without referring to the people especially through UMNO and that slowly but surely made the people on the ground felt left out in any major decisions made by the government.
That is why all the while my mind is so engulfed by performances history.
Administration pre Mahathir was more people oriented as every government decision which involved public interest, the public would be informed and opinion from the people would be sought after.
The information departments at district level were so involved in disseminating information through civic courses organized by the lowest government administration, the JKKK.
The idea was to tell the people what the government program were besides getting feedbacks and reactions from the people on the ground.
By doing so, the people were made to feel involved in major government decisions and they physiologically perceived that they were closed to the government of the day.
As from Mahathir’s regime decision were top-bottom and the people just had to accept what his administration did.
From then on the people and the government were slowly distanced away and the government did not get the actual feelings of the people on anything the government did.
Dr Mahathir just did everything his way and that made him so unpopular among the people towards the end of his premiership.
Consequentially the people just voted for Abdullah Badawi’s administration when he succeeded Dr Mahathir in 2004 with landslide victory. The people were just waiting for anybody else to lead as long as it was not Dr Mahathir in that General Election.
But Abdullah was all the way honeymooning from the day one he took over until his retirement and nothing has changed but only changed for the worst.
Najib took over 10 months back but he did not get the legitimacy of his leadership by calling the General Election but instead just follow through with Abdullah’s ungainly government until today.
He should have called for the GE while at his infant months of his premiership before all the current divisive and hot issues surfaced.
Now it may be too late for Najib to call the GE as issues after issues are surfacing and to call for GE at this current environment would only invite for sudden death to BN like what was faced by Liberal Democrat Party of Japan in August 2009 election.
UMNO and BN are now trapped in a very tight spot: trapped in between calling the GE now with humiliating and mortifying performance and calling the GE in 2013 which is exceedingly risky as other mountable issues are coming in streams to weaken Najib and his weak government.
The issues surrounding the government are by no mean small but very vulnerable. No one can really size up the actual support from the people for this government…it can be slightly better or much more devastating than Abdullah’s regime.
What do we do now? Can we just rely on the Juara Rakyat program that was launched by Najib yesterday to do the repair job? Is that enough?
Let’s talk about it.