Tuesday, October 28, 2008
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER by Bakri Musa
"UMNO’s biggest structural impediment to adopting reforms is its inability to attract new talent. This is due to three major factors. First is the concentration of power within the party, made worse by the coupling of party with governmental positions. State party leaders are also division heads, Supreme Council members, and heads of the party’s many wings. In addition they may be in the cabinet or holding senior government positions. Such a concentration of power not only breeds corruption in the party as well as in the government but it also inhibits the nurturing of fresh leadership talents".
"If the American Democratic Party had UMNO’s nomination system, it would not have discovered Barack Obama to be its presidential nominee".
>> UMNO is dire need of reform. After the severe whiplash from Malaysians on March 8th, which by the way was Samy Vellu's birthday, the party has yet to take dramatic steps to ensure that the next general election would not have the coalition Barisan Nasional put to bed. I may not agree with Bakri Musa's opinion most of the time but this article was right on the money. Although boasting with 3 million members, UMNO is in danger of losing more ground in the next election because it has failed to to prepare the next gen to take over the party helm. This is ostensible by virtue of the average age of the leaders in the party. Though I dare not undermine wisdom and experience in politics, we do have to acknowledge that UMNO's struggle would fail in the long run if it continues to cling on to power and fails to prepare the next generation of leaders to take over.
The party structure also frustrates aspiring candidates, whom normally face blockades if the they do not abide to the sordid culture of patronage and money politics. The election process must be reformed to ensure that delegates do not use their positions as bargaining chips to impose influence and demands. This is the only to elevate talent in the party, lest UMNO will be jinxed for decades with leaders with absolute ineptness to operate as such and who are plagued with scandals and corruption.
It has to reminded again that the next general election will feature 2,000,000 new voters from the internet, facebook and you tube generation. UMNO must ensure that the party is in touch with these individuals and the other millions of voters. Changes must come, lest UMNO will be swept away.