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anakbukitgantang says


When Soldiers vote

Written by Sakmongkol on 1:02 PM


My article on Bagan Pinang- vote for normalcy stirred up abnormal interests. There were some colorful though not flattering descriptions of sakmongkol. That's all right as I have said I have no problems with disagreeing in debates of this kind. As long as you do it in a civilized manner. Don't lah call people stupid or pokemon or what. I have been described in worse terms by UMNO members. I like to consider myself as one of the most strident critics of my party. Unfortunately I have this stubborn principle that once I hold on to a burning ember, I will do so till it becomes ash. I have all the 'right' reasons to disown UMNO if I wanted to - being abandoned after one term and having spent a good number of years of my life with UMNO with no perceptible benefits. But just like the Pakatan people, I too have my idealized version of UMNO.

Bagan Pinang. It seems to me, the bone of contention is the postal voting. There have been claims by someone who said he was a former army chap saying there are coercion and all that. As a result, military men are prevented from voting on their own freewill. I do not agree with his claim which unfortunately is not supported by facts. What is preventing this person and others who say they have proof and evidence even narrative ones, from saying them on the net? Say it out in the open so we can rebut if there are grounds too. We can then debate on their statements.

Of course, like anywhere else, the possibility of cheating is there. Everything is possible. Cheating also occurs when civilians vote. I tell you when cheating IS possible and this is probably just one of the many possibilities. The presiding officer calls the names of those who are about to vote. They are not present, so the officer retains the voting papers. Assume that there 300 absent. He has 300 voting papers. The officer can then 'vote' on behalf of these absentees or if he is a ruffian, can call the contending parties, whether they want to pay for the 300 votes.

But then, this is an exception to the rule. It may and does happen but the fault is with this particular person and the commentator who claimed there's cheating may be this person. That is why he appears to have personal knowledge.

Allow me to tell you this. Not all camp commanders are pro UMNO and BN. These people are intelligent people some are very qualified. Not all officers are pro UMNO and BN. And non officers- they campaign among each other. They do not live on a deserted island. They mix socially with civilians, read papers and even surf the internet. I am told by friends that many also read sakmongkol's web. While the majority like what they read, there are also some who get peeved by my extolling the AK47, the weapon of choice by communists and other rebels. They can form independent opinions on politics.

We have no guarantee that whatever is said by the camp commandant is followed by his troops- that is not a marching order. There is no guarantee that they will vote for UMNO. In 1999, the air force troops in the Air force camp in Kuantan didn't vote for UMNO. In 2008, the navy boys in Tanjung Gelang in Kuantan rejected the UMNO candidate. They are capable of forming independent opinions.

The register of voters is given by the SPR. The duty officer calls the army chaps and hand them ballot papers. Once they have the ballot papers, they go over the polling booth to vote and vote whomsoever they want. No one knows who they voted- not the commanding officer, the duty office ror whoever they are. Mind you, while this process takes place, the political parties have their representatives watching over the whole process like hawks. If they notice any peculiarities they will immediately take them up unless they sleep on their watch.

So by and large, the rule is, voting by the military is as transparent as voting by civilians.

As far as campaign is concerned, no parties are allowed into army camps to canvass for votes. No UMNO people, no PR people. The defense minister does not campaign there on a 24 hour basis and he doesn't have the capacity to watch over the troops at all hours. If PAS people want to cling on the perimeter fencing, please do but you will encounter the risk of tasting the bullets from the M16.

So how do you explain that generally, army chaps vote for the government? Can you explain this away simply by saying there is coercion? You think you can force our soldier boys with M16 in their hands and other explosive materials to vote for a particular person? I have been a wakil rakyat in an area with a large army camp. Each time I enter the camp, I do so with much trepidation because you enter an area with sentries bearing M16's and hours under the burning sun can alter the brain chemicals.

You simply can't explain the track record of pro government voting just by saying- ah there's coercion. Soldier boys don't vote as civilians do because the voting centers are in the camps. Let me also say, there are even stricter protocols to observe when soldier boys vote. They do so in a more orderly fashion free from the heckling of mamat UMNO and mamat PR.

There were also comments challenging me that if I have faith in our soldiers why don't you allow them to vote like civilians? Ok. How do civilians vote? If I remember when ever civilians voted for UMNO/BN, the PR people still insist they do so under force, coercion and all that stuff. This means that this allegation will surface irrespective of the place of voting. You will still say the same thing. Who says the army votes any differently from civilians? They do, except they do so in their voting centers which happen to be in camps.

Let me try to explain why in general the army boys vote for the government. It called simple reciprocity. Imagine this. You take in thousands of boys with elementary education, make them into recruits. Which means you offer them a second chance to become worthwhile individuals. You infuse them with skills and training, discipline; provide a rewarding passage through adulthood. Most get married and with army salaries take care of their immediate families and parents too. These are human beings. They are appreciative of the efforts made by the government of the day. They feel it is only right by reciprocating through supporting the government which has accorded them a second chance. It's called gratitude.

That's good culture. If people question their record and if people imply that because they voted for the government because they are forced to, then these people are teaching us to reject the virtue of saying thank you.

Thank you.

Bagan Pinang- vote for normalcy

Written by Sakmongkol on 8:46 AM

All UMNO needs now is to hand PR its first defeat. It will break them. It seems to me, the PR people are bringing up 1001 excuses to rationalize their coming defeat. Why should it bother them who UMNO chooses as candidate in this Bagan Pinang election? The PR people will still have to contend with the BN machinery. So why the noise about insisting the postal voters be given a fair 'space' to vote?

Because the PR people know that they have won and can win only in a chaotic environment. When UMNO was facing their own internal upheavals, the PR won up to 82 seats. Otherwise how would anyone explain the election of a joker like Gwo Burne whose only fame was because he recorded the conversation of a lawyer? Similarly there were many others who, under normal circumstances, don't stand a rat's ass of a chance to get elected, won. PKR for that matter may have been surprised themselves by the outcome of the general elections. They won simply because the political climate was abnormal. They won because UMNO weakens itself with so many ills and not because PR or PKR offered the public any substantive agenda. Any agenda they have, they make them up as they go along.

But once things get back to normalcy, PKR starts to get panicky. This is what the situation in Bagan Pinang represents. Things are getting back to normalcy. Postal voters represent a more stable political state of affairs. Soldiers and police don't get politicized 24/7- they are free from politics allowing them to pursue a normal life. This is the thing that is actually worrying Pakatan- the existence of a large pool of postal voters introduces a new element in the political situation- order as opposed to chaos. PR wins in chaotic conditions; it will lose when things get back to normal.

But there is one important proviso. I hoped that UMNO is conscious of the messages it got after being licked 8 times. If UMNO people go on behaving they are God's gift to Malaysia and relapse to its old debilitating habits, then Bagan Pinang can also prove to be its harbinger of death.

What do the PR people do? So, PR agitates for a change in the rules of the game. It must simulate uneasiness and unrest. Dig up something. That something is postal voting. It must be made out as something evil devised by UMNO.

Postal voting isn't a peculiar practice in Malaysia nor is it unique for Bagan Pinang. That's immaterial- it must be made out as something sinister. It disembowels public opinion, turn them against the government of the day, making out postal voting as something manufactured by the ruling government to disenfranchise the people. There must be something underhanded if soldiers vote for the ruling government. The truth is, if more military voters voted for the government- they are voting what they see as someone who is bringing back normalcy. The public can't tolerate an incessant stream of by elections preventing them from leading a normal life.

Suppose the normalcy that is found within the postal voting community affects also the mood of non postal voters- the ordinary general voting public. It will become a re-learning curve for the public; that they must recapture their normal way of life by voting in a government that proposes to bring order and structure. Bagan Pinang will be a start.

This coming win by BN in Bagan Pinang will expose the PR as a party which thrives only under abnormal conditions and that their extensive win at the 12th General Elections was just an aberration. This coming by elections, the Bagan Pinang folks are voting for normalcy. That's why they are voting BN.

There are 14,000 voters in Bagan Pinang. During the last outing the late BN candidate took a 2000 vote majority. In the 2008 elections the BN candidate got 6430 votes against PAS who obtained 4097. He had a majority of 2333.

Pas improved its performance from 1556 to 4097 votes. That's an increase of 2.6 times. For 4 years, between 2004-2008, they managed to convince another 2 for every one fellow they had, to subscribe to PAS's cause. UMNO managed to improve from 5967 to 6430. That's an increase by 1.08 times. Meaning they have succeeded to get another 1 person to the existing one to convert to UMNO. PAS therefore assumes that this surge in support is indicator of their acceptance. It forgets that UMNO did too, though by a smaller margin. People still believed in UMNO.

It would however be a mistake to infer from the PAS figures, that more people subscribed to their cause because they BELIEVED in PAS's intrinsic agenda. PAS knows it has done nothing other than being a fortunate beneficiary of UMNO's own implosion. Hence, PAS's improved showing from 1500 votes to 4000 votes was at best a qualified performance. It wasn't obtained through PAS's intrinsic accomplishments- they have done nothing there. They were just there at the right time and the right place.

PAS knows this but they want to convince their partners they can convert more people to their cause. They think they can convert another 2.6 times the previous votes they got. They want to get another 4000 votes and those votes they can get only from the army votes. They seem to be cocksure they can secure these votes and they are clamoring for many things regarding the postal votes. PAS is banking on winning if it can get the army guys to vote like civilians.

I believe UMNO will sort out its candidate. I am certain it will not be Isa Samad and that will neutralize the sting from the opposition. If any other candidate than Isa is chosen, more so if Najib Isa is, the Pakatan people will not be able to overexploit the issue. The Keadilan and DAP practices the same style of dynastic politics that UMNO stands accused.

How does that affect PAS? As one commentator said in my blog, he is feeling lucky that his party (PAS) doesn't practice this kind of dynastic politics. It affects PAS because PAS is associated with the group that practices them. PAS faces the same affliction they accuse UMNO of- that by being an integral part of a larger group, it falls prey to the old Malay adage- 'one buffalo covered with mud, will also cause others to get strewn with mud'.

PAS shouldn't be swell-headed into thinking they improved in Bagan Pinang in the last election as a result of their own efforts. They benefited from (1) the general disapproval of the rakyat of the government (2) because they also benefited by being part of the PR team. On its own, PAS has nothing to offer other that the usual ammunition of religious sanctions. These things don't bring food to the table. Pragmatic practical ideas and temporal ideas do. Normalcy does.

Soldiers who vote are not mere putty you know, malleable and easily shaped into submission. Despite being under the 'regime' of postal voting where many voted for the government, many too voted against the government. Therefore you can't say, that because postal votes are handled the way they have always been, the votes are sure to go to the BN. The BN foot soldiers are facing the same barriers as the opposition does. They can't go into army camps to campaign. How much can one defense minister accomplish?

This postal voting issue is just an excuse offered ahead by PAS to blame UMNO for its loss.

The F word

Written by Sakmongkol on 11:38 AM

PM Najib said this:-

"I believe this is a meaningful development that will boost Malaysia's image," he said.

Ah ha, so it's another country-branding exercise, an image job. Hence, the Government's involvement in the negotiations with the F1 franchise holders. But it is now no longer contented being a franchise holder- that's not making money. But at what cost? You have to spend money to get more money. You are banking on this idea that by having a team actually racing, you can draw in the tourists, television revenues, etc.

The government had to allow the Sepang people to hold special lottery draws to compensate for low earnings. In other words, this is a sure fire investment- you can always make up for under earnings by asking the government for help. And perhaps this is the reason why the government has been coaxed into coming along with this venture. It provides the safety net should this investment botches up. Or, if the government is to be spared from having to inject money in the future, some other way of compensating the exertions of Air Asia or Naza will have to be thought out. Maybe Air Asia gets to build its own airport or perhaps take over MAS eventually. Naza can also have 100% of Proton and also take over the shares in Perodua.

No one can go wrong by having big G on your side. Otherwise the Sepang franchisee will drown.

As a result of Sepang, Malaysia has become well know. It doesn't matter if the Caucasian tongue finds it a mouthful to say the name. It gets Malaysia to become a name in the world. Imagine the dividends Malaysia gets as a brand just by holding a series in the racing. Now- here comes a better deal. We'll have an actual team car racing at demonic speed, fulfilling the wet dreams of people with possible phallic disorders.

I wasn't interested to write or comment anything on the PM's announcement that Malaysia will have its own racing team. I have never been to the Sepang circuit believing it stupid of me to allow a self induced destruction of my ear drums. By the way- maybe racing enthusiasts and speed demons can enlighten me, whether it's true that those who like to drive at demonic speed do so to compensate for their under-accomplishment down there? It's like short people compensating their short stature by having a XXX ego.

This is not sponsoring or organizing a racing series like the Sepang circuit is currently doing. This is creating a team from scratch, with drivers, legions of engineers and mechanics, and building an F1 racing car. Maybe that's where Mokhzani made a mistake- if organizing races doesn't make money, that mistake could have been corrected by having a racing team itself. But since Mokhzani didn't think about it and Tony does, then he should be the main man.

It will be called the 1MF1 team. I wasn't even excited to see pictures of some people 'don't travel without cap' with the PM. Not until, I am beginning to think of the astronomical costs of having a team to race for Malaysia. The former DJ Patrick T, whose baritone voice has enthralled me since school days in his blog Niamah has written about this. Now, coming from a multiracial school, I always thought that niamah is an F word such that, I would like to say- that this formula 1 team idea is a tiu kau scam on the people of Malaysia. I remember my Chinese friends seem to be saying niamah kahai.. all the time and we Malay boys( the naughty ones) will also do that without knowing what the word means.

Rupa rupa nya, the mother of all F word is this F1 idea- of having a team to compete in the actual race. Proton can't even survive on its own- wants to go into this. Naza the AP churner wants to go into this. Air Asia is the main sponsor of this idea. The Malaysian government's form of participation is what? The injection of land as one of the main elements in this investment? Injection of liquid capital and if so how much? This is money coming out from the government. Hoi- lets F1 the development in the kampongs, the urban poor, the disenfranchised, and the dispossessed.

The sponsors of this idea must have someone functioning as a runner bringing the idea to the inner circle of the PM or to one of those government departments tasked with identifying some light at the end of troubled economy tunnel. Let's hope the lights emanating are not those from a Shinkanzen train. This is how big projects get to see the light of day- an idea is hatched, gets sold to an important link that has been cultivated for a long time to worm its way to the PM.

So I thought, I would also 'tiu' this must have a team idea. So how do we react to the news that that Lotus – an arm of Proton Berhad –had beaten off competition from the Swiss-based BMW Sauber to be named as the 13th team to compete in next year's Formula One World Championship. Did we have chop off an arm for the bid? Who bid on behalf of Malaysia? Did we engage a PR team to do our bid? Hence on the 15th of September, on the eve of the date when Malaysia came into existence, news that Malaysia gets to enter as the 13th team on the F1 circuit came. The statement named 1Malaysia F1 Team Sdn Bhd as the owner of the team. The team name is Lotus F1 Team, the country of origin is Malaysia and Team Principal is Tony Fernandez.

The team's future design, R&D, manufacturing and technical centre will be purpose built at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit. What's involved here? Land acquisition to build another circuit? The construction of 6 star hotels to house the moneyed crowd who will come in droves to see the batik car? Maybe the government will give permission to build an amusement park like the one that failed in Germany and maybe even licenced a casino. You know tourists can gamble while waiting for the races. How much land is needed? Will the state government be a part of this investment? Land is theirs anyway and as owner of this capital, it should be made an important partner in this venture. Let's see how the analysts from Selangor government evaluate this idea.

But wait, did we not intend sell Lotus off to some people a few years bad, saying that it was a bad idea? Now we are using the lotus brand in what capacity.

I am sure we can all benefit from this bold move, as F1 is one of the most prestigious and widely televised sporting events in the world and the technologies that go into it are among the world's most sophisticated. We are technology hungry. The technology behind MV Augusta? Not so good. This one, behind formula 1? It's the mother of all technology.

What do we want from having a team? I know people have been most enthusiastic as the tourism-generating potential can be sizeable. But this is primarily a country-branding exercise, an image job. Hence, the Government's involvement in this business proposal.

But the image has been battered not because of it doesn't have a racing team. It has been battered by more down to earth reasons affecting people- good governance, corruption political problems here and there. Those are the sources of our battered image. Yeah- but this is different. Because exposure of this magnitude and over an event known for its glitz and free spending (the maritime equivalent is the America's Cup yacht race) will lend a bit of sophistication to its international image. Take the kampong out from us. Sponsoring a race meet has only taken us out from the kampong. F1 circuit is amateurish. This, a real deal.

The icing on the cake is having our own team- that's like having a real McCoy. It's like having an astronaut actually landing on the moon. The sponsors will have to identify a magnetic figure- to attract the crowd coming in. Maybe Michelle Yeoh can slither her way onto the tracks and bring with her Gongli and others to add to the glitz. It's strictly a spectator sport. F1 had actually been losing a bit of its appeal because one driver, Michael Schumacher, and one team, Ferrari, had been dominating the championship. Mr Schumacher has retired. But no matter.

Questions are raised by some people uncomfortable about excessive use of taxpayers' funds in supporting what essentially is a private business venture headed by Tony Fernandez. What's the government's portion in meeting the costs? RM 100-150 million? Ok, perhaps that can be justified only as tourism promotion. It is big bucks but cities everywhere are spending as much, and more, to get a bigger slice of the travel market.

Which investors would risk millions on a losing proposition? Little is known of the financing details, owing to confidentiality clauses. But the Government should disclose as fully as it can the financial arrangements as the dream team will have to compete in all the circuits in the world. That's money coming out every year.

deschooling UMNO

Written by Sakmongkol on 12:32 AM

UMNO must re-evaluate its modus operandi. Before- it trivialises people, now it finds it must engage them. In an interactive world, UMNO leadership must adopt new operating procedures.

Practise global benchmarking. With whom do we measure up? With Zimbabwe? With East Timor? With basket case countries so that we can console and comfort ourselves into saying we are better? What's the basic cause for this insular and pompous attitude?

For too long UMNO was drowned in its own arrogance nurtured no doubt by its long unchallenged position. It has managed to continue winning against a background of accommodative expectations. Now expectations are different. The people out there, no more mere digits, are starting to embrace the New Nationalism- love for this country underlined by an intense commitment to make it free from parameters such as bad and lousy governance, misdistribution of income, and an equally intense advocacy of things such as rule of law and democracy.

The new nationalism transcends ethnicity. This is the new reality which UMNO must adapt itself to or perish. UMNO must learn from the histories of grand old parties of other countries. The most recent being LDP, Congress party of India, Golkar of Indonesia, French and Italian governments. Equally important it must learn from governments that have managed to stay in power.

On all significant activities such as managing the economy, competitiveness, transparency and other measures of decent living, is this country as good as or better than the best examples inside or outside, anywhere in the world? How does our government compare for example with the little red dot in the south in certain aspects? Ok, we don't want to measure up to Singapore because it reminds us of what could have been provided such and such are in place. Why don't we compare ourselves with other 1st world governments such Switzerland or even Australia? If the answer isn't known, opportunities for great improvement are going begging. It's time for us to stop benchmarking ourselves to 3rd world countries such as Zimbabwe or Papua New Guinea.

Benchmarking involves re-engineering. What does re-engineering mean? The word is the old essential of studying processes from start to finish with the aim of saving time and money and raising effectiveness. How do you make UMNO more effective? Raising effectiveness must also involve raising the quality of leadership across the board- at branch right up to divisions. Reject leadership as a result of being who you are and instead adopt leadership as a result of what you can do. Leaders chosen on the basis of status prefer form to substance, preferring elaborate superfluous processes of pulling ranks. They are always anxious of preserving stature rather than getting things done.

Performance centric leadership redefine quality standards. Certainly, the way branch meetings are held, delegates selected and debates carried out during assemblies can be improved. For example, the party must examine new technology of voting to enable not only a select few to choose leadership, but whole groups of previously sideliners. The process of selecting candidates can be made more objective. Performance can be measured by obejective means rather than relying on prejudicially subjective assessments.

UMNO mustn't be a closeted entity. It must create partnerships. It must embrace the alternative media for instance, which performs the role of 'marketers, suppliers, distributors, subcontractors selling the UMNO Idea.

I was talking to a much respected UMNO veteran who was baffled as to why none in UMNO has seen it fit NOT to press the panic button. UMNO is deteriorating all around and its leaders are in the business as usual mode. Adaptation to new demands is the key mantra and must be pursued with a vengeance. The ends justify the meanness of methods. Shaking up UMNO to its core- reappraisal of its values, its leadership structure, its rapid deployment force, and its response must be carried out urgently. UMNO leadership must learn the concept of compressing time. It must have this sense of urgency which underscores the need to take actions yesterday to accomplish what is required today. Want to carry out reforms on the UMNO constitution? Do it fast and radical. Slowed decisions allow for doubts to creep it and when doubts filter in, procrastination seeps in. The faster, the better. Rapid decisions are generally better than delayed ones - and always better than procrastination.

UMNO must adopt this action mode- Act outside-in. Don't look at the business with the eyes of an insider. How do outsiders - above all customers and suppliers ( rakyat and voters) - regard UMNO? How does UMNO conducts its business, deals with people, with intellectuals, with middle class people and examine what would a man from these rank outsider groups conclude and recommend after surveying the business UMNO carries out with his fresh, unprejudiced eyes? It's most vital to establish the total perception of UMNO.

We come back to what's said at the beginning of my essay. Forget the past. Try living in the past; relying on domestic markets (UMNO support alone) and avoiding transformation in a performance-oriented business that lacks up-to-date technology, it's a wonderful recipe for FAILURE.

Ayurvedic massage to expel MIC’s poison.

Written by Sakmongkol on 8:10 AM


You expect this kind of thing to happen. For a party composed of members who think nothing of throwing chairs and projectiles and one even carrying a coffin to its assembly, this 'kichi mayung' thing is bound to happen. An overzealous MIC member, fed by urgings and maybe signals from top MIC leadership garlanded Tun Dr Mahathir's portrait with slippers.

This is a reflection of the mercurial temperament of MIC leaders. Each year, when Tun Dr Mahathir was PM, we feasted on the highest form of sycophantic adulation- Samy Vellu will hand feed some delicious Indian morsel into Tun M's mouth. Each year, the MIC leader will do that without fail. But then, no one need be surprised of such antics from a person capable of baring his hairy chest and asking another MIC member to fight with him.

Last week, in a blatant attempt to shift blame, Samy Vely stated that the MIC was broken because voters rejected BN. People he said, were not angry at him but at BN. The solution is simple then. If MIC's fortune is injured by being part of BN, then it should take the most honorable step to leave BN.

Then Samy Vellu and other MIC hotheads can test the veracity of Samy Vellu's claim. That MIC can fare better had it not been part of BN. Samy Vellu must take the step to disassociate MIC from a damaged brand. We would like to see, which constituency MIC members can make it on their own.

The BN can suspend MIC to also test Samy's claim. The BN has the responsibility not to impose its weakness on such an esteemed party representing an important group in Malaysia. Those who no longer have faith in BN's political philosophy should take the step of leaving it.

We have no reason to doubt the truth of Samy Vellu's claim. That MIC can best represent Malaysian Indian's interest even without being part of BN.

PM Najib can take this opportunity by dropping all the MIC members of cabinet and ministers not in cabinet from his team. Drop the MIC minister and the two deputy ministers. BN is only hampering its effectiveness to perform for the Malaysian Indians. BN and UMNO don't have to take insult from Samy Vellu and MIC. Ask them to leave the government temporarily sahaja to allow them to regain the confidence of Malaysian Indians. Surely, MIC's members of parliament and ADUNs can contribute without having the power of official positions.

This is a most practical way to help Samy Vellu and MIC to concentrate of effectively representing the Malaysian Indians. Why be part of a team that only slows you down and had caused irreparable damage to MIC. Why allow such shame be imposed on you by a discredited BN?

As a responsible senior partner, UMNO must assist MIC to overcome its misery.

But then, suppose the Malaysian Indians say, this is Samy Vellu. He does not represent the sobriety of an ethnic group proud of thousand years cultural heritage and the great Indian civilization. That Samy Vellu's brand of leadership which permits an incident such as this and other embarrassing episodes is but a grievous anomaly which does not reflect any aspect of Indian cultural heritage. Then as people proud of its thousand years civilization, the Malaysian Indians and MIC must do the next best thing- throw Samy Vellu out.

The 10-points Strategy for UMNO

Written by Sakmongkol on 9:53 PM

The 'key strategic policies for future UMNO success', are...

1. Forget the past. Many people persist in the belief that the past will be the future. It won't. The past offers valuable guidance - but strategy derives far more benefit from full and proper understanding of the present. The present is different. The voters are a thinking public. They want to be engaged with reason, respect. They are interested in things that affect their lives. Their priorities are different. They value things like integrity, efficiency, intelligence, credibility. These are the parameters of the New Nationalism. Its love for the idea of Malaysia free from bad governance, free from political arrogance, free from prejudices, a commitment to the rule of law, democracy and so forth. They measure the government by these parameters. The government must recognise these and adapt. If it doesn't adapt, it will become extinct. In the past, these were not priorities. Expectations were lower.

2. Think global. No domestic political market is big enough to support large strategic ambitions - now that boundaries are becoming meaningless, are well advised to look beyond their own shores to bigger markets. The boundaries defined by absolutes such as all things Malay only , all things Chinese. All things Indian and all that, are not sufficient to allow UMNO to exist under the New Nationalism. UMNO's philosophy must be inclusive and can no longer confine itself with purely Malay centric issues.

3. UMNO must recognise that internal change must be drastic. Dr Mahathir says, surgery must be invasive to snip any malignant tumour. UMNO needs transformation, not reformation. Transformation means internal changes. They go deeper than reformasi- which is just reconstituted forms. That's what you would seek in crisis: act radically now, and there won't be a crisis. UMNO must carry out radical reforms. If it changes its constitution, don't do half hearted measures. You want 60,000 delegates to elect their leaders? Do it in a stadium then. If demonstrations can be allowed in stadiums, UMNO Assembly can too. Demand high standards of leaders starting from branch levels. It's discomforting to have a school jagas as the UMNO ketua Cawangans. Why can't we demand higher standards? Do we define UMNO by measures of mediocrity?

4. UMNO must operate its political business based on knowledge and information, not things. UMNO's struggles and achievements should not be defined only in terms of hardware- how many schools, mosques built, how many bridges, how long are the roads etc. PAS didn't build as much as UMNO, yet its support remain constant. Because it leverages on the software. Learn from those in the IT business. Hardware gets outdated in a jiffy. The business endures if you leverage on 2 things- people and intellectual capital. Wake up please, UMNO requires intelligent people to carry its ideals. For too long, UMNO has staked its future on the hail fellow well met types. Good in the past, not for the future.

5. UMNO must be an information-based organisation. You need to be ahead on issues and articulate them across a wide spectrum of audience. Presently, UMNO people don't do this. They think it sufficient to communicate with UMNO members. They ignore the wider public. What are UMNO ideals? What does UMNO fight for? Information on these are not passed on. As a result, people see UMNO as a club for thieves and philanderers. Every single UMNO leader at all levels must be articulate enough to inform the public.

6. But it's important for UMNO to retain and nurture its core competencies. Concentrate on core competencies in its businesses. This is an important element in the writings of management consultants like Gary Hamel and Prahalad. We must ask ourselves: What are we really good at. Ignore those sniggers. Having established that, make sure you're not just good, but the very best at the activities that really drive our business.

7. Reduce organisational levels. We are almost OK. A responsive and nimble organisation should have only three layers: top management, executive management, and all the self-managers below, aided by expertise managers. Can we justify any further layers? If not, axe them. We have the MKT, the Perhubungan Negeri, the Ketua Bahagian, Ketua Cawangan. Perhaps we remove the Perhubungan Negeri. Why do we need them? That would mean voices direct from the base reach the top leadership faster and directly. We don't want sanitised and edited information.

8. This is important. The statement 'empower your employees' translates into empower your Ketua Cawangans because they form the majority of UMNO members at leadership level. The Ketua Cawangans have many times pointed to their superiors, the value created by devolving authority to individuals and teams which have the resources to take decisions and responsibility at the frontline. It's plainly the only sensible way to manage Ketua Cawangans and also by far the best way for them to manage others.

9. Another important step is to provide continuous, lifelong self-improvement programmes. It cannot be gainsaid that the better educated you and your people are - not just in necessary expertise, but in thinking, reading and learning skills - the better our business will be managed. At present, UMNO members' quality is laughable.

10. Enlarge our talent pool and manage talent. Attracting, motivating and retaining the best people you can find is fundamental. Remember, however, they are only as good as their environment, their development and their powers. One in, we nurture them, don't stifle their development. People are tired of seeing the same tired faces. UMNO must begin its transformation into a nimble and responsive organisation peopled by intelligent resources. Again, I say, the age of the hail fellow well met type is over. You don't want UMNO leaders spending time at warung kopis all the time do you? The dangdut dilettantes? UMNO is a political party- not an excuse to party all night.

Che Det

Khairy Jamaluddin