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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dr M's UMNO BARU: The real reason why Malays are 'BEGGARS in their own land'?



If the allusion by Mahathir Mohamad that Malays have become “beggars in their own land” and Najib Razak is “too weak” as prime minister is right then it must be all because of UMNO Baru and its leaders. The three leaders that helmed UMNO Baru and the country since 1981 must be blamed for this ordeal.
Out of these three leaders, Mahathir should take the greater part of the blame as he was the longest serving prime minister in the history of the nation. His 22 years as prime minister failed to change the mindset of majority Malays.
Mahathir seems to be afflicted with another psychological disorder and this time it is the syndrome of blaming all others accept him for the plight of the poor and marginalised Malays. Now, for tactical reasons, he is hinting that Malays have become “beggars” in the country when other races are favoured and making headway under the country’s Malay-centric economic policies.
Politically connected
Mahathir pretends to ignore the plights of other marginalised Malaysians who have also become “beggars” in the country.
For the past 32 years, UMNO Baru leaders have cited the Malays the same line of rhetoric that the party is there to help the Malays. But during this time UMNO Baru has only built up a group of “UMNOputras” who are rich leaving majority Malays in an economic lurch.
In this privileged group are the “untouchables”, politicians and business cronies close to UMNO Baru.
And these cronies also include the non-Malays who have played their political cards well. In fact, among those who have benefitted most from UMNO Baru’s economic policies are those from all races who are politically connected to the party and Barisan.
It’s all in the name of an economy that breeds capitalism, nepotism and cronyism.
The culture of money politics, corruption, nepotism and cronyism has muddied UMNO Baru. These symptoms are evident all because of the party being too long in power; leaders who are becoming more arrogant and they taking for granted that majority Malays can be bamboozled forever.
Shying away from UMNO Baru
Majority Malays today have come to realise this mistake made by UMNO Baru. And this has pushed Najib into dejections. The disenchanted Malays are shying away from UMNO Baru seeing all the economic injustice, bickering and power struggle going on in the party.
They observe UMNO Baru as a party filled with opportunists from the top level to the Ketua Kampung (Village head) appointed by the party. UMNO Baru is more seen by the rakyat as a vehicle for office seekers to make money than to help the poor Malays.
“UMNO Baru is all about money today. Every member is jostling among them to hold posts in the party. Money exchange hands when members go for party posts. They know by having access to these posts they can make money,” said a former UMNO lawmaker.
“An aspiring UMNO member will sabotage the party if he or she does not get to hold posts in the party. Even at the lowest level of the party hierarchy it’s all about money. By becoming a Ketua Bahagian (Branch Head), there will be projects coming in. It’s the gravy train that every UMNO member wants to ride on,” he added.
It was Mahathir who started this “culture of money and easiness” in UMNO Baru and this is now rotting the party. But Mahathir being a political chameleon has this habit of being defensive, twisting issues to favour him and blaming others for the fate of the Malay race today.
He seldom touches on the fate of the poor Orang Asal, Indians or Chinese. To Mahathir, it’s all Malay problems as he knew well which side of the bread was buttered when he ventured into politics.  However, he never made serious attempts to make the Malay race compete with the other races in education or the economy either.
It was only the “crutch mentality” that he managed to successfully instil among majority Malays.
Blaming Najib
Throughout Mahathir’s career in active politics and as prime minister of the country he only managed to widen the economic gap within the Malay community through capitalist economy.  He also did less to alleviate poverty among the Orang Asal, Indians and the poor Chinese.
And today he is blaming Najib for not doing much for the Malays and conceding to the demands of the non-Malays. The blame game is part of Mahathir’s political psyche to cover up his weaknesses or possibly a ruse to get votes for UMNO Baru.
During Mahathir’s tenure as premier he created a few Malays to become filthy rich – many of whom only lived to see their businesses collapse during the 1998 financial crisis. He went about creating a bubble economy that burst during the crisis resulting in many bumi entrepreneurs see the companies they helmed crumble.
Mahathir was given 22 years to change the value system of the Malays but he floundered. He chose a short-cut mode in creating a few rich Malays neglecting majority Malays. His “crutch- to-stand” approach to build up the Malay race has left majority Malays not being able to compete with the more robust and hardworking non-Malay entrepreneurs.
To an extent, he only managed to build a capitalist economy with the help of the non-Malays and get a few Malays into big time businesses. The Ali-Baba and sub-contracting sorts of business really flourished then and still exist today.
Rich and poor Malays
22 years of his failed policies saw the income gap between the rich and poor Malays widen. Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first prime minister, only helmed the country for 13 years (1957-1970), Abdul Razak Hussein, the second prime minister, for six years (1970-1976), Hussein Onn, the third prime minister, 5 years (1976 -1981) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the fifth prime minister,  6 years (2003-2009) and Najib, the sixth prime minister,  just about 3 years.
The man who stayed in power longest as prime minister was Mahathir himself. Yet he could not make majority Malays change their value system and get them off the “crutch mentality”.
Lee Kuan Yew stayed on as chief of Singapore for three decades (1959-1990) – only about 8 years more than Mahathir’s tenure as prime minister of Malaysia. Singapore left the Malaysian Federation in 1965. And the republic today has become a success story due to Lee’s past political and economic acumen.
Between the two political figures – Mahathir and Lee there is a huge difference in managing politics, the economy and the nation. Lee first embarked on changing the mindset of the people of Singapore including the Malays – they could do this in a nation of multi-racial population.
This was done through the education system. Children in Singapore generally grew up in a multi-racial school system that has English as its lingua franca.  The Malays are made to compete and no “crutch mentality” is encouraged in the land.
Mahathir under Lee’s shadow
Today, Malays in Singapore live a relatively better life than majority of the Malays in Malaysia. This success of Singapore has put Mahathir under Lee’s shadow.
Lee has made Singapore a prosperous country. The Chinese, Malays, Indians, Indian Muslims and the Arabs in Singapore respect Lee as a statesman. The people of Singapore do not bicker over religion, race or creed in building their nation. They consider this a waste of time.
Just observe the successful Malays from Singapore. Many Singapore Malays are studying in many Malaysian colleges and the college principals will testify to the fact that Singapore Malays studying here are exemplary students. They have no inferiority complex, speak Malay, fluent English and many could also speak Mandarin.
These are progressive Malays Singapore has created. Of course there are Malays who are not doing that well in the Island. But proportionately there are more Malays living in poverty in Malaysia than in Singapore and there are more Malays involved in many social problems in Malaysia than in Singapore.
The success story of Singapore is attributed to their human resource; they value education, avoid the “crutch mentality” and depend on a world-class education system.
Privileged over others
Mahathir adopted capitalism as his economic trademark. He managed to create a few Malay billionaires and millionaires which of course include his sons. In most cases these capitalist Malays were created through an “on-the- platter” economic system.
They were privileged over others but many had failed to live up to their reputations as entrepreneurs.
Many companies they handled went broke but they as individuals became rich. Billions of ringgit – Petronas and taxpayers’ money – was expended on bailing out companies that went into the red during and after his tenure as prime minister.
It boils down to the mindset and their value system. Because of the new economic policy and Mahathir’s appetite to see many rich Malays it all became a monopolistic capitalism with favouritism. Government projects were given on the platter to cronies and individuals under negotiated tenders.
22 years is a long period of time and yet Mahathir failed to uplift the economy of majority Malays. Majority Malays are still among the poorest in the country. And they are now in the same class with the poor Orang Asal, Indians and Chinese.
Stuffing majority Malays into the government service has failed the mindset of the race to struggle and compete like the Chinese in the business world to survive. Mahathir entrenched this “makan gaji” (wage earners) mentality among the Malays as a legacy – not for economic reasons but political expediency.
The civil service has been turned into a vote vault for UMNO Baru but then there is no guarantee today that government servants will continue voting for UMNO Baru.
The education system is not helping the Malay race either. Mahathir was more famous for his flip-flop education policy that the present administration is emulating. Many educationists still believe that the present education system cannot change the value system of majority Malays.  .
On Najib being too “weak”
The failure of the Malays after 55 years of independence is much attributed to Mahathir. He had all the time to do the needful to help the race but failed in his mission. He has not only disappointed the Malays but also the marginalised poor Orang Asal, Indians and Chinese.
His comments on Najib being too “weak” as prime minister to help the Malays just because the other races are demanding more from him is now affecting the latter’s reliability as a leader for the Malays in UMNO Baru.
The signs are already on the wall that Najib may soon face the fate of Abdullah – his predecessor. Those aspiring to replace Najib are now rubbing shoulders with the “Grand Old Man” to secure some luck.  Mahathir seems not too pleased with UMNO of today – the UMNO Baru he created in 1988 after the judicial crisis that saw UMNO declared as an illegal entity.
He now seems to claim the the Malays are not gaining much from the present leadership – Najib. Many UMNO Baru members too are aware of the predicament faced by the present leadership who is more interested in building up his image then delivering for the nation and the Malays in particular.
But Najib’s unpopularity cannot be solely blamed on his predecessor, Abdullah. Neither can Najib blame the people who are not supporting him. And as luck would have it, those who do not support him are many UMNO Baru members.
Inherited from Mahathir
Mahathir as a seasoned politician has this habit of not keeping his mouth shut. He must have a reason to open his mouth when it comes to Najib. He feels that Najib is too “weak” a leader. But then Najib’s weaknesses are also because of the legacy he has inherited from Mahathir who had helmed the country for 22 years.
Of course, Najib too has his baggage to handle and he has to build up his image tirelessly in order to survive in the 13th general election.
Mahathir once blamed Tunku and Hussein for being “weak” as leaders.  Then he blamed Abdullah the same – the person he personally chose as prime minister after he was forced to quit as prime minister in 2003. And now he is describing Najib as “weak” and not attending to the Malays that much.
But did Mahathir attend to the poor Malays when he was at the helm or was he only interested in creating a capitalist economy by creating a few Malay billionaires that included his sons?
Blaming others is typical of Mahathir. He has condemned almost every leader in the past and present as inefficient. And now Najib has become his victim.  This in a way has made Mahathir unpopular among the Malays and for this reason too he has become a liability to UMNO Baru and Barisan when he tries to talk more than Najib ahead of the 13th general election.
There is always a choice for the people
Nonetheless, Mahathir has now successfully made Najib reel under his shadow. Mahathir has made Najib’s popularity taking a further dip. This is going to badly dent UMNO Baru and Barisan’s chances in the coming general election.
Well, there is always a choice for the people now. They can choose either Pakatan or Barisan to lead the country in the 13th general election.
Malaysia Chronicle

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