Monday, December 05, 2011

CT Ali on the Politics of Transformation, Reformation and Deformity

Najib Tun Razak reminds me of the little boy who wants to be liked and does all he can to please everyone. He is for 1Malaysia. He is for Ketuanan Melayu. And he insists, without showing how, that the two are compatible. In the process, he antagonizes both the Malays and non-Malays.

He has seen it fit to embark upon a zealous path of transforming and reforming, riding his high horse like a crusading avenger hell bent upon eliminating any restriction on our civil liberties and any barrier that will prevent our people from developing their minds. Or so it seems. He would like us all to believe that he at last has heard what the rakyat wants and now wants to do their bidding.

Suddenly, in 2011, our students have become mature and responsible enough to dabble in politics. Suddenly, the ISA is no longer necessary and the PPPA is an anachronism from a dark age.

He runs full tilt into this reforming zeal without understanding that one’s enemy sometimes gives one enough rope to hang oneself. Amazingly, he apparently cannot tell that he has already taken enough rope.

He speaks of transforming and reforming, but he in fact deforms. The Peaceful Assembly Bill is a case in point. If he had taken the effort to work out what the rakyat really want, then he would have spared himself the insult of being told that his proposal is more draconian then what Mynmar is doing.

So what does he do now? He was already basking in the glory of announcing the bill, with grand assurances of grand intentions. Now he realises that it is easy to announce initiatives but hard to make them happen.

So he tweaks them, like one would tweak the carburetor of a car. But the last carburetor car stopped production in the early 1990s.

And this is the problem with Najib. He thinks of the 1990s when people are already in the 21st century. The ISA, PPPA and the law that violated our right to assemble should have been jettisoned well before the turn of the century.

So Najib is playing catch up. But will UMNO let him?What I would like to know is who advises Najib? Who looks at the pros and cons of introducing the Peaceful Assembly Bill and all the other initiatives he has announced?

I do not need Lim Kit Siang or Anwar to tell me that these are not really initiatives, but simply Najib playing to the gallery of voters. There is no need for a court challenge or a walk by a group of lawyers to tell me that the Peaceful Assembly Bill is another one of those poorly configured moves that are heavy on PR and zilch on substance.

Living the moment

Doesn't anybody tell Najib that he is making of himself look foolish when he replaces a draconian legislation with another draconian one? I would have thought that at least Idris Jala would have put his hands up and say, “Excuse me Datuk Seri, but I think we need to go through that PA Bill again.” Or is he too busy plugging up leaks?

Najib seems oblivious to what is happening around him because he lives with the moment. He does not understand that he cannot be all things to all people. And you cannot please everybody. A leader does what is right and does it right. He leads.

Najib has a blog. I have one too, and I know the amount of work required to make it relevant and interesting to people who you hope will read what you write. How much time does Najib spend on his blog? I think not enough to write even one article a week. And he says he talks to us through his blog. He even sends me emails to inform me about what is happening on his blog.

Should I be grateful for this or should I see it for what it really is: a cheap shot at “connecting” with us bloggers and the rest of the Internet community. It insults my intelligence. It is yet another attempt by the Najib to seen as Mr Cool, and I am sure it costs the rakyat money. No, you are not cool, Mr Prime Minister. You are wasting our time and our money for no gain to you or to us.

Najib is caught up in lies of his own making. He pretends to be a blogger when he obviously is not. He makes himself believe that he is connecting with the young when what he is he truly doing is acting out the instructions of his PR people.

Now this is what really worries me. If what we see are the best of Najib’s efforts –after all, you must put forward your best effort for public consumption—what happens in the Cabinet? Do they take collective responsibility for stupidity?

All this depresses me. A Prime Minister like Najib depresses because it says much for what we have become. Are we in fact a nation prepared to accept a Prime Minister as bland as an unsweetened tofufa?

Like Pak Lah, Najib is no orator, though he tries. Like Pak Lah, Najib allows the interests of family and cronies to override those of the nation he governs. But Pak Lah was never tempted to hold onto to being prime minister any longer then what he perceived was his time to serve. Leaving Putrajaya was easy for Pak Lah. It will not be so for Najib.

The Pak Lah lesson

Putrajaya is a sanctuary for Najib from his past follies. He needs Putrajaya and that is why he does what he does. He must remain in Seri Perdana. If it requires him to skip the light fandango, he will do so.

Meanwhile, he nervously awaits the 13th general election. He is not nervous not for the fate of UMNO or Barisan Nasional, but for what it will bring him once the lady sings. Can you remember Najib nervously wiping his perspiring face while making his RM$5 million offer to the people of Sibu to vote for BN not too long ago?

Well, he is sweating buckets at the thought of the general election because he knows he goes into battle with Pakatan Rakyat, backed by an UMNO that will only be too pleased to see him fall.UMNO is not forgiving of leaders who cannot deliver what they require to continue having their way with our country. Ask Pak Lah.

CT Ali is a FMT columnist and blogger.

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