And when the World Bank paints a dire situation of the brain drain, the government says no such thing. And when Malaysia drops a few notches down the corruption index, the apologists at Pemandu get to work.
Basically, everyone is downplaying the real situation. In similar vein, the Umno MP Nur Jazlan Mohamed talks about his party being at the crossroads. I have to disagree with his conclusion though I agree with many of the points he raised about his anemic party.
He noted that there was little substance or enlightenment during the party’s assembly and instead of discussing real reasons why Malay support for Umno has dwindled, party delegates were more interested in blaming others.
If someone or an organisation is at the crossroads, the main assumption is that the individual or organisation realises that things cannot go on like business as usual. There is introspection, examination of conscience and honest appraisal of how things are and the way forward.
There has been no such ethos in Umno for more than two decades. The party is about the rich getting richer and power grabbing. To borrow a phrase currently in vogue in Russia, it has become a party of scoundrels and thieves.
The crossroads were passed a long time ago. They were passed during the Mahathir era when joining Umno became a passport to enrich oneself and amass government largesse. They were passed during the Abdullah era when the party president crouched and shrank from the challenge of reforming the country and its institutions in the face of backlash from Umno.
Malaysia has gone even deeper into the backwaters during the Najib years where Umno has adopted and embraced the most right wing voices in the country.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Umno is not at the crossroads; it has regressed much further. And that lot we saw at the party assembly don’t look capable of doing much, let alone reforming themselves.
* Ali Kadir reads The Malaysian Insider.