Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Khairy Jamaludin: Transformation by the Transitional Generation

I must confess that I am moved to analyse some parts of YB Khairy Jamaludin’s speech this time because, for a change, it is not rhetoric and more importantly, it contains various messages and analysis which I think we should think about.

On Rapera, since 2008, I have been advocating radical changes in the political landscape that will leave behind the old, inefficient and almost intelligence insulting ways of doing things. I have actually been advocating transformation in political thought since early 2000. I have spoken about these ideals to many politicians on both sides of the political divide. I do not think many understood nor were interested. They exhibited greater concern for political pragmatism.

Hence, it is refreshing when the UMNO Youth Chief said this in his speech at the UMNO Assembly recently: 

“In the history of human civilisation, there have been moments depicting transformation grounded in generational transitions. I believe a generational transition happens when change or transformation is not limited to new policies or new faces. More significantly, it ushers in an era of visionary leaders ahead of their time, who strive for profound transformations that lay to rest old norms and practices”.

Rightly, it is profound transformations that Malaysia needs today in the political arena. After more than 50 years of independence, the Rakyat is rightly fed up with feudalistic political behaviours. Khairy correctly analysed what he calls the generational transition” has taken place and that “President, YAB Dato’ Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak is the first to have been brought up in the post-Independence era. It thus comes as little surprise that he understands that an epochal change is now occurring.” Some ideas do not come into fruition until such a transitional change takes place and it has in the person of Najib Tun Razak.

It is no secret that I am an ardent supporter of 1Malaysia. I was even concerned that Najib may not have the political courage to announce the policy, as admittedly, it has political risks for him within UMNO. Events have proven that Najib not only announced it but he is serious in developing it as the policy foundation of the Nation. Further, there has been much liberalization of democratic space under Najib’s government in line with the changes in the current generation. As Khairy, again, rightly pointed out:

On the question of politics, the old worldview contained a simple logic: might is right. Force and might underpinned our actions in the past. When faced with problems, our immediate response was to arrest and jail people. When confronted with challenges, we literally “banned” them. This Cold War mentality might have served as well in decades gone by but the realities of the present demand a more measured and transparent approach. As a reflection of this approach, the Government will amend Section 15 of the UUCA to open the space for students to participate in politics. In my view, this is a bold step born out of a strong leadership committed to the change agenda”.

Any politician who is more concerned with preservation of power will not be bold enough to do away with draconian laws thinking that such legal powers can be used to quash political dissent. However, world view today has changed and this requires leaders who are able to cope and emphatise with this new world view. I agree with Khairy when he says “It would be fair to say that the Government Transformation Program and the New Political Model underlined by YAB President would not be possible without this new worldview. It is a new perspective requiring us to be bolder, more mature and more confident in facing the challenges that come with this new reality”.  Times have indeed changed and this is the opportunity to embark on true radical political reforms that will benefit the Rakyat and encourage transparent, efficient, intelligent  and ethical political behaviours.

Notwithstanding the reforms that Najib is bringing to the country, I share the same reservations about UMNO members that Khairy seems to have eloquently elucidated:

In this context, I want to stress the importance of fully appreciating the meaning and implication of these concepts of generational transition and new worldview, as well as the philosophy that underpin them. It is utterly pointless to merely clap and cheer at the Prime Minister’s every announcement without understanding its rationale and purpose. Our support for progressive measures like the abolishment of ISA must be based on a deep appreciation of the demands of the new worldview, and not for the sake of sucking up to leaders”.

I have known, for a long time, that there are many capable, efficient and idealistic “1Malaysia” leaders in UMNO way before 1Malaysia came into the picture. However, these leaders who are truly Malaysian in spirit and in conduct have been suppressed from rising by the older generation “cold war” leaders who are caught up with the feudalistic political thoughts and conduct. It is therefore important that UMNO members understand the rationale and the purpose of the PM’s transformation programmes because it actually requires a major paradigm shift in one’s political outlook. 

It is actually irritating that some UMNO “has-been” leaders are being stumbling blocks to the radical changes that the PM is advocating. These old ways of thinking and the culture that “WAS”, stifles mental development in UMNO converting any creative young leader back into old age. Khairy echoed my thoughts when he said it thus; “Otherwise, we will be young in age, but ancient in mentality. This is no time to be cheerleaders who express enthusiatic support without knowing why we do so”.  I must however add that there are some young people in UMNO today who really behave old thinking that is the correct political behavior in UMNO!!! This has to change.

The other interesting parts of his speech concerns the systematic attempts by various parties to destroy key institutions of the Nation. I was actually wondering when some political leader was going to speak on this.  There is a big difference between being critical of our institutions and undermining them. For example.  you may be critical of the  judiciary but you do not encourage the culture of breaking the prison walls. 

I find it pleasing that the UMNO Youth Chief’s speech, though delivered at the UMNO and hence Malay forum, it is Malaysian in nature. This should be the way as UMNO had always been the backbone of the Barisan Nasional Government which had served Malaysians irrespective of race or religion.  There is none of racial overtones or rhetoric which dominated the 2008 assembly. 

Looks like the UMNO delagtes have taken the “que” from the party President – be 1Malaysian ! Racial and religious politics is outdated for now and highly repugnant. 

Well done Khairy. I hope you will be consistent with your views.