Sidelining the MCA while appointing Waythamoorthy in the latest cabinet line-up reflects a politics of selfish expediency undertaken by a confused PM, says K Haridas.
The Prime Minister has announced his Ministerial team. It is fair to assume that he has given much thought to this formation balancing support and needs in the hope that they will deliver on his promises. This is his team and he cannot claim that he has inherited this group.
Does his new line up signify any change in direction? Does this respond to the aspirations on the ground where he has received a thrashing? With gerrymandering he has secured only six seats more than the Opposition but lost the popular vote by nearly 5 per cet in Peninsular Malaysia.
Naturally with Sabah and Sarawak delivering 47 seats to BN, they have great expectations. I am yet to see what difference this is providing. If Sabah and Sarawak do not take this opportunity and get what they duly deserve in terms of both power and finances, they would remain fixed deposits that do little to alleviate the plight of the people in these states.
If 1Malaysia is Najib’s continued Vision statement and this represents the guiding principles of the Barisan Nasional (BN), then how has this guided his decision? The very fact that the MCA can decide not to have representation in the Cabinet nor to hold ministerial positions reveals that the MCA is stronger than BN as a whole.
What coalition is Najib actually leading? Is the BN one party with one vision or is it several parties giving lip service to one vision?
This highlights a major shortcoming in how the BN operates. Surely the decision by the MCA must be subject to the decision of the BN’s governing council. Could the BN not have overruled this decision in the interest of the coalition as a whole? Why is the MCA taking responsibility for what should be the responsibility of the BN as a whole? The MCA has suffered because of the policies of the BN and not just because of the MCA’s positions. They stood for elections under the BN logo.
The serious erosion of support for many of the constituent parties of the BN can be attributed to the arrogance of Umno. The words of the newly installed Home Minister is a case in point – a highly insensitive and arrogant response. Is the MCA responsible for his utterances?
In the end, it is all about leadership and party discipline and this is where the PM fails badly. He has not uttered a word.
If Umno is the lead party in the BN then it has to take the can and be held accountable and responsible for the losses suffered by the constituent parties within the coalition. To point your fingers and blame others and to make racial slants about other communities is to be racist. Is this not what 1Malaysia is suppose to transcend?
With discredited leaders like Chua and spineless leaders like Palanivel and Koh, what can you expect but Malay hegemony under the guise of the BN? Umno by sidelining the MCA has done a great disservice to an important component party and revealed its own agenda.
Does Najib not see this reality as a leader? This was one opportunity for Umno to be generous and stand by its long time ally and it failed miserably. Race blinds people and narrows their outlook.
Why are the leaders of the component parties afraid to stand up and be counted? Well, this is what titles, money and facilities can do. They rob individuals of their spine and their convictions. Soon Waytha and Paul Low will follow in this tradition, having mortgaged whatever little reputation they may have.
Many corporate organisations have vision and mission statements. It is like the Chairman who called his Human Resource Manager to enquire about what had happened to the vision statement that had been hanging in his office for the past decade and was now gone missing. “Find out if anyone remembers it so that we can reproduce it.” Often the link between the vision and the reality of decision-making is non-existent or weak. This only breeds cynicism.
What is the rational for appointing Waytha as a Deputy Minister without due consultations with the MIC? While it is the prerogative of the PM to appoint his Cabinet and ministers surely some measure of respect and courtesy is called for in the way you treat constituent parties within your coalition. Hindraf represents another pressure group not much different from Dong Jiao Zong or Perkasa. Such pressure and lobby groups are part of the landscape of democracy.
However if you believe in 1Malaysia, then you would not extend such a position to Waytha, who does not represent the interest of all Malaysians, whose Hindraf is now splintered; how does this clarify what 1Malaysia is all about?
A confused PM with no clarity about what he stands for will dither and make decisions that do not serve his interests or the larger interest of the Malaysian community. His politics is driven purely by expediency and self interest.
One good thing Najib can do immediately is to get all his ministers and deputy ministers to study the Vision Statement of 1 Malaysia. This would help prevent the spread of ‘foot and mouth’ disease amongst his cabinet ministers and deputy ministers. Perhaps transformation at this level by Idris Jala may be a good beginning.