Tuesday, September 23, 2008

THE BARISAN NASIONAL II


As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at www.chedet.com on September 22, 2008 1:52 PM

1. When the Barisan Nasional did very badly in the March 2008 general elections, all the component parties except those in Sabah and Sarawak experienced losses as they had never done before.

2. In the aftermath of the elections, the component parties pointed accusing fingers at each other. Very quickly they were at each other's throats.

3. There were talks about leaving the BN. And now we are seeing the first party to do so and to become an independent party.

4. Where before all parties avoided raising sensitive issues in public, now in the name of democracy and liberalism sensitive issues are brought up in which the component parties of the BN make known the differences in their view. The result is to widen the divide separating the BN component parties.

5. When Ahmad Ismail made unpalatable remarks about the Chinese, it was made out that it was the view of UMNO itself. Far from denying it, the UMNO leadership accepted the blame and apologised. This solved nothing as the Chinese parties refused to accept the apology but demanded the culprit himself should apologise.

6. He refused and UMNO whose president heads the Government suspended Ahmad for three years. This may satisfy some Chinese but almost immediately the Government arrested a Chinese MP under ISA. The effects of Ahmad's suspension have been nullified.

7. Now the Malays are angry with the Chinese and the Chinese are angry with the Malays. Party-wise UMNO is angry with Gerakan and MCA and Gerakan/MCA are angry with UMNO.

8. Threats to leave the BN are made by the Chinese parties, not just because of Ahmad's refusal to apologise but also because of the impression that they are subservient to UMNO. They believe that the failure of Chinese voters to vote for them was due to this junior position they hold in BN. To correct this impression they found it necessary to take pot shots at UMNO and defy the BN leadership.

9. Privately UMNO, MCA Gerakan and MIC express their dislike of Dato Seri Abdullah and his Premiership. But none seem willing to acknowledge that it was dislike for Abdullah which caused the BN to lose the support of the people. Instead they picked on the parties and blame each other.

10. At the rate things are going the BN might split asunder. If each party go their separate ways, none would become a force in Malaysian politics and certainly none, not even UMNO, can aspire to form the Government of Malaysia. Of course they can all join the Opposition under Anwar, but they would still play a subservient role in the Opposition. In any case the Opposition withi its ideological incompatibility would not make a good Government, capable of handling Malaysia's multi-racial population. It is difficult to think that the hodge-podge collection of incompatible parties can handle oncoming economic and financial problems that are inevitable.

11. The stability of this country has been undermined by the weakness and incompetence of the current Government and the harsh bickering between the Government parties. A Government by the Opposition is not going to be any better and probably would be worse.

12. Currently we are seeing the loss of confidence in the ability of the Government to deal with economic problems. Foreign investors are not coming and together with locals are pulling out their investments in the stock market. From a high of almost 1500 the index is now below 1000. God knows how much market capital has been wiped out.

13. The Ringgit is depreciating and may shrink further. The cost of living has shot up. Businesses are having a hard time already. The recent decision to tax excess profits of the Independent Power Producers has caused foreign investors and locals too to lose confidence. The tax has now been withdrawn but not for the first year. This alone would put the IPPs in trouble with their banks.

14. In at least one case a foreign investor has been given back his deposit of almost 100 million Ringgit because allegedly there was some technical error.

15. I once said Malaysia as a multi-racial country needs a strong government. Multi-racial countries have to face race relation problems. With the need to handle racial problems, the managment of the economy becomes extremely difficult.

16. I cannot see the Opposition with its loose organisation being able to handle Malaysia's racial and economic problems.

17. In the past, the BN Government had managed to keep Malaysia stable and to develop the country as well. If it seems not to be able to do so now it is not because the BN as a party is no longer suitable for this country. It is simply due to very poor and incompetent leadership.

18. The component parties of the BN should not think that their best hope is to see the demise of the BN. Rather they should all come together to resuscitate it. If it is necessary to dump the leader than they should do so. But destroying the BN will neither be good for the component parties nor for the nation.

19. I am not an UMNO member even but I would like to suggest the component parties should stop blaming each other, stop taking pot-shots at each other. Instead they should all come together and review the structure of BN. They should try for a win-win or lose-lose solution in dealing with inter-party relations. They should listen to the people and to their own members and find ways to satisfy their needs; to overcome their dissatisfaction.

20. There must be some new thinking on the BN concept. But the basic premises about close collaboration between the parties, about the need to help each other, to accommodate and deal with grouses together should be maintained.

21. I believe that for this multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural country with extreme economic disparities, the BN is still the best political solution provider. It is still the best way for the different races to cooperate to govern this country.

22. As the Malays say "Because of one drop of indigo, a whole pot of milk is spoilt."

23. We must not throw out the baby with the bath water.

24. The BN is still relevant. It is still the ideal coalition for Malaysia's multi-racial population.