Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Demands and Pressure Prevail

Analysts Feel BN Harping on Trivia than Tackling Important Issues

By Noor Hayati Muda - BERNAMA
October 23, 2008 14:49 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 (Bernama) -- Political observers feel that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) is harping on trivial issues instead of more important matters such as tackling money politics, picking the right leaders and working hard to win back the support the coalition lost in the March 8 general election.

The analysts regard as inconsequent, for the moment, the proposal to turn the coalition into a single multiracial party or even restructuring it. Prof Dr Ahmad Atory Hussein of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) said restructuring the top posts in the BN supreme council would not bring any significant impact in the coalition or to the rakyat (people) in general.

"To me this is trivia. I understand they want to get the support from their own people but I don't think this will benefit the masses in general. "After all, the top posts in the BN are merely in name only as all decisions are made based on consensus regardless of their posts in the supreme council," said lecturer of the university's Public Administration and Law Faculty.

He said the BN was established based on understanding without a legally binding constitution. "It doesn't matter who sits where as those in the supreme council are actually on equal footing. Umno was given the chair and deputy chair seats based on the understanding that it is the largest party, and it remains so today," he said.

Dr Ahmad Atory said BN leaders should instead be focusing on the more vital issue of winning back the people's confidence. "They really need to go back and study the whole situation and find the root cause of the problem, then come up with brilliant ideas to really help the coalition woo back voters in the next general election. "You can get your own party members' support but, at the end of day, what matters is the masses," he said.

Dr Ahmad Atory's remarks are made in reference to the BN's failure to recapture Kelantan and loss of Penang, Kedah, Perak and Selangor to the opposition in the March 8 general election.

Assoc Prof Dr Ahmad Nizamuddin Sulaiman of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) referred to the MCA's request for the creation of a second post of BN deputy chairman for the party to hold, and said entertaining the request would be opening the door for other component parties to make similar demands.

"Besides, I am of the opinion that there are other pressing matters that need to be addressed by the BN leaders, more vital reforms like dealing with money politics, for example," he said. He also said that BN leaders were digressing from the real problems. "Each of the component parties, be it Umno, MCA, MIC or even Gerakan, have leadership problems. I think they must resolve this first before talking about reforming the coalition structure," said the lecturer of the Social Science and Humanities Faculty.

Dr Ahmad Nizamuddin's views were shared by Prof Datuk Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid of the Tun Abdul Razak University who said the priority for BN component parties was to elect the "right leaders". "I am of the opinion that what matters most now is for all component parties to choose the right leaders.

Then, later, they can discuss ideas for reform," said the former dean of the university's Social Science and Humanities Faculty. He said it was critical to elect leaders with vast knowledge in various fields as well as broad networking either in the country or overseas. "We have outstanding leaders in the corporate world, in the public service and in the education sector, just to name a few. Therefore, in my view, political leaders also must be among the best," he said.

Given the current situation, politically or economically, Dr Ibrahim had a point in asserting the importance of choosing the right leaders as these leaders must find ways not only to strengthen their own parties but also the BN as a whole as well as steer the country towards taking on the current global financial onslaught. At the same time, they have to win back the voters' confidence if the BN wants to remain in power after the next general election. Therefore, said Dr Ibrahim, it was vital for BN leaders to identify the root cause of the problems which had landed the coalition in the "hot soup" in the first place.

He said every proposed change must be considered carefully based on the principles of each component party and, most importantly, they should focus on the people's interests while ensuring continuous stability in the country. "Reforms should be based on several factors, both external and internal. Some would like to have radical changes but for me they should be an ongoing matter," he said.

As if they have performed fantastically to submit such a demand...

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