Friday, September 4, 2009

Sak: Japan’s late LDP- object lessons for UMNO- 1

I am very thankful to be given some material on Japan's LDP defeat, by a well respected UMNO veteran. He views with great concern at political developments in this region and their possible ramifications on our own political landscape. I am adding just a little bit in this area. This essay is a first installment of a fuller version.

The LDP which ruled Japan for 54 years is broken. It just lost massively in the recently concluded Japanese elections. LDP's politics is founded on 3 pillars:-

  1. A party that claims a natural right to rule since the end of WW2.
  2. A dominant bureaucracy
  3. Cooperation turned into Collusion with big business interests.

Japan's LDP's exit is similar to the fate of ruling parties in France, Italy and India. Japan's election on Sunday marked the end of an era that started not long after World War Two and saw Japan rise from the ashes of defeat to a global economic power. Japan's rise to economic prominence is therefore closely associated with the LDP. Given such association, almost any Japanese LDP politician can't be faulted if he claims that LDP is Japan's destiny. To us in Malaysia, LDP's eminence and its position as bedrock of Japan's destiny finds an almost surreal parallel to UMNO's role and possibly future fate. What is disturbing is that those people around PM Najib are continuing on a business as usual mode. Yet, up to a time, there's not much anyone can do or object, to any UMNO politicians' claim that UMNO is Malaysia's destiny. No one has therefore pressed the panic button.

Let me put it in street talk- hey yo! UMNO can suffer the same fate. It seems to me UMNO is led more by people who are street-smart at a time when such specialty is no longer suited to a changing battle ground. The battle ground has shifted to the winning of the mind. If PM Najib thinks he doesn't need upstairs-smart UMNO generals, he is clearly mistaken.

Just compare the election war machinery of the PKR. They are managed by intelligent generals compensating perhaps Anwar's overrated intellectualism. In all the by elections thus far (excluding that in Sarawak) we, UMNO have lost. Their election machinery with a retinue of sympathetic and supportive alternative media luminaries will be there ahead, exploiting every issue available using the almost ubiquitous electronic apparatuses. During the Kuala Terengganu by election for example, not less than 5 SMS messages were sent to ALL the Malay teachers in KT accusing UMNO of abandoning the cause of Bahasa Melayu. UMNO is always short in terms of issues. In the recent Permatang Pasir, UMNO was caught with its pants down revealing not a horse's filly but a baby carrot. Thus UMNO was preoccupied with defending a felled candidate who can't be defended. The by election made UMNO looked very silly. UMNO people achieve full KPI marks in terms of hurling personal abuses, vile languages, ill mannered characterization and name callings.

The PKR election machine is superior to UMNO in many ways. One, they are directed by respectably intelligent people. Zulkefli Ahmad the MP of Kuala Selangor is worth watching and studied. UMNO on the other hand thinks it can survive with just the hail fellow well met characters to win elections. It can be very off-putting and even revolting to have FLCE (failed LCE) people come before you and put forth arguments or trying to lecture you on the future of Malaysia. The UMNO leadership cannot afford to be filled up with below average material. PM Najib must abandon the ill-advised notion that UMNO needs the Syed Razak( former Kedah MB known for his hail fellow well met personality) personages in order to convince a thinking public.

The myopic UMNO people have NOT sighted the panic button. In terms of grey matter just compare UMNO's secgen to PKR's son of Hashim Gera, PAS's secgen, DAP's secgen. I mean no disrespect to him, but his kind is less relevant today. The UMNO information chief is a laughing stock even among UMNO members. UMNO people are just fed up about his self congratulatory recollections of how he came appointed as information chief and deputy minister. PM Najib must abandon this addiction with sub standard generals if UMNO were to stay relevant. The other side can offer better products. National politics is not a carbon copy of Pekan politics. Here, the UMNO division can still afford to have a former time taker be its secgen and office boy is permanent chairman. At national level, if the same standard is replicated, UMNO is marking time.

If UMNO is Malaysia's LDP then, DPJ is PKR led PR. It was formed some 10 years ago which is also similar to PKR. Indeed, the PKR people can even claim that relative to DPJ, PKR is more substantial that DPJ. In Malaysia DPJ- the party that humbled and devastated Koizumi's LDP is almost unknown. Its leader is no Anwar Ibrahim- our own political maverick whose overdriving political ambitions are matched by an equally overarching grab for world attention. Anwar Ibrahim seeks and needs world attention and is in turn sought out by the world which is always on the side of the perceived and victimized underdog. You see, the crafty bugger will continue to be relevant and be always in people's mind if he continues to milk the idea of being an underdog and victimized. Stupid UMNO goons are playing his game.

The usual tricks of demonizing Anwar and vilification of the man for questionable but yet unproven sexual deviances are so very passé. The people are so fed up with the nauseating pornographic debauchery dished out by UMNO apparatchiks and functionaries. The 24/7 caustic and insanely abusive language poured out by overtime working UMNO's propaganda storm troopers with the usual artillery of the vilest of language and outlandish salacious tales are alienating the people further from UMNO.

Back to Japan. Now the LDP tastes the same bitter fruit as paramount parties in other countries whose voters decided a few decades in power for one party were enough. There is not even a rat's ass of a chance the BJP can fulfill its outlandish welfare-ish ideas. How will they finance such utopian ideas? The Japanese public knows this, but the prevailing sentiment now is anything-but LDP. The same sentiment is building up in Malaysia. The sentiment is anything but UMNO.

The circumstances in each country were different, but the democratic impulse was similar and the result much the same. In 1981 Francois Mitterrand became the first leftist president of France since the Fifth Republic was created in 1957. France then trembled as this imperious socialist did the impossible by sharing power with his Gaullist rivals.

The Indian National Congress spearheaded that nation's independence movement and then became the dominant political party led by the Nehru-Gandhi family. Eventually corruption allegations caught up with Congress and it had to yield power first to Hindu nationalists, then to a coalition of upstart leftists and regional parties. The world watched sullenly at the sight of chastened ex-Congress leader P.V. Narasimha Rao standing in the dock in a Delhi court accused of corruption charges, for which he was later acquitted.

Capitalizing on Cold War tensions, Italy's Christian Democratic Partywas that country's ruling party for almost 50 years until corruption allegations felled it, too, in the early 1990s.

Now Japan's voters have dealt a staggering blow to the LDP, an amalgam of factions which except for a few months has held power for more than half a century. The ruling party loss ended a three-way partnership between the LDP, big business and bureaucrats that turned Japan into an economic powerhouse after the country's defeat in World War Two. That strategy foundered when Japan's "bubble" economy burst in the late 1980s and growth has stagnated since.

Our government has recently revised our economic contraction rate from a bigger minus value to a lower minus vale. Hello- it's still a negative growth and nothing to be jumping up and down about. Just study the implications of the emboldened section of the above paragraph.

Source: Sak Mongkol

No comments: