Monday, January 15, 2007

Zaid Ibrahim Marginalised

Via the live telecast of the recently concluded UMNO General Assembly, and the resultant furore, one can tell that the voice of reason is pretty much limited within the communal party. However, over the past few years, there are possibly 2-3 voices within the party which I pretty much enjoy hearing for their reasoned arguments as well as their frank sincerity.

One of them is the Kota Baru Member of Parliament (MP), Datuk Zaid Ibrahim. He has been known to be outspoken with his views, particularly on the need for reforms in government, in the New Economic Policy (NEP), in reversing brain drain and even on the need to eliminate racially-denominated parties.

He joined politics in the year 2000 and was at some stage early in Pak Lah's administration touted as a possible Minister to bolster a cabinet capable of achieving his promised vision. Much to the disappointment of many, including myself, he was instead sidelined and even found guilty of "money politics" in UMNO (for hosting dinners).

He has served his 18 months suspension from the party as punishment (which ironically did not affect his seat or place in Parliament), and yet he has to endure the humiliation of not being reinstated as the Kota Baru UMNO division head. He believes that "the Umno supreme council made other considerations" and denied him justice. In all probability, he is being punished for promoting progressive and equitable policies in the interest of the rakyat.

Now, I've never preached that affirmative action policies should not be granted to the deserving. The question has always been when such policies should be ended, and the tongkat removed. Datuk Zaid Ibrahim obviously finds that he doesn't deserve the tongkat anymore and is now preaching the need for affirmative action policies to be based on need rather than race.

However, obviously, his political masters in UMNO think otherwise and they felt the need to marginalise right-thinking politicians such as Datuk Zaid Ibrahim. The UMNO Supreme Council led by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi obviously believe that it is in UMNOputras interest to profit themselves even further by retaining the status quo, at the expense of the deserving poor Malays, Chinese and Indian rakyat.


Anonymous said...

My issue with this is not so much that UMNO is unaccepting of progressive view of the likes of Zaid Ibrahim but rather the intolerance to a different view. In other words, the marginalization of Zaid Ibrahim speaks volume of the ideology of hegemony and intolerance of UMNO and by default its very weakness to accomodate and bring together the different interest and constituent it supposedly says it can serve.

All this shows that the feudalistic influence in UMNO is not only very much alive but general still dominates and ultimately the final arbiter of the difficult decisions. It means the possibiity of reform in UMNO is bleak. Its mix of feudal patronage and money politics makes it impossible to reform without political sacrifice at the very top which we know is bankrupt in their obsession with self-centredness, greed and power.

Trashed said...

It is unfortnate that Zaid is the exception rather than the norm within the political powerhouse. How different Malaysia would be if that were the case.

Anonymous said...

zaid ibrahim cant go against umno....he got to think of his ricebowl...his law firm depends on umno support

Anonymous said...

There is nothing admirable about Zaid Ibrahim, nobody in either UMNO or PAS likes him. In any case, his political career is as good as dead. Good riddance to him!


Anonymous said...

may i request him to leave umno. he has his good intentions but I dont think he can make any significant changes by staying in umno. its such a waste for a man of his talent and ideals. maybe, he is way ahead of his time.

having said this, maybe people with such egalitarian, fair and caring views are always ahead of their time as far as umno is BN is concerned. these people are a threat to their goal; which is to enrich themselves in the shortest time.