Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Why BN/UMNO Continues to Backslide...

The results of the by-election in Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau show that BN/UMNO has not regained it former popularity/credibility in spite of the change in its top and second echalon leadership and the promises of change. Only the victory in Batang Ai saves BN from a total washout. If there's any more by-election after this, BN/UMNO would have to do more to regain the confidence of the rakyat.

Certainly BN/UMNO must do a lot more of soul-searching analysis, even as Dato' Seri Najib pursues the changes that he wants to make as the new PM. What appears to be so obvious is that the changes that have been promised and are seen to be pursued, involve some policies and the attitude of the top leaderships. Even if the Cabinet itself is thoroughly reshuffled and all tarnished characters are removed, BN and UMNO might not be able to immediately regain the trust and confidence it has lost. Why? Because THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE OF THE PEOPLE ARE SHAPED AT THE GRASSROOTS LEVEL. The ordinary people in the kampungs and countryside look at the local leaders, the JKKKs' chairmen and the Ketua-Ketua Kampung - all appointed by the BN/UMNO leadership- as the power that affects their lives. What these local leaders, especially the Ketua-Ketua Kampung- do and how they treat the people, determine their attitude towards the BN/UMNO.

A brief look at how these local leaders have "feathered their nests", turn their homes into little palaces, drive in cars which their
normal allowances would not be able to cover, help their friends over the needy and destitute, bring development to some some parts of the kampung but neglect the rest, turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to those whom they don't like, and become little feudal lords in their own right, will explain why many kampung folks 'detest' these local leaders. These are seen as BN or UMNO men and their failings or blantant 'unfairness' in the villages can undermine people's trust and confidence more than the failings of the top leaderships themselves.

There are thousands of these local leaders whose attitude and show of authority and power, the top leaderships do not effectively supervise. The Ketua Kampung can do almost anything that he likes in hiskampung and many don't appear to be very popular with the people, depending on who you ask for an opinion. It is these local leaders who had shaped the grassroots' perception of BN/UMNO. Until the top leaderships in BN/UMNO give immediate attention to this issue, the effort to rebuild BN/UMNO's image might not bring the expected result.

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