There’s some irony when a party leader has to reverse the work of a predecessor. This is exactly what is happening in Britain at the moment.
Railway privatisation, introduced by Margaret Thatcher and implemented by John Major in the 1990s is to be abolished by Boris Johnson, another leader of the Conservative party and the prime minister of Britain.
He said today Britain has to “bite the bullet” by abolishing the privatised railway franchising system, as it has failed to deliver the desired services and had collapsed under mounting debt.
By September this year, the people of Britain who defied David Cameron, another Conservative prime minister, and voted to leave the European Union in the Brexit in 2016, will have a new renationalised rail network.
Ownership as well as operation of rail services will be back with the British government.
Years of neglect will most likely require the injection of new infrastructure funds using taxpayers’ money instead of private investment, very much against the key tenets of the Conservative party.
Privately operated trains that ran all over Britain for over 25 years have completely run out of steam and will be binned into British history.
So much for railway privatisation.
Lesson for Umno
This is indeed a very good lesson for Umno and also for the upcoming new leaders taking over the party which ruled this country for over 60 years.
If Umno is genuinely serious about trying to save the country and their party, not just to save a few leaders from being sent to jail, then the party must be bold enough to act like the Conservative party.
To stay relevant and to remain popular with the voters, Umno has to chop off any “gangrenous” parts of the party controlled by some well-known warlords.
The new Umno leaders should not be governed, or dictated to, by past party warlords who caused the party to lose in the previous general election and with it, control of the government. Somehow, they have to decide: Warlords or a revamped party? The wealth of the few or the needs of the masses?
The outcome of the 2018 general election signalled the fact that the previous party leadership and the policies they stood on, have failed and that they have been rejected. So why should they be reactivated?
Umno, as a national party, requires not only new leaders but also new strategies. In fact, a series of in-depth strategies to be implemented fairly rapidly and immediately, too, if it wants to stay relevant and not get binned into Malaysian political history.
Be honest and admit your mistakes.
What was Umno’s previous agenda for the Malays? What started out as the New Economic Policy (NEP of 1971 – 1990) which was never successful anyway, morphed into a repeat of the same instruments that was only beneficial to the elite group.
The continuation of the same policy under the new name, or rather the same old wine packaged in a new bottle called New Economic Model (NEM of 2011 – 2020) was never drinkable or clearly understood by many.
Obviously, Umno’s leadership is reflected in the failure of the NEP’s objectives to uplift the economic status of the Malays (read as rural Malays) and the subsequent measures.
NEM is nothing but a half-baked or an overcooked initiative. Many economists looked at it as comprised of the most uncreative ideas doomed for failure, copied and recycled by proponents who do not understand how to assist the Malays and to make their economy actually work.
It didn’t just fail; it failed miserably.
NEM promulgated further wrongdoings. It also boosted (as well as boasted) the confidence of an inept leadership to come up with bigger schemes to deceive their own government and corporations through bonds and borrowings.
Indeed, this bond issue is a serious matter. The current minister of finance took exception to the financial scandals that were shrewdly planned and manoeuvred using government bonds and government guarantee schemes.
Facts and figures
Last week, in the midst of the rising Covid-19 figures, the minister of finance, in person, revealed the data and showed obvious transparency with the payments and schedule that the current government had to be burdened with.
This full length of explanation can be read and heard in the ministry’s presentation on May 26.
It is hoped that the new potential leaders in Umno are listening.
They must act and be bold enough to accept the reality of this debt legacy created via 1MDB, SRC International and SSER, as specified by the minister.
Almost RM50 billion of debt allocation, which could have been spent in fighting Covid-19, is going down the drain due to debt repayment and settlement.
But as the MoF clarified and simplified the issue: “Never let your friend borrow from a bank to buy a car and make you the guarantor. When he disappears and the car is gone, you end up paying the debt.”
If this simple analogy is not understood, I am not sure what will.
The new leaders of Umno have a lot to ponder about. It is a major subject to admit and apologise to all Malaysian voters and citizens.
In the Conservative Party in Britain, admission of guilt and apology have been successfully turned into a winning strategy.
In the case for Umno, hopefully it is a straightforward gangrene which they could chop off and deal with, within the party.
By : Rosli Khan – FMT
* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Stringer.