umno hampering the rise of young political talent

nur jazlan writes;

Let’s face it. Since Umno Baru was founded in 1988 – let’s not kid ourselves that it is the same party from 1946 – there has not been a vote for the top two party posts. It’s a succession by patronage.
In other words, it’s feudal. Not something that we need in today’s hyper-competitive world.

My point is that the 30 per cent quota for nominations in the Umno election rules is hampering talent from rising to the top. It allows them to move up to a point before party warlords decide which horse to back and leaving the rest trailing in the dust. Not necessarily the best go up but probably only the popular.

In the DAP, those voted into the central working committee divide the posts among themselves. In PAS, those vying for leadership need to get the nod from the Shura before contesting. Both systems are not democratic.

But Umno is democratic. The grassroots nominate their favourites and those who breach the 30 per cent quota of nominations get to contest. This only favours the popular and the influential in grabbing nominations leaving the young leaders without a ghost of a chance for a stab at the top.

Where does that leave us? It leaves Umno without much of its talent as the young possibles and probables will either turn the feudal way and perpetuate an outdated system or leave in disgust for other parties. Either way, it is a dead end for Umno.

I am not advocating a contest against Pak Lah because of the current climate but I want to advocate competition to ensure that Umno gets the best talent to take us forward to the 21st Century when the Opposition have already undergone radical change leaving us wondering what has hit us.

Because what we have is a double-edge sword that could possibly leave us with a leader undesired by all.

Imagine if you will, that there are four contenders for the post of Umno where to qualify one needs 30 per cent of the nominations. Let us say that not one of the four contenders achieve the 30 per cent requirement; which I feel is too onerous for Umno’s democratic process to function.

Even worse, assume that one of the four candidates scrapes 30 per cent and the rest do not. The one that meets the required quota wins without contest. Is this fair?

Don’t you think that the person who gets 29 per cent of the nominations will challenge this outcome? Are we to be brought to court again?

What will then happen to Umno? In the light of the current reforms of the judiciary, are we heading for a repeat of February 1988 when Umno was deregistered?

Perhaps the Opposition may not have to finish off Umno, we will do it ourselves!

I believe that Umno and its management committee should consider this scenario seriously especially in the current climate where veterans are already casting an envious eye on the top post while the young will eventually inherit a party bereft of hope and talent.

As an example, the management committee should consider reducing the quota to 15 per cent for the post of president. At this level, a person who is contesting would need at least 29 nominations.

There is no state in Malaysia where Umno has more than 26 divisions and this will ensure that the candidate has support beyond his home state.

The number of nominations should be substantive but not burdensome. This will ensure only quality candidates will contest. I do not believe that a person should contest for president with just two nominations as this would result in many trivial challenges.

We can handicap candidates to get the best but not at the expense of handicapping the party of talent.

Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed is a two-time MP for Pulai and writes an occasional exclusive column for The Malaysian Insider. He blogs at http://www.jazlan.net

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