Thursday, December 16, 2010

Choosing the BN’s candidates

By Stanley Bye Kadam Kiai
KUCHING – In the past it is more difficult to get the BN’s candidacy then to win in an election. The peoples’ trust in the BN is so strong that any Tom, Dick and Harry would have won had they contested the election on a BN ticket. As election victory is assured, the BN’s elected representatives tend to rest on their laurels.

But the BN experienced a jolt in the March 2008 National Election – the country’s twelfth – when it lost its two-thirds majority in the Lower House and five states to the opposition.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, attributed the unexpected and unprecedented success of the opposition in the Twelfth National Election to the four ailments which affected the BN’s elected representatives, namely delusion, amnesia, inertia and arrogance.
The good news for the BN is that, those who suffered from these four diseases could all have lost in the 2008 national election. The BN therefore does not have to worry about them and their diseases anymore.
The bad news is that, some of the 140 BN’s Members of Parliament that had won in the 2008 national election might have contacted the same diseases but had been lucky enough to have won their seats. These people are still around and may still have these diseases.
What is the BN going to do with these people? How will the BN try to discard these diseases? Will the BN try to solve the problems once and for all by discarding the disease carriers?
Is the BN leadership daring enough to abandon friends that have not changed their way of conducting themselves and continues to behave in the old manner?
If they still suffer from these ailments, how is the BN going to cure them or rehabilitate them? Will they be dropped or retained as the BN candidates in the 13th National Election which is due in March 2013?
If they are to be retained, how will their candidacies affect the BN’s chances of regaining its past glory where it controls more than 90 percent of the seats in the Lower House and all the states in the federation?
The dilemma for the BN is whether to stick with the disease carriers in the 13th National Election and suffer in the polls as a consequence. The results could be more devastating than the ones obtained in the 2008 election.
But politics is also about comradeship and this why we often hear politicians saying that they will sink and swim with their friends. In other words, it is not easy to discard friends who have struggled together with them to achieve a common goal.
If the BN is working towards discarding the four ailments of delusion, amnesia, inertia and arrogance, how is the BN going to determine which of its elected representatives are suffering from them? No one will ever admit that he or she is having the problems.
For the 13th National Election, the BN needs 82 new faces to contest in the constituencies held by the opposition. What criteria will the BN use to select these 82 new candidates?
What kind of persons will the BN choose as it candidates? Should not the BN carry out a personality test so that those who are selected to be its candidates will not likely to suffer from the four ailments of delusion, amnesia, inertia and arrogance?
What if all the 82 new faces are perceived to be a little bit arrogance in their outlook and style? Will they be able to take back the seats from the opposition?
Sarawak has been classified as a fixed deposit state for the BN, which means that no matter what the government or the opposition does or does not do, the BN is going to win big in the State of Sarawak. In the March 2008 National Election, the BN won 30 of the 31 parliamentary seats in the state.
With such a big victory, does this mean that the BN parliamentarians from Sarawak do not suffer from the diseases of delusion, amnesia, inertia and arrogance as experienced by the colleagues from the other states? Are BN parliamentarians in Sarawak really that good that they could win easily in an election in the state?
How about the State Assemblymen in the State? Are they as good as their parliamentary counterparts?
For the forthcoming 10th Sarawak State Election which must be held within the next seven months, of the four BN component parties in the State, only Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) has indicated that it will have at least 10 new faces.
It is rumoured that of the 10 sitting PBB State Assemblymen that will be dropped or have chosen not to be selected again, 7 are from its Bumiputera Wing, while the other three are from its Pesaka Wing.
Why are some of the PBB sitting State Assemblymen going to be dropped? Have they suffered from the same ailments of delusion, amnesia, inertia and arrogance?
There are many other reasons why a sitting State Assemblyman may be dropped. One reason could be because he had a very slim majority that retaining him is a risky choice. The second reason could be that he is not performing well as the peoples’ representative. The third reason could be that he has lost his popularity.
The other reasons why he could be dropped or chosen not to be selected again may include the followings: not interested anymore, giving way to younger person, getting tired, getting older so don’t have the drive anymore, want to retire to spend more time with their family especially grandchildren and losing position in the party.
Giving way to a younger candidate is a noble reason to leave the scene as younger people may bring in fresh idea, and could be more energetic, enthusiastic, creative, innovative, flexible and more knowledgeable in certain matters affecting the people. Younger leaders could be more acceptable to the ever growing size of the population of the younger people in the country as they come from the same generation as them.
The question is how to select them. How to choose those who will not likely to suffer from four diseases of delusion, amnesia, inertia and arrogance? Of course, there other factors in the selection process and these other factors could very well override any other considerations which include the four ailments.
The four ailments are not good for any individuals to have. Delusion is about having high regard for one’s own personality or status. Arrogance is about thinking that one is more important than the other people. Inertia is about inertness or slowness to act on important matter and issue. Amnesia is about being forgetful.
One can be forgetful because one is fearful. Politicians like other people are fearful people. They are scared of losing their power and influence. The best way to overcome this fear is to be forgetful like trying to ignore some important names and personalities.
Good personality is highly important for anyone. However, unlike age and physical appearance, personality does not change much over time. If the four ailments or attributes have been the way the BN politicians conducted themselves all this while, how is it going to be possible for them to change in a short time?
But change they must or the ‘BN might lose some seats’ as the Special Adviser to the Chief Minister, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem said to the Borneo Post (10.12.2010).
The four ailments of delusion, amnesia, inertia and arrogance as identified by the Prime Minister to have affected the performance of the BN in the 12th National Election in 2008 must be cured if the BN is to win back its former glory in the 13th National Election in 2013.
*The writer is a Senior Lecturer with the Faculty of Social Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.

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