Exposing Our Leaders to Competition

by M. Bakri Musa

The recent installation of Tunku Muhriz as the 11th Yang Di Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan (the equivalent of a sultan in the other states) illustrates one important point. When the top position is not automatically handed to the putative Number Two and instead you widen your choice, you are more likely to end up with a far superior candidate.

The consensus among the rakyat as well as the establishment is that Tunku Muhriz is a far superior candidate, and a better person to boot, than the other contenders, the three sons of Tuanku Jaafar.

It is too late for the three adult sons of Tuanku Jaafar to appreciate and benefit from the wisdom of my observation. It is hard to learn as an adult the lessons you should have learned as a youngster.

Tunku Naquiyuddin, Tuanku Jaafar’s oldest son, must have felt the sting the most. After all, his father had named him Regent, or acting Yam Tuan, during his recent extended overseas tour. As such Naquiyuddin must have felt that the throne would rightly be his. He had already begun acting as the Yam Tuan, as he did recently when he called for the restoration of the Sultans’ absolute royal immunity. At the personal level, he was already behaving only too well as a feudal king.

As for Tunku Muhriz, he had learned his lesson well, and early, way back in 1967 when the Undangs (Territorial Chiefs) instead bypassed him to pick his father’s half-brother Tuanku Jaafar as the 10th Yam Tuan to succeed Tunku Muhriz’s father. Sensing that the royal throne would not be his, he wisely prepared himself for life in the real world outside the palace. By all measures he has done well, having obtained a law degree and acquitting himself credibly in the private sector.

More importantly, he has also imparted those valuable lessons onto his children. They too have all done well academically and personally san their royal titles, making their achievements that much more credible and praiseworthy.

The Badawi Disaster

The wisdom of my observation is universal. Note the disaster when Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi automatically assumed the top slot upon the retirement of Dr. Mahathir. Had Mahathir been aware of the wisdom of my observation and widened the choice of candidates to succeed him, Malaysia would have been spared the incompetence of Abdullah Badawi.

This pattern of the number two automatically becoming number one is rampant if not standard practice in the civil service. Those senior civil servants behave like airplanes stacked at a busy airport, each patiently waiting his turn and not daring to upset the established pattern lest it would threaten his position and prospect.

I have seen this pattern broken only rarely, as in the early 1960s when Dr. Majid Ismail, then an orthopedic consultant, was tapped to be the Director-General of Health, bypassing many senior bureaucrats. He upset the entire hierarchy at the Ministry of Health; Majid later proved himself to be one of the most farsighted and enlightened health policymakers. Today that Ministry remains one of the few that do not hew to the strict “tunggu geleran” (waiting your turn) pattern of the civil service. It is thus not a surprise that it is one of the more professionally-run ministries.

Come this March with the current Number Two Najib Razak automatically assuming the Number One position with Abdullah’s leaving office, Malaysia risks repeating the same mistake. There will be no contest to select the best candidate for the top slot for in its wisdom UMNO has adopted rules and traditions that stymied competition especially for the top post.

Prior to his elevation to the throne, Tunku Muhriz had the title of Tuanku Besar. Though its literal translation (“Big King”) is misleading, nonetheless in Negri Sembilan the Raja Besar is equivalent to a Raja Muda, the Crown Prince or heir apparent in other states. That did not help him when his father Tunku Munawir died in 1967; the four Undangs in their wisdom bypassed Tunku Muhriz. Nor did that help him with the late Tuanku Jaafar for he named his son Tunku Naquiyuddin instead as Regent.

The public reason given back in 1967 for bypassing Tunku Muhriz was that he was too young – he was only 18 then – to be the Yang Di Pertuan Besar. Additionally, the political establishment then led by Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman lobbied the Undangs hard for Tuanku Jaafar, believing that he (and his family) would be sympathetic to UMNO.

Whatever the reasons, the Undangs’ decision was well received, especially by the villagers. They wisely noted that Tunku Munawir died at the relatively young age of 47 from what we would term today as “lifestyle diseases.” They were concerned that the young Tunku Muhriz would follow in his father’s footsteps, in the village tradition of bapak burek, anak rentik (fig: Like father, like son).

As it turned out, Tunku Muhriz was anything but like his father, both in personality and accomplishments. Nevertheless like many, I do not fault the Undangs for their decision back in 1967. By any objective criterion, it was a wise pick, considering that Tuanku Jaafar was a British-trained diplomat while Tunku Muhriz was barely out of high school then.

Today’s Undangs are a far different breed from their predecessors of a mere generation ago. The position of Undang is also hereditary but not in a strict linear fashion, just like that of the Yam Tuan. The various clan chiefs would gather and pick from among the many entitled to be Undang, just as the Undangs would pick the Yam Tuan from among the many eligible princes. A primordial form of democracy and representative government, as it were.

Following my theory, the caliber of Undangs should improve because of the competition among the eligible contenders. Yet we have the perverse situation today where the present generation of Undangs being even more poorly educated and of lower caliber than their predecessors. While a generation ago we had a lawyer and a university graduate among the Undangs, today we have a former utility meter reader and a petai seller.

The erosion in the caliber of today’s Undangs is of course directly related to, like everything else in Malaysia, corruption. Yet despite that, today’s Undangs were able to collectively come to a wise decision. The erosion in quality and integrity of individual Undangs notwithstanding, the institution itself was able to deliver a wise decision. This demonstrates the vital role of institutions. Imagine how much good these Undangs would do for society if only they were more competent and less corrupt.

The aberration that is today’s Undangs remains the exception that proves my theory. Nonetheless what is relevant is that because we have the institution and process in place, the right decision was made, those deficiencies in personnel notwithstanding.

Najib’s Dangerous Mindset

The experience with the Negri Sembilan royal selection process illustrates the wisdom of exposing our leaders to continuous competition, and of having the right institutions and processes in place to ensure that. That is the best if not only way to hold these leaders accountable. The biggest mistake would be to make them “President for Life” or heap some such similar honors upon them. Such excessive accolades are what corrupted otherwise sensible leaders. Even once wise and patriotic leaders like Sukarno ultimately succumbed to and became a tyrant simply because he was not held accountable or subjected to rigorous checks and balances.

UMNO once had the fine tradition where its leaders were routinely subjected to regular challenges. Even such venerable leaders as Bapak Merdeka Tunku Abdul Rahman were not spared. Today we look askance at such once brave figures as Sulaiman Palestin who would not hesitate to challenge any leader regardless how popular that leader was at the time. In contrast, today’s UMNO leaders are given a free pass, all in the misguided quest for “party unity.”

However, only through such constant competitions could we “toughen up” our leaders. During the recent American Presidential primary season, many members of the Democratic Party were upset that Candidate Hilary Clinton would not give up her race earlier and let the leading candidate Barrack Obama be the nominee sooner. As it turned out, the long primary was beneficial to Obama as it toughened him up such that he could easily withstand the subsequent onslaughts from his Republican opponent.

UMNO is making a terrible mistake in letting Najib Razak take over the top slot without subjecting him to a tough campaign. Such grueling leadership competitions are necessary for “baptizing” a leader. It would help sharpen his leadership skills as well as let party members and voters preview his abilities.

Because he was not subjected to any competition, Najib Razak now feels that the country owes him the Prime Minister’s office by virtue of his being the son of the much-revered Tun Razak. That is a dangerous mindset for anyone, especially a leader, to have. Ultimately it is the citizens who would bear the burden of such hubris in our leaders.

The many effusive comments about Tunku Muhriz would not easily go this head. Having once been bypassed for the top slot, Tunku Muhriz is fully aware that he could only secure his position by doing an excellent job and by diligently attending to his royal duties. In contrast, Najib Razak has had an easy ride all along; he has yet to learn this important lesson.

  1. #1 by computation on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 10:12 am

    i must say this article has been beautifully

  2. #2 by Rocky on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 10:18 am

    Seems our royalties have more sense in guiding this country and vision for it as well.And they want a united Malaysia comprising of all races. They are even more educated than our elected politicians in our BN gomen.BN folks are only keen in their own self interest and power and use divide and rule tactics.

    Great for NS my 2nd home state. Daulat Tuanku!

  3. #3 by undergrad2 on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 10:20 am

    What are you talking about, Bakri??

    Najib has been made to go through the baptism of fire you referred to. It wasn’t UMNO but Rosmah who fried him. He was medium rare when she found him. He is now well done.

  4. #4 by OrangRojak on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 10:22 am

    The wisdom of my observation is universal
    I gape in awe at your self-respect

  5. #5 by taiking on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 10:53 am

    The learned author said:

    “This pattern of the number two automatically becoming number one is rampant if not standard practice in the civil service. Those senior civil servants behave like airplanes stacked at a busy airport, each patiently waiting his turn and not daring to upset the established pattern lest it would threaten his position and prospect.”

    Err not true. At least in one important instance. The judiciary, that is. Certain people just parachute into their judicial posts. And leap-frogging is normal if you are of the right camp.

    NEPed for too long and now utterly afraid of competition – afraid that competition would disrupt the party and the partying. To make matters worse, decades of (-)meritocracy makes them intellectually impotent. The sum total: proceed by some kind of order. Dont have to think. Dont have to compete. The party can go on. Good times can be prolonged.

    I could be wrong. See i am also a product of umno’s (-)meritocracy system.

  6. #6 by computation on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 11:01 am

    i must say the comments posted by others are
    also fun to read!

  7. #7 by juno on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 11:14 am

    Well dissected and analysed Bakri,
    “””…..he wisely prepared himself for life in the real world outside the palace. By all measures he has done well, having obtained a law degree and acquitting himself credibly in the private sector. “””

    Could we say the same is happening in the UMNO? Never in our wildest dreams can we hope for this . Here the Udder is bigger than the Milking Cows that Umno sustains on. All they need is a corrupted Police Force , to protect them for all the plunder and rape of the Nation. This is the current situation. If one looks around you see the truths so blatant.. http://sjsandteam.wordpress.com/

  8. #8 by Jeffrey on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 11:45 am

    Whilst one can’t fault the general recommendation that leaders should be subject to competition and not just succeed as of right by virtue of the “putative Number Two” position regardless of merits and demerits of character, capability and record, what constitutes the appropriate and sufficient “competition” is of course a matter to be debated and argued depending on context.

    I am not saying that Bakri is wrong in approving Tunku Muhriz or disapproving Najib is wrong – there may be other good reasons why Bakri is correct on both scores – but it is not so much, I suspect, due to Yang Di Pertuan Besar’s position being subject to competition and UMNO’s presidency/premiership to lack hereof but more of Bakri, in his infinite wisdom, approving the former and disapproving the latter.

    How could undangs be an effective institution providing by collective wise decision competition for the best leader when by Bakri’s own admission there is an “erosion” in the “caliber” “quality and integrity of individual Undangs” due to “corruption as alleged by him?

    Being a consistent admirer of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a great leader with some minor faults – we’re all humans and not perfect, aren’t we?- Bakri has selectively not explained how this ‘great’ leader could emerge from being anointed by our 3rd PM Tun Hussein Onn to become his successor without competition.

    Maybe he would explain it away as an exception/aberration to the general rule : for so long as the one appointing/anointing like Tun Hussein Onn has the wisdom to pick the right leader like TDM, so what if there’s no competition? Quite like the way Lee Kuan Yew picked his son, would he not say?

    Here there is another problem : if TDM was a ‘right’ leader picked, notwithstanding lack of competition, what happens if this “right” leader, having wisdom to govern the country in a wise way, has a character that tends to pick the wrong successor, as, in Bakri’s view, TDM did, in anointing Abdullah Badawi (whom Bakri does not approve) as Deputy Prime Minister automatically assuming the top slot upon the TDM’s retirement? Would TDM be still considered a right leader in Bakri’s eyes if he customarily extinguished 2 DPMs + one senior vice president (Musa Hitam, Anwar & Tunku Razaleigh) who had evinced any gall to challenge him and preferred the non combative and very patient types like Gharar Baba and Abdullah Badawi as his number 2?

    It is also a point that can be contended whether Abdullah Badawi was not subject to ‘competition’ depending what one means by that expression.

    Yes Abdullah Badawi was anointed by TDM at the end of 1993. However shortly after that, in the 2004 general election, Abdullah Badawi led the BN and delivered for it an unprecedented landslide victory by winning unprecedentedly 198 out of 220 seats in parliament, wrested control of the Terengganu state government from PAS as coming close to capturing the traditional PAS stronghold of Kelantan. [The victory was widely regarded as an approval of his vision of moderate Islam over religious fundamentalism as well as support for his anti-corruption policies]. Is this electoral victory not counted as a form of “competition”?

    What is “competition” then? An existence of a contest for position against contenders drawn from a pool of delegates who by themselves also lack character, capability and record or who will support any contender who gives them most patronage contracts and other benefits?

  9. #9 by wanderer on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 11:57 am

    Mahathirism brought about this situation…a closed door of power.
    Competition means UMNO leaders’ dirty linen will be exposed, the fruits are too juicy for all in this establishment to make these sort of sacrifices.
    If we allow this corrupted and racist party to continue to rule, there will be no contest for the top job…even if there is one, it is just a token exercise.
    Should we need to wait for another half a century to see changes?
    Just throw this outdated, arrogant political party to the bin and changes will take place.

  10. #10 by raven77 on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 11:59 am

    Is Bakri out of his mind when he states that the MOH is professionally run. Maybe he is been too long out of the country or becoming senile……Abdul Majid/Koko Majid…is the incompetent creator of what is today General Hospital KL…where the blood bank stood fully 1km from the maternity block. It was an architectural and structural disaster in direct contrast to the meticulously planned University Hospital by Danaraj…….Yes, Majid…the orthopaedic surgeon …who was bumi…was handed that job on a platter over far more capable candidates….because even then there was already a pre NEP policy…..the rot started then at the MOH and continued on till this day. It has now left the ministry with the worst possible administrators mankind can ever imagine……….Bakri must stop being another manipulative Mahathir in disguise and come out clean …… you see that little island down south….their MOH started off with the same roots…..but they really stuck to bringing in the best to manage their system……..and their Minister is an accountant….which only proves one thing ……doctors make lousy managers….which could explain why Malaysia in the throngs of its worst dengue and chikunkunya epidemic..

  11. #11 by Jeffrey on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 12:05 pm

    Now on the subject of getting a “right” leader, getting the best results from competition from the wisdom of the appointor/anointer, there has emerged a third factor at play here as introduced by Undergrad2 in his posting Today at 10: 20.41 (1 hour ago) – the leader’s wife!

    There seems to be a suggestion here that a good wife will help hone/shape/inspire the leader, and a bad one, a cause, or at least the catalyst of his downfall…

    So the nation’s fate will also be affected by the wisdom or foolishness of the leader’s spouse, and when supporting a leader or otherwise we have also to look at his wife, right?

    I can imagine a leader’s temptations to be corrupt, if his wife pesters him for shopping largese and luxury clothes jewellery every other night, and the man is the type and character who customarily is used to deferring or acting in accordance to the wishes and demands of his wife.

  12. #12 by undergrad2 on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 12:24 pm

    I don’t think one needs to follow a course in logical thinking to arrive at the conclusion that a guy like him has character flaws which could be easily exploited by his political adversaries.

  13. #13 by Onlooker Politics on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 1:05 pm

    Negeri Sembilan has a long history of implementing a selection process of ruler and undang-undang (district heads called “Dato Undang” or District Lord) based on meritocracy and popularity.

    For instance, Dato Undang of Rembau was selected by village heads called “Penghulu” and tribal head of Aborigine People (orang asli) called “Batin” by voting. “Dato Undang” is a life post upon selection by the village heads and tribal heads. There are four segments (called “suku”) of Rembau District which take turn by rotation to select a “Dato Undang” upon the demise of the preceding Dato Undang. The late previous Dato Undang of Rembau was selected by Lubok China segment. The present Dato Undang of Rembau, Datuk Muhammad Sharip Othman, was selected by Chembong Segment.

    Majlis Undang-undang of Negeri Sembilan, which consists of the 4 district lords each from Sungai Ujong, Jelebu, Johol and Rembau, serves quite similar as the state senate in the legislation process. Majlis Undang-undang of Negeri Sembilan has full power over the state rights pertaining to land matters, the Islamic religious matters and the Malay customs.

    Due to the bi-cameral systems built in the legislature of Negeri Sembilan, it is believed that a certain level of checks-and-balances has been instituted into the operation of the state government. DAP should attempt to build up a much better rapport with all 4 Dato Undang of Negeri Sembilan in order to lay path for effectively taking over the state government in the future.

  14. #14 by Saint on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 1:37 pm

    Agreed – 101%

  15. #15 by ch on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 1:49 pm

    Dear All,

    The adage- “what goes around comes around” is always true. When Dr. Mahathir faced a bitter chaleenge from Tengku Razaleigh and nearly lost in the 1987 UMNO election, he quickly realized that if the rules of the game in UMNO remains, he might be “retired” if there is yet another challenge after 1987. He was quick and smart to have the rules of the game altered and at the same time will know who are the branch leaders that are against him, by nominating his challenger in the next election, if there is one. Naturally, being a politician in Malaysia and particularly UMNO, no one would in the right frame of mine will nominate the president’s challenger. This has been proven true in the recent UMNO nominations process where only Gua Musang nominated Tengku Razaleigh for the presidency. Dr. Mahathir was relatively safe in his post for many years after 1987. However, he was speaking in a totally different tune recently. He went against the very formula he shaped up and blamed the current president for being unfair with such ruling. You have also a few leaders in the current UMNO make-up who openly defied the current president and came out hard-hitting on the ruling but the very same group of people were silent when Dr. M was in charge. Why?

    The antics of Malaysian politics is one of its kind!

    Many politicians resist changes although they are the one who apparently came out and propose changes. They were just interested in the talking but not the follow through.

  16. #16 by k1980 on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 1:59 pm

    Quit your jobs, Dr M tells McDonald’s, Starbucks workers

    Ex-prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysians “will not die if they do not use the US goods” and urged those working for US companies such McDonald’s to quit their jobs. Those working in Intel, Dell, Motorola, Agilent. Komag ect should also do so to show their support for Hamas. They can all go to Dr M’s house to stay there and get paid there to. Imagine getting paid RM5,000 a month for not doing any work and getting a free place to stay, plus food provided FOC. And the US will then classify this country as a state supporting terrorism and impose sanctions like the ones Iran is enjoying now.

    And Dr M must be true to his word and himself boycott the American-made medicine he is taking daily.

  17. #17 by cintanegara on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 2:41 pm

    Very interesting article indeed.

    It is still fresh in our minds when LGE got a golden opportunity in 1986 to contest in Kota Melaka at a very young age. Most of us still wonder what was his significant contribution to the party that enable him to contest? Wasn’t there any better candidate that time to fill up the MP’s post? How does DAP apply “merit-based” system in their party?

  18. #18 by Jong on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 2:55 pm

    This old jackal’s sick, irresponsible, has no qualm or shame as long as he gets the attention he wants. He’s one BIG batu api !

    How fast he has forgotten he paid some Jews to arrange for him to get invited to the White Hous and be photographed with President George Bush? This SOB does not know the word “malu”!

  19. #19 by limkamput on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 2:55 pm

    Yes, that is right, he mustn’t travel in a Boeing also because that is US made. What else, hmm, may be he shouldn’t watch CNN, Bloomberg, CNBC or Al Jazeera because those are all US related channels. Technically he shouldn’t watch rtm or any local station also because they too source their news from others, including Jewish controlled news media. He should perhaps find out the feeling of those who are currently being retrenched by the American E & E firms in Malaysia. I think his stomach is too full to talk rubbish like this. Take away his pension and all his privileges, he too may start looking for a job with a US firms.

  20. #20 by Onlooker Politics on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 4:47 pm

    “Wasn’t there any better candidate that time to fill up the MP’s post?” (cintanegara)

    Dear cintanegara,

    In an country which had dictatorial rule or tyrannical rule under the administration of Dr. Mahathir, it took big courage for the university graduates to join an opposition party like DAP. Not only that the majority DAP members would not get any material benefits except for the benefits of getting an opportunity to voice out their grievances through the DAP righteous leaders. Some active DAP members also had to risk the chances of getting arrested by Special Branch Police and be sent to solitary confinement in the ISA detention camps or be sent to jail through selective indictment by the Prosecutor’s office and be convicted by court through the tabulation of vague and weak evidences. Under the intimidation and fear from the political persecution posed by the BN government, LGE took the courage to follow his beloved father’s unsmooth path in the political expedition in order to become the representative of the majority small men who had been living in big discontent and oppressive situation throughout many years. The courageous act of LGE itself was already an excellent merit which enabled such a youthful and righteous man to be given a chance to stand as the DAP candidate in the Parliamentary Election of Kota Melaka in 1986.

    LGE deserved the post of Chief Minister of Penang State. The merit was based on the sacrifice he had made to DAP and to the Malaysian public in order to fight for the oppressed small men against the big political tycoon along the line of true justice. If LGE didn’t take the courage to offer his help to the grandmother of a 14 years’ old young girl who had been raped (allegedly by a BN Top Politician), who else would be the righteous man who would replace LGE in offering the much needed help.

    The Malaysian people are not all blinded or deaf. We have eyes to see and ears to listen. Justice will always be at the side of the righteous, and the timing of the retribution is always in the hand of the almighty and sovereign God. God will never let down or fail the righteous!

  21. #21 by isahbiazhar on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 4:52 pm

    Najib is for the stop gap period.Then end of UMNO/BN is during his short tenure.Malaysia will see a complete change in its landscape.The two party system will bring Malaysia to its glory that will give rise to excellent leadership and the wiping of race and religious politics.

  22. #22 by monsterball on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 6:11 pm

    Yes….Negri Sembilan and Perak have rare traditions in choosing next Sultan…after the death of one.
    So far….all are happy means …those wise men are thinking right.
    That settle..comes Najib mixed up with wise men story…but Bakri Musa is also right.
    Just look today’s S.Times headline…Najib said…”Divide We Fall”.. a classic example of Mahathir blaming others…to confuse Malaysians.
    But to me…that is a clear sign…….UMNO is finished…no more issues to talk..except threatening voters to vote UMNO in…or be prepared to face….disunity.
    UMNO ..MCA and MIC…are they race parties or Malaysian parties??
    Ah so…the ever popular logic..each race take care of himself..to be united.
    If Najib is right…then majority Malaysians voters..do not want unity?
    Besides creating fear….it needs MCA to talk Hudud law to DAP…therefore religion is applied.
    Best of all…so much money …given out.
    Yes Trengganu voters are tested by UMNO….how smart they are. Be like Permatang Pauh voting to change government….or be very afraid…without UMNO…life in Malaysia is hell.
    UMNO have made our education system…producing so many half past six Malaysians.
    But self taught..self research….have awakened these youngsters to the truth. They cannot be fooled.
    The 12th election is first sign….no more going backward. UMNO knows…they are beaten…..yet do not admit it……keep using fear…..briberies…religion…with a touch of pleading for threatening Chinese voters…business will be hell….without UMNO.
    This is their style..threats…arrest..shut your mouth….bully you…and appeal to Muslim with religion issue.
    Can anyone honestly say….such style is to unite and bring Malaysians forward?
    Check it out….how China can unite their people..within 25 years…all 1.4 billion Chinese!!
    One clear sign….no corrupted ministers. Found hang…jail or shot.
    Here is the reverse….innocent Malaysians…or poor helpless victim… jailed..c4ed or disappear .. out of fear
    Do Trengganu voters want to change government or be afraId of UMNO??.

  23. #23 by Loh on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 6:17 pm

    ///The consensus among the rakyat as well as the establishment is that Tunku Muhriz is a far superior candidate, and a better person to boot, than the other contenders, the three sons of Tuanku Jaafar.


    As for Tunku Muhriz, he had learned his lesson well, and early, way back in 1967 when the Undangs (Territorial Chiefs) instead bypassed him to pick his father’s half-brother Tuanku Jaafar as the 10th Yam Tuan to succeed Tunku Muhriz’s father. Sensing that the royal throne would not be his, he wisely prepared himself for life in the real world outside the palace. By all measures he has done well, having obtained a law degree and acquitting himself credibly in the private sector./// –M Bakri Musa

    The Undangs in 1967 might have considered Tunku Mhhriz too young for the position then; and Undangs now consider it proper to return the position to him. The question on superiority of the candidacy might not have arisen at all.

  24. #24 by undergrad2 on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 9:13 pm

    How did the rotation system come into being? What happened to the Sultan before he was chased out of office by the advancing ‘red devils’? In Trengganu, the Japs set up their own puppet. The Brits did the same earlier in Singapore, Perak and Penang. In Penang they were more business like. No sultan was served the eviction notice.

    Will the learned limkamput do us a favor and connect the dots for those of us who are less than well informed than he is?

  25. #25 by One4All4One on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 9:46 pm

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    We will only know whether the pudding is up to mark after we have eaten and tasted it. However, taste is also a subjective matter, depending on one’s taste buds.

    Likewise, we will not know exactly what someone is up to or what he is capable of before we see him act.

    However, such an analogy cannot be applied to someone who had been in the public eye for a long time. We have known all his demeanor, capability or incapability, capacity or otherwise, moral standing, weaknesses and strengths, racial and religious posturing, level of tolerance or intolerance, personal habits ( good or bad ), and the sum total of his political, private and public life historical baggages.

    The overall taste of a known entity would have been known to the core to many a people. Either you like it or you hate it. The final rating and conclusion rest on individual preference and choice.

  26. #26 by undergrad2 on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 9:55 pm

    What happened to the descendants of the Sultan of Malacca? At least we know that the descendant of the Sultan of Singapore today enjoys a pension of $1,000.00 with the compliments of the PAP.

  27. #27 by Onlooker Politics on Monday, 12 January 2009 - 11:56 pm

    “The overall taste of a known entity would have been known to the core to many a people. Either you like it or you hate it. The final rating and conclusion rest on individual preference and choice.” (One4All4One)

    In a democratic system which involves with voting, the final rating and conclusion in relation to a known entity rest on how the voters have been influenced by their peers and also on whether the voters have strong will in wanting to spend time and to take trouble in order to cast their votes in accordance with individual preference and choice.

    Therefore, election campaign plays a very important role in soliciting for more votes in favour of a particular election candidate.

  28. #28 by monsterball on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 - 12:27 am

    undergrad2…I think Negri Sembilan royalties have something to do with Malacca royalties.
    I am not sure…but the menangkabau race from Java…dominated N.Sembilan and Malacca.
    Since you are such a smart bloke.. can we presume….all the Melaka descendants ran to Negri….or no male offsprings….so no more descendants?
    And “Onlooker Politics” gave you a very good reply on LEG.
    Hope you are getting smarter…the right ways.

  29. #29 by katdog on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 - 12:39 am

    Ha ha funny! According to Dr. M, competition for leadership is no good for the country. Because of competition for the leadership of this country (in other words the successes of PR in the Mar 08), we will now miss the target of Vision 2020.

    In order to meet the target of Vision 2020 we need a continuous and constant leadership. Changes would spell disaster and instability for the country (or so says Dr. M)

  30. #30 by Onlooker Politics on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 - 1:28 am

    Competition by itself does not necessarily carry a meaningful implication in relation to the improvement or perfection of a merit system. It is undeniable that competition will offer much more choices when scarcity of available resources requires us to choose the best and forego the second best in order to maximize the utility of the resources.

    However, when the competition has been intensified and boiled up to a fierce rivalry, then a crisis may happen. For instance, the competition between the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir and the former Lord President of Supreme Court, Tun Salleh Abas, during 1988 in relation to the judicial power of the Federation eventually led to a constitutional crisis in Malaysia. As a counter-measure in order to win the intense competition, Tun Dr. Mahathir submitted several constitutional amendments to Parliament, divesting the courts of the “judicial power of the Federation” and giving them only such powers as Parliament might grant them. Tun Dr. Mahathir also lambasted the judiciary for their interference in politics.

    Interference by court in party election could be noted in an intensified political rivalry. The Supreme Court in the years leading up to 1988 had issued several rulings that irritated Tun Dr. Mahathir, who had narrowly won re-election as Umno president in the bitterly fought poll in 1987.

    Among other things, a judge had declared Umno “an unlawful society” in a case brought by disgruntled losing party members coming from the camp of Tun Dr. Mahathir’s challenger, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

    The 1988 constitutional crisis ended with the sacking by a tribunal of Tun Salleh along with two of the five judges of the Supreme Court who granted Tun Salleh a temporary order against the tribunal, through the maneuver of the excessive Executive Power by Tun Dr. Mahathir.

    The worst effect of the intense competition is the symptom of long lasting competition-phobia in Umno. Until todate, we can only see that all efforts will be put in by Umno’s incumbent President in order to stop or to avoid competition by hook or by crook during the party election. And this logical reasoning can be well supported with Paklah’s saying from his own mouth to Umno members that “saya pantang cabar”, which literally means “I shun being challenged”.

    However, a reasonable level of competition is still largely deemed to be a catalyst for self-improvement and self-upgrade of an efficient workforce within an organization.

  31. #31 by Onlooker Politics on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 - 2:02 am

    Continual and constant leadership sometimes may be good for achieving a common goal which requires efforts and planning to be carried out on a long-term basis. However, if a senile leader has been given the chance to sit in the paramount top of the leadership pyramid for too long a period, then not much good change can be anticipated.

    The quality of human decision making tends to be restricted or obstructed by human’s inability to learn new things at the old age. As the old saying goes, “It will be too late to teach an old dog new trick!” Therefore, mild competition shall always be elicited in the party election in order to encourage giving chances to new bloods who are able to contribute to the rejuvenation process of the party leadership.

    In short, I strongly take the side of favouring mild and controllable competition during the party election.

  32. #32 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 - 9:00 am

    Bakri said, “the consensus among the rakyat as well as the establishment is that Tunku Muhriz is a far superior candidate”. First of all is there a consensus and on what basis this is deduced? Maybe it is deduced by Bakri from absence of public criticisms.

    Even amongst those (including Bakri) who approve superiority of candidacy of Tunku Muhriz over Tunku Naquiyuddin, the reasons they do so – and their reasons why Tunku Muhriz is a better choice – may or may not coincide with the 4 Undangs’ real reasons or criteria. Who knows what’s the Undangs’ real reasons?

    Some believe it is because Undangs had in 1967 by passed Tunku Mhhriz by reason of him being too young for the position then, and now it would be proper to return the position to him.

    Others may believe Undangs considered themselves custodian of the rich traditions of Adat Perpatih, grounded on Islamic precepts by which opulent life style or negative publicity is inconsistent with a position that is an embodiment of Malay heritage, traditions and culture.

    There may well be other considerations, we’ ll never know.

    Bakri is just using this example of Undangs’ choice of Tunku Muhriz (that Bakri approves of ) to fit his argument – that good leadership is better processed by competition (in this case, competing choice preferred by the Undang’s institution).

    I am not sure that this is a good way to argue the point when Bakri in same breath say s some unsavory things about Undangs in general – eg “present generation of Undangs being even more poorly educated and of lower caliber than their predecessors” or “the erosion in the caliber of today’s Undangs is of course directly related to, like everything else in Malaysia, corruption”. He went on to say “yet despite that, today’s Undangs were able to collectively come to a wise decision. Imagine how much good these Undangs would do for society if only they were more competent and less corrupt….”

    The Undangs are said to have made a right choice – because their choice happens to coincide with Bakri’s or our own preference – but Undangs may have reasons other than Bakri’s criteria of superiority of candidacy. Whether they chose for the right reasons in accord with what Bakri or we think are right reasons is also something moot.

    So, in general, Bakri’s argument that leaders should not be allowed to assume position by being the putative no. 2 but be subject to competition of choice from another body (whether Undang , delegates etc) will have to be qualified to encompass also the factor of wisdom, rightuousness or objectivity of the other body doing the appointment, and whether they choose on basis of right reasons of merit – or wrong/unmeritorious ones like for eg. corrupt influence of (say) money or other favours etc. ..

  33. #33 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 - 6:47 pm

    Malaysia should be proud. It gave the world the first in the way of rotating kings (no other country has a king that rotates i.e. takes turns to be king).

    It also gave the world the first rotating ‘undangs’ – though what they are being invited for is uncertain.

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