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UMNO Poll Results: Business as Usual

The just concluded UMNO Elections has confirmed the obvious, it will be business as usual for the party with the incumbents retaining their positions, and UMNO president Najib Razak having his preferred team intact.

Najib has focussed the past few months on UMNO, consolidating his power base in the party and ensuring his leadership remains unchallenged. In this period Malaysians have been exposed to some very ugly extreme right wing rhetoric from the party’s top leadership, while Najib himself kept silent at home and went around giving homilies on moderate politics abroad.

It is perfectly understandable for a party president to have his flanks secured in order to undertake any reforms. Now Najib no longer has the excuse of not having the party’s support.

However one cannot help but wonder how he is going to accomplish this feat when highly dubious and tainted characters guard his flanks. The re-election of Zahid Hamidi and Shahrizat Jalil (after being appointed as an advisor to the Prime Minister) are good examples. At the same time, some of the voices of change in the party have lost. The claim by some quarters in the party that the results are a victory of the progressive wing of the party has been proven to be false. It is a victory of incumbency and mediocrity.

The time has now come for Najib to make good on his mandate from the party and transform this country, not in words but in deeds. As UMNO shifts dangerously right, it is really up to him now to take charge now and show some much needed leadership.

But if his record over the past four years is anything to go by, it is unlikely we will see that happening.