The majestic Democracy Tree: Visitors from all ethnic groups gathered here yesterday morning – (Click to expand) Photos by Kinta Kid
More visitors turned up in the evening; notice the bouquet beneath the tree
The BN knows what it needs to do to survive: it has to push through major reforms to wipe our corruption and abuse of power to win back lost support. But is it really capable of such reforms? This was the cover story I wrote for a recent issue of Aliran Monthly:
As the Umno election and general assembly in March approaches, the party faces a huge dilemma.
It is phasing out a leader (Abdullah Badawi) it feels is not suitable to lead the party following a general election setback last year which saw it lose its coveted two thirds parliamentary majority, while five out of 13 states fell to opposition hands.
Umno is now about to endorse a new leader, Najib Razak, whose own leadership credentials are in tatters following crushing by-election defeats in Permatang Pauh last August and Kuala Terengganu in January.
The irony is that it was the lack of meaningful reforms that led to the BN suffering an erosion of support. But it was Abdullah, more than Najib, who realised the importance of reforms, even though he largely failed to deliver them.
The 17 January by-election may not have changed the balance of power but it has implications that extend far beyond the capital of the resource-rich state of Terengganu. Voters were also sending a signal that the Umno power transition scheme had not impressed them. Many analysts saw it as the voters’ refusal to endorse Najib as the prime minister-to-be. Full article here.