It does not matter if it is Muhyiddin or Muhammad Taib, Khairy or Khir Toyo, Zahid Hamidi or someone else. The thing which must change is the mindset of UMNO’s leadership. Of course, Najib did emphasize on change. Mukhriz made ‘change’ his election platform.
But the ‘change’ they called for is not a change which is sorely needed by the nation. We need a change in the way this nation is governed. Not a change which will only seek to deepen and strengthen ethno-religious politics. Not the kind of change which will make UMNO more hegemonic, make the police force or any public institutions the tools of politicians or alter the democratic system of this country which may curtail individual rights.
If the change UMNO seeks is to seek more control over government apparatus, more positions in the government linked companies and full access of public resources, then the party will transform fully into an autocratic regime.
Recently, it has taken some harsh decisions against detractors. Bar Council has been warned against the use of ‘Allah’ in its online poll. Judiciary reform undertaken by Abdullah has faltered when Ipoh High Court’s Judicial Commissioner Ridzwan’s tenure was controversially renewed for 2 more years after he has made controversial decisions against the Perak state assembly speaker. Even the chief judge was implicated in a recorded statement that he had bribed the judiciary when he was in legal practice. No police statement was ever taken from him.
More abuses have been unveiled and they have become a common feature in the Malaysian way of life. To a number of Malaysians, politics in UMNO is synonymous with everything negative. This is a huge perception hurdle for the party.
Abdullah was right that the party cannot bully its way to power. Regardless of the new leadership lineup, UMNO needs to change its political approach and mindset. It is does not drop its old game plan, there is very little hope the party to turn around.
Is the new leadership truly free of those tainted by power corruption? The answer is quite obvious.
But the component parties will hail the leadership as a new dawn. Predictable.