Thursday, December 25, 2008

Will Anwar make a stand on hudud?

Anwar is in a catch 22 situation.

If he agrees to hudud he will lose the support of the DAP, a large section of PKR and liberal Malaysia. If he does otherwise, he alienates PAS and conservative Muslims. He is in this situation because of poor leadership. Spending time and resources in the wrong places instead of being focus in team building and team working within PR.

He is in trouble and PR may break up. Saying one thing to a group and saying another to a different group cannot work here. He will need to make his stand clear. Nothing short of a press conference with all the main leaders of PR coalition can save his day. Silence is no longer golden. Silence will add to the uncertainties, and leadership is about removing uncertainties.

Back in July to the anger of some Anwar supporters, I wrote( ) that Anwar is not a PM material (yet) as he still is lacking with what I coined Group-to-Group skills – a management idea I built and teach in a change management program.

Essentially, Group-to-Group skills is the ability to lead differing groups of people towards a common goal. In business it is the different business entities or departments, in Malaysian politics the various ethnic, territorial(like Sabah and Sarawak) and social groupings.

Basically, the number one job of a leader is to ensure every group move towards the goal at the same rate of efficiency but be faster than competition. I suggested then that due to Anwar’s lack of the skill the PR coalition will not last one year and this episode may just proof my point. But PR still has till March 8 2009

My sentiments about Anwar’s inability go back a long time, when he was still in the good books of Tun Dr. Mahathir and was a favourite in the Barisan Government. I predicted in the early 90s that his journey to be the PM is going to be real tough.

Instead I predicted then that Pak Lah was the likely candidate (though I was wrong then to suggest that he will last 3 terms!). The first time I saw Pak Lah’s likelihood to be a PM, I was 16 years old (1980). Then, I followed my father to an UMNO gathering in Kampung Syed Penang.

He was talking to a 100% Malay crowd and he nasihat that Malays must respect, take care and be sensitive to not just Malays, but also the non-Malays too. He said for the Malays to be successful leaders ‘kita jangan sakiti hati orang bukan Melayu’ and ‘mesti memimpin bukan saja Melayu tapi jadi pemimpin semua orang’ . I told my dad that he will be the PM ‘pasai dia tak kutuk China dan Hindu (Indians in Penang talk)’. My father just smiled – he had always thought that I am little too liberal.

I am not involved in PR-BN politics but just like many of you Malaysians we belong to THE THIRD FORCE (T3F). However, even if we are not involved, our lives will be affected by what they do.

What I propose is not based on party politics and I am not an Anwar basher – just someone who says a thing as it is. Anwar has many talents but unfortunately getting differing groups of people to work together is not his forte; it will be an uphill battle for him. He may try hard but he lacks the capacity. He may achieve some grounds as he did for March 8th, but it may not last long enough to make a real difference and create a two party system for Malaysia.

Until he does he will not become the PM and will not lead a really solid opposition coalition. He needs to check his framework and know that until he work on his Group-to Group skills, he will fail. Having a great drive to be the PM is not enough to raise him to the top. He needs to speak straight - and not cater his words on fundamental issues to grab votes and supports piecemeal making people happy in separation.

He needs the conceptual ability to marry not just differing groups and people in his coalition but also the country – we the T3F too. He has been busy trying to crack BN’s strength (an external force) spending time in Sarawak instead of working hard making his ‘loose’ coalition ( an internal force) into a solid PAKATAN – a United front that cannot be broken easily.

Weak leaders try to win by weakening his enemies, great leaders win by strengthening his own people first.

He lacks Group-to-Group attitude like powerful leaders in the past, Prophet Muhamad in Medina, Mao Tse Tung during the long march and pre 1949 revolution and Genghiz Khan who united the people with the analogy that an arrow in a bundle is unbreakable.

Personally, I would like to see Malaysia with a two party system. So I want PR to work out. The problem is Anwar may not have the capacity to lead it. Please understand, I am not saying he is of no good all together. He is the ‘Sun Yet Sen’ that roused people up, and he is really good at it, but today PR needs a ‘Mao Tze Tung’ to connect all the groups as like the Chinese revolution of 1949 and make things happen - methodically and clinically.

The opposition needs a stronger team, not a weakened BN.He may have outlived his leadership ability (unless he change and see the need to focus on his Group-to-Group skills) and PR may need a new leader.

Let me repeat, weak leaders try to win by weakening their opponents, strong leaders win by first strengthening their own team.

As a T3F member, I see March 8 2008 as one of the best things that have happen to the country. I have strong convictions that even BN members and supporters if they search deep inside; they will find that the losses in 5 states and not getting 2/3rd majority in parliament as perhaps the best thing that has happen to them. As Walt Disney said, “Sometimes a kick in the teeth is the best thing for you”.

DAP is forced to learn that it is not enough to talk but you must also do. That is good for all of us, even if DAP is a single term government of Penang, the lesson learnt will be of great importance.

PAS may just have to work harder to look deeper in the Quran and may find the answers therein. Don’t PAS ever wonder why The Prophet did the almost impossible and unite the tribal Arabs? He united 12 tribes who were at war for centuries and left a legacy of followers who went to conquer the world within 200 years.

The Prophet is a skilled Group-to-Group leader. A clear evidence is the Medina Charter . The Prophet did not seek to form the fashionable but shallow idea of an Islamic State or announced that he wants to implement the Hudud .

He managed to lead the 12 tribes even when Muslims were the minority - Group-to-Group skills at its best. To PAS, if you want to lead this country, I give you a little clue. The first part of the Medina Charter says that Muslims and Non-Muslims is one Ummah or community.

(1) This is a document from Muhammad the prophet (governing the relations) between the believers and Muslims of Quraysh and Yathrib, and those who followed them and joined them and labored with them.
(2) They are one community (umma) to the exclusion of all men.

Medina Charter.

Got it?

Look, I am one of the T3F member and I want the country to improve. A two party system will be good. But, to get there we need a stronger PR. To have a stronger PR we need great leadership. So PR will need a new leader if Anwar is not up to the task. Unless Anwar get serious and build a real coalition, this will not happen. Anwar may even need to make way for a better leader who can lead in a Group-to Group way. Is he up to it? Putting the country above self?

Or does PR need a new leader?


Stephen Doss said...

I guess in a way you can say that Anwar is being CONsistent. He has always had a different message for different audiences, of course he has learnt to be more careful these days because of the company he keeps. But now and then he does slip up....

KTemoc said...

good analysis, Anas - mind you, I have to confess I am already a true believer (in this analysis of yours, not him - wakakaka)