For all those who have been shocked, shaken ,dismayed - or even devastated - by the outbursts at the recent Umno general assembly, I write this to pacify them.
Some of the speeches were downright comical and certainly more in rhetoric than in substance. This is nothing new at the Umno assemblies. The previous years and, in particular, in the early years of Umno, the assemblies must have witnessed even more vicious utterances by the delegates. Only then the public did not get to hear them.
The assemblies are perhaps the only opportunity for delegates who are otherwise non-entities to make their voices heard in a hall-full of passionate people in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. Oratory flair, humour and sychopancy among others take precedence over substance.
After the assembly, every delegate goes back feeling proud of himself having spoken his mind . This ventilation can be healthy at times. This, however, is unwise and certainly in poor taste when done under the watchful eyes of local and foreign media, the diplomatic corps and the pathetic leaders of BN component parties. The Umno delegates chose to speak like school bullies.
The prime minister may smile, laugh, nod or frown at the speeches but ultimately he decides what to take seriously and what to ignore. He has no choice, because the seat of the prime minister comes with responsibilities and the mandate to make sound, practical and acceptable decisions for the betterment of the nation.
Whoever who holds the position of prime minister knows that. At times, he has no alternative but to be a statesman rather than a politician. Pak Lah, in his inimitable style, has assured us that he is prime minister for all and not just for the Malays.
Delegates can scream their heads off but the prime minister decides when to hear and when to listen.