The present stagnation of the politics and economy of Malaysia can be attributed to many factors, but none, in my opinion, is more critical and crucial than ageing and long-serving men and women refusing to give way to younger leaders. It happens not only in Umno, but also MCA, MIC, Gerakan, PAS, DAP and PRM.
In Umno, we see a bunch of ageing and old-fashion nationalists like Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Information Minister Khalid Yaacob and his parliamentary secretary, Zainuddin Maidin, Education Minister Musa Mohamed and his deputy, Abdul Aziz Samsuddin.
They are still dreaming in vain the restoration of the good old days.
In MCA, we have Dr Ling Liong Sik and his old Chinese business supporters. In MIC and Gerakan, S Samy Vellu and Dr Lim Keng Yaik have been here for years without producing new ideas.
The opposition leaders are no exceptions. PAS' Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, DAP's Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh and PRM's Dr Syed Husin Ali have been saying the same things day in and day out for the last 20 years. It is time they retire and make way for the younger generation in the party.
In the mainstream media, Abdullah Ahmad in the New Straits Times and VK Chin in The Star should go now. There is no more intellectual creativity and freshness in their writings and ideas. One is consistently anti-PAS, right or wrong, while the other one is still a Chinese chauvinist without fail. It is time they just enjoy family life. Let younger journalists and writers take over and inject new ideas into our public discourse.
Younger politicians and journalists should not follow the moribund and outmoded ideas of their elders. Instead, they should be daring enough to test new ideas in the public and accept challenges. They should not hide behind the old men and seek their protection. They should be independent-minded and dare to be different from the old generation.
Otherwise, in the 2009 (or earlier) general elections, we might still see Mahathir, Ling, Samy Vellu, Keng Yaik, Nik Aziz, Kit Siang, Karpal, Syed Husin singing the same old songs during the polls; Abdullah Ahmad and VK Chin monopolising public discourses on 'Islamic state', 'secularism', 'gratefulness', ' loyalty' — and how good and great they were in the 1980s.
Say bye-bye to all old folks in the system now!