Grooming winnable election candidates

  • Letters
  • Wednesday, 23 Nov 2011

MANY rumours about the next general election (GE13) – like when it is going to be held and who are the candidates – have been making the rounds since about three months ago, perhaps longer.

We can now see political parties preparing themselves, and lobbying for candidateship has been going around, with the buzz getting louder and louder. The media, printed and electronic, run news on this almost daily.

The Prime Minister said that Barisan Nasional will nominate winnable candidates, and I believe he already has the names of all the candidates who are going to contest in GE13.

This may also be true of all the parties that we know are going to contest.

Since there are many qualified people in terms of paper qualifications, experience, proven leadership, etc, available in the country today, it cannot be that difficult for political parties that want to contest in GE13 to look for winnable candidates.

Many countries groom their leaders as early as from school, and these selected people are made to go through various and vigorous tests and challenges to be assessed.

The shortlist will probably be made when these people are in university. They would have gone through physical and mental check-ups along the way and their backgrounds and the people they keep in contact with have already been thoroughly vetted by the state’s agents somewhere during the grooming process.

Most would get the feeling that they are “under watch” by the scholarships offered to them and the various invitations they get to join talks, discussions, forums, seminars, meetings and dinners with party stalwarts at state-organised events.

They are also normally asked to participate in government-sponsored social, sports, and educational activities, etc. They are also encouraged to hold positions in clubs and societies in schools and universities, and when they leave university they will be offered “selected” jobs either in the government or the private sector, in companies that belong to the state.

However, even up to this stage, they may still be uncertain why they are asked to do certain things through the schools or universities they are studying in or the companies they work for. There is no way for them to check or verify this.

The country would be looking for people who have many good qualities besides tertiary education (a good first degree in any field of study), such as integrity, vision, flexibility, good values, and being transparent and results oriented, among other things.

Leaders who have the people and the country at heart and proven patriotism and loyalty to the country will gain those additional brownie points to make the final cut.

The strongest hint that these people are on the final “wanted list” is when they are called for interviews with senior party members, and the icing on the cake is when they are called for interviews with the party chief.

I am not sure if our country has any leadership grooming pro­grammes and, if it does, whether a strong pool of winnable candidates has been selected to be nominated to contest in GE13. If it does not have one, it’s time to start one.


Shah Alam.

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