Sunday, March 29, 2009
CRUSHING END TO PAK LAH’S RULE IN UMNO
Crushed into a crunch, leaving in a pall of gloom, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Pak Lah) on the last day of Umno’s 59th general assembly, took a final stab at his successor, Najib Tun Razak, on the Saturday that seemed to have planned to rain but didn’t, possibly to see to it his predecessor, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, would attend the event and come out dry and comfy.
The New Sunday Times 29th March front-paged the story, asking aloud, “April 2 handover?”, meaning will the transfer of power actually happen on April 2.
It’s about the last words of Pak Lah in the 2008 General Assembly he had stalled and was finally held the previous five days, electing a new set of office-bearers in the Supreme Council that ought to have been done in 2007.
In that final speech at the assembly he announced he would be seeking an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) on Thursday, “to convey his intention of relinquishing his post as prime minister.”
He said, “Insya Allah (God willing), this will be accepted,” the New Sunday Times reported on page 3.
It’s a stretch of words that was a clear offence, leaving some interpreting the clause to mean the Yang di-Pertuan Agong did not want Najib Tun Razak to become Prime Minister.
Already unhappy about having to live in Umno with his remarkable son-in-law as the new Youth Chief, many could barely digest the offensive of the former party president and outgoing premier. It was uncalled for.
In the foyer a little later, a political writer told me the Agong does not want Najib, a quick semantic enhancement of the spit that could have had its root in the appeal to the King former de facto law minister, Zaid Ibrahim, had said he would make.
I replied it wasn’t true. It’s merely Pak Lah finding it difficult to relinquish his posts, I said.
Pak Lah was insisting he would go down in history worse than badly. His son-in-law had won in the election for Youth chief after he was announced guilty of political corruption by the party’s disciplinary board.
Even after he was booed in the assembly his father-in-law used the occasion to declare Khairy Jamaluddin deserved to win because ‘he had worked very hard.’
Family had always come first to Pak Lah. Now family had come before party and nation, a sizzling sufferance the party members will not hold without baulking, causing many to question whether the BN can make it in the Bukit Gantang by-election on April 7 with that man on board. The BN will.
When asked how Khairy shall find his spots in Umno after the repeated booing and heckling, Pak Lah said Anwar Ibrahim too had had a degree of difficulty when he became Umno Youth chief in 1982.
The comparison cannot hold. Anwar was not only a charismatic leader from his student days but an internationally acclaimed youth leader as well.
Before joining Umno in 1981 Anwar was ABIM president for nearly a decade and president of the Asia-Pacific chapter of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). How does Khairy at all compare?
In any case, Anwar is now leading the Opposition pact. Will Khairy be going his way?
The Supreme Council election had otherwise been satisfactory to the larger good of the party, bringing in Muhyiddin Yassin as number two with Zahid Hamidi, Hishamuddin Hussein and Shafie Afdal as vice-presidents.
The new team is widely read as giving Najib a strong support in his agenda for change, a call the party must make, or crumble to death in the process by the sheer weight of its luggage. The party has become corrupt.
The move necessitates a clean party leadership and cabinet, something Pak Lah was top-billed for five years ago, him turning upside-down so swiftly it defeats an easy example to be gotten from human history.
He seemed to have believed his job was first and last to dismantle all that Mahathir had done, himself willingly becoming Singapore-inclined to the degree he dumped the national quest to regain the use of the Selat Tebrau (Johor Straits).
People were aghast when Malaysia lost to Singapore Batu Putih (Pedra Blanca). Thousands had wept openly, the tears suggesting Pak Lah’s end times will not be an easy one. ---a. ghani ismail, 29 March 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
NAJIB IN A DO OR DIE CLINKER DRY POLITICAL WARP
Can He Avoid A Purge In Umno?
REALITY IN UMNO crashed like a head-on collision of bullet trains on Wednesday, 25 March 2008. The outgoing premier’s son-in-law, the notorious Khairy Jamaluddin, was announced the winner in the contest for the coveted Umno Youth chief against all odds.
It was just about 24 hours after Najib Tun Razak delivered his Umno-reform speech to the party’s wings, promising a clean-up and an acceptable team for his cabinet when he does become PM on April 2.
Khairy, who was declared by the party’s disciplinary committee guilty of political corruption was somehow not disqualified from contesting in the party’s elections.
Others were, including a contestant for the party’s deputy president.
Initial reactions were of deep dismay. The turn of events which was not altogether unexpected, was widely described as “disastrous,” the impact stupefying after Umno and the BN’s colossal losses on 8 March, 2008, and the bad streak in by-elections that followed.
The victory was indigestible, the stomach pain it caused trailing into certain conclusion that Umno has become corrupt at the core and will lose at the 13th general elections unless the toxic waste is quickly removed.
Diehard members in the party wishing to keep spirits from collapsing suggested Khairy may be made to prove his innocence in court.
But the contest for power hasn’t ended and should Muhammad Muhammad Taib win position number two today, many opined little would be left in the new leadership line-up to stage a credible moral conflict for Najib to regain any trust and stage a purge.
It isn’t Umno alone that’s facing a moral crisis. Malay elected representatives in the Party Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) have promptly proven themselves morally lacking as well, two unable to resist the dubious succulence of cheap China Dolls and another duo in Penang allegedly caught with their hands deep in the cookie-jar.
Those in Pas aside, the Malays, especially in Umno, have had to pay rather of a high price for rushing for big cash through the swift transition from the agrarian to the commercial and industrial society without the briefest ideological effect under Dr. Mahathir.
As a result, a large chunk of the urban and new-urban Malays were becoming overwhelmingly materialistic, currently described by the intelligentsia as “self- interested” for simplicity.
In other words, in his enchantment with pragmatism, Dr. Mahathir failed to administer the correct medicine for the people he pooled into his string of corporate housings and industrial parks to provide for his brand of the new society.
Najib’s father, the architect of the New Economic Policy (NEP) was different. Tun Razak was a Labor Party member in England.
As premier, basing his model of development on the ideals and strategy of Labor, he purposed a clear ideological direction and set of priorities which he secured in the NEP, plus his Red and Green Books.
The transition involved millions of Malays in the rural-urban drift.
In the social and cultural shifts, to function in a modern and plural society the Malays would have required something clearer and more concrete than the archaic content of the Malay-Islamic corpus that had become more of rites-of-passage rather than anything we may construe as a living ideology.
This is now the Malay Dilemma – to purpose an intelligible, coherent and comprehensive ideological display of the processes of change, modernization, development and integration, albeit dressed in Islamic garb, or to continue refuting the need of an ideology and trust in the charisma of the leader who addresses the future as a pragmatic accident of fortunes, and of fate – his own.
Hence, Najib must first resolve this dilemma with a certain sense of purpose and a strong will.
People ask endlessly, can he do it? Or can’t he?
The answer is simple – he must. Or it is indeed the end of Umno. It is do or die. --- a. ghani ismail, 26 March 2008
Monday, March 23, 2009
With the worst over and Najib Tun Razak finally and actually taking over as Umno president and premier after the 59th Umno general assembly beginning Tuesday 24 March, tension was decently absent during the Sunday Malay Unity gathering at the TNB Multipurpose Hall in Kuala Lumpur where former Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, delivered a lengthy keynote address to usher in the new regime.
Speakers and attendees, admitting their feelings of anxiety, were quite relaxed, some suffering themselves in private about the lack of a think-tank to settle for a common and coordinated strategy.
It was about surveying the grounds lost during Pak Lah’s five years of flip-flop and the moral decay in Umno crowned by Ali Rastum’s disqualified bid for party number two because of “money politics.”
It was a peep of the new divide among the Malays who are now given to three political parties with the intrusion of the multiracial Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) led by Anwar Ibrahim.
The underside up, the once docile Malay agricultural community, having been predominantly transcribed into a commercial and industrial society governed by state-enriched political, administrative and professional elite in as many years as Mahathir was PM, has split by dint of educational and workplace diversities as the strongman was retiring.
He had successful turned Malaysia into an industrial nation but the Malays had not derived new production tools worthy of note other than in manufacturing the Japanese techno-graphed Proton cars, hybridized with the Lotus from Norwich in England into a national pride.
After it had gone stale by Pak Lah’s politics of vengeance against Mahathir (he had even ordered the Augusta holdings of Proton sold for one Euro, worth RM4.50 at that time), the Malays in Umno and in some NGOs now want to regain the lost grounds and the lost time. .
Dr. Mahathir, ruing the divided house, called for a straight shot back to Malay political dominance. He mentioned Pak Lah’s Singapore Sling in apt rupture.
“Some Malays are even afraid to refer to Malaysia as Tanah Melayu (Malay motherland), preferring to steer clear of ‘racism’ since anything that has to do with a commitment to the unity and development of the Malays and Bumiputra would be strenuously condemned as being ‘racist.’
It’s a recall of the role of Umno, a role that has been lost in the moral slump of a party now seen to have been squashed into a cesspool and appearing no more than a grant of wholesale corruption.
After Malacca Chief Minister, Ali Rastum, was debarred from the Umno Supreme Council election, Pak Lah’s son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, has been found guilty of vote-buying by the Umno Disciplinary Committee, but he was allowed to contest.
He wanted to become the Umno Youth chief now and Prime Minister before he turns 40 in seven years. Mahathir mentioned him and immediately took a drink to clear his throat.
Most leaders at the gathering were clear about rallying behind the new leader, Najib Tun Razak, and standing up against Anwar Ibrahim, who will have to hold on to his seat to face the impending slaughter.
But while among the speakers political outlooks were different, everyone was certain about one thing – that there should be no compromise on the special rights and privileges of the Malays and Bumiputras.
“We need to be clear about one thing first,” said Datuk Panglima Salleh Said Keruak. The special rights and privileges enshrined in the Constitution cannot be shared.”
Representing the Bajau in Sabah, he said, ”power can be shared but not in a 50-50 equation. We in Sabah are not willing to depart from what was agreed in the founding of Malaysia in 1963 and we look to the Malays in West Malaysia to uphold and to defend the agreement.”
After that was wrapped the worries extended to the decision to end the New Economic Policy and showed through in the technological gap that expanded during the five years of Pak Lah as premier.
Off-stage a few talked about the technological lapse.
A couple of years ago Sony presented in Malaysian malls its robots dancing in wireless choreography involving more than 200 movements.
That happened while we were perversely regressing into a digital gap with the Japanese that could span 60 years once again.
Pak Lah chose to plant fruits for export to Japan in a free-trade exchange with Japanese automobiles, an exchange that could have been inspired by Aladdin’s new lamps for old.
Umno should be made conscious about that fact. It was that kind of criminal waste that had caused much of the widespread disillusionment and anxiety when in a time like this the nation should have opted to employ high-tech in agriculture too.
It was primarily because of that technological and moral regression that Umno lost her role as the Malay leader and must now quickly regain the profile or the Malays will not rally behind the party as they had done many times in the past.
The party is corrupt at the core, its rich elite sunk prematurely into debilitating hubris bringing an unprecedented dissociation the party leaders cannot fail to redress without losing altogether the faith and the trust of the Malays.
The malady is captured in a brief and succinct description by Prof. Dr. Shamsul Amri of Etnika, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Said he, Umno has become socially and politically distanced from the Malays.
The party is no longer representing any ideals of the youths too.
With six million new voters expected to be registered for the next general elections in a total of 16.9 million, the Umno leaders ought to slot that remark into the members’ brains to instantly motivate re-orientation. .
Umno and the BN are facing three by-elections on April 7, which could be less than one week into Najib’s leadership.
Even if losing in Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai may be overlooked, in Bukit Gantang a BN defeat can mean a very long haul to redeem Najib.
The former Perak Menteri Besar, Nizar Jamaluddin, will be Pas candidate. Umno/BN ought to win.
The fight for Malay survival and political dominance is on in earnest and it must begin right now. Hidup Melayu! ----a. ghani ismail, 24 March, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
INSIDE THE MELODY OF A FRANTIC MOTLEY
Shultz is dead. But inside the Pakatan Rakyat’s capricious political lap-up, his catching comic-strip, Peanut, is kept alive and going strong in Malaysia.
The Pakatan is nearly a juvenile cult that’s severely struck by self-flogging the likes of which has never been seen or heard on this side of sanity.
It’s gone mad. The behavior from the sudden loss of power in Perak, hopelessly infected by the undressing of a Selangor State Executive Councilor has given the political pact to convening the Perak State Assembly under a tree and then celebrating the event of March 3 with a plaque planted beneath the tree it named “Democracy Tree”.
Hilarity of such a height cannot be serious about damage control.
The pact, having sustained serial self-inflictions, ought to have had the sense not to behave as a comic opera if it is at all serious about becoming an alternative to the Barisan Nasional (BN), the corruption and snoot-arrogance of the rich considered and duly detested.
When the plaque under the “Democracy Tree” was vandalized and then removed, the comic opera in Perak reacted as expected, to vow to replace that plaque with a better one – in four languages, making itself a political trite worth no more than a used tissue.
Right on time like a bell that tolls, Gobind Singh Deo in Parliament shouted across the floor to call Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, a “murderer”, crowning his lusty version of the Altantuya trial with a spiteful abuse of parliamentary privilege to seal his own fate and that of the Pakatan in one blabbering blob.
Whether or not Gobind Deo will recover from his suspension of one year beginning 16 March is of no historical value. It will be a historical fact that Pakatan is sunk.
Change has come to Malaysia after five-years of stupefying somnolence of a leader Dr Mahathir had seen fit to prescribe as his successor.
Now that Najib Tun Razak will become Premier at long last, it is his concept of One Malaysia that will attract popular support and reduce the Opposition once again as it happened in 2004.
Najib knows he must appeal to the people. He is aware the people have become a Third Force that will morally decide between the Ruling Coalition and the Opposition.
The Opposition, even as it attempts to scare Najib with the ghost of Altantuya and wring his neck with allegations of mega-corruption, has failed to show any evidence to underscore the wild fabrications.
What appeared last week as a “new revelation” purportedly written by a French journalist residing in Bangkok merely made public what was in the cautioned statement of Sirul, one of the pair still in trial over the gruesome killing. That statement was not admitted in court.
Even the last minute attempt by the spurned Prime Minister, Pak Lah, to gain some vital sympathies from Malay and Chinese parents, teachers and scholars by protesting against the teaching of Mathematic and Science in English, has failed to inflame popular temper.
What that means is simply that the extraordinary swing the Opposition enjoyed in the previous general elections will not stay after Pak Lah, le estranger, has gone home to roost.
The Opposition had won by a hulk of BN voters who voted against the Coalition to remove Pak Lah, a willed act of moral conscience.
A quick look at the 2008 elections results will show merely 15 percent of returnees are needed for the BN to regain the two-third majority in parliament and all state governments including Kelantan.
But it is unlikely, at this point of time, for the BN to capture Kelantan. There the Pakatan has gained Tengku Razaleigh as an ally, him failing to gain a second nomination to contest for president in Umno against Najib and therefore, is at war.
Now, as the excitement begins to subside and more people return to sobriety after the drunken recall of primitive power in the Opposition pact, the question most people would want to know is not about who will be brought home in the three by-elections to take place on April 7.
Rather, it is about what kind of gel is best to enlarge poorly endowed bosoms for exciting sexuality in the back seat of Toyota Camrys with LCD monitors bought at higher-than-normal market price in a stressed economy.
Yeah! People are generally more politically relaxed. Most have made up their minds. It’s the cult members and supporters that are still a scream---a. ghani ismail, 17 March 2009