Sunday, March 29, 2009
PAK LAH'S UNEASY ENDING
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