Saturday, March 28, 2009

The ball is now at Khairy’s feet

The ball is now at Khairy’s feet
28 Mar, 2009

No, Khairy did not win because he bribed the delegates. He won because the Mahathir-Najib forces fielded two candidates and this resulted in split votes.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

First, let us see what the delegates to the recent Umno General Assembly want.

Musa Sheikh Fadzir, Bukit Mertajam, Penang

“People always say don’t play money politics. But this is a political organisation. If we don’t have money, how are we supposed to come to this AGM in Kuala Lumpur? Those days, an application for a taxi permit would require the endorsement of an Umno branch or division chief. If the branches and divisions are strong, then Umno will be strong again.”

Hasnoor Sidang Hussin, Bukit Katil, Malacca

“High-ranking appointments in government-linked companies and higher learning institutions should be reserved for Umno members. So, just like the president said about returning Umno to its roots, let’s bring Umno back to its glory days where we controlled everything.”

He also urged the government to ensure that only Umno loyalists be appointed to senior positions in public universities. “Please make sure the faculty members are all Umno men, and the same goes for other civil servants.”

Johor Umno Wanita chief Halimah Sadique

“They have questioned the social contract, Malay rights and Malay rulers’ privileges, and the lies do not stop there.”

Kelantan delegate Mohd Affendi Yusof

“Umno has been very lenient and patient towards Pakatan’s antics. In Islam, there is no forgiveness for those who commit treason against the sultan. The sultan is considered as God’s representative on earth.”

“Now is not the time for Umno to be soft and patient. It is time the party uses force to crush Pakatan Rakyat. We cannot be soft anymore. We must use force. And we will use it immediately after the annual general assembly ends.”


The recently concluded Umno General Assembly was an event full of contradictions. The rhetoric that emitted from the PWTC did not give any indication that Umno was standing on a platform of change. The message that was sent to Malaysians was that Umno is going to come down harder on its critics and the days ahead will see an Umno that is going to rule this country with an iron first.

Sure, Umno will change. But it will be for the worse, not for the better. Umno is like a trapped animal and trapped animals are known to hit back ruthlessly out of sheer desperation. And Umno is one desperate animal.

Khairy Jamaluddin was booed, yet again, three days in a row. Even Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad hit out at him and initially refused to attend the assembly because he does not want to give his blessings to a corrupt Umno by gracing its general assembly. Eventually, however, they managed to persuade him to attend. Umno just could not afford Tun Dr Mahathir boycotting the general assembly with three by-elections around the corner.

Khairy cheated, they screamed. He played money politics, they allege. In short, what they are saying is Khairy bought the votes by paying off the more than 700 Umno Youth delegates. According to the allegation, Khairy paid RM5,000 per vote plus a cell phone to buy his win. Basically, what they are saying is Khairy paid more than what his rivals paid, which was merely RM2,000 per vote.

I don’t know whether Khairy did pay RM5,000 per vote or not. That, to me, is not the issue because the truth of the matter is everyone paid, even Hishammuddin Hussein who paid RM2,000 per vote to the 2,500 or so delegates to win his Vice Presidency. If not for the RM2,000 per vote do you think that wimp would have won? No one is exempted from the crime of vote buying, except maybe Shahrir Samad. And that is why he is resigning, because he is clean.

Anyway, as I said, Khairy did not win because of the money -- even if the allegation that he paid RM5,000 per vote is true. He won because it was a three-corner fight. Khir Toyo is Najib’s boy. Can you remember ‘MB X’ that was revealed in the last episode of The Khairy Chronicles back in 2005-2006? If not then go read it again.

Many, at that time, pleaded with me to reveal who that ‘MB X’ who went to Najib’s house late one night to discuss contesting the Umno Youth post so that Khairy can be blocked from becoming the new Umno Youth Leader is. Being the cock-teaser that I am, I just smiled and told them to be patient and wait, and when Khairy wins the Umno Youth leader post I will reveal his name. I had expected the Umno general assembly to be held in 2007. I did not think they would drag it to 2009 like they did.

Anyway, ‘MB X’ is Khir Toyo and he was Najib’s nominee to contest the Umno Youth leader’s post so that Khairy can be denied that post. But something happened that was not part of the plan. And that something is they did not expect Mukhriz Mahathir to also contest the post.

Khir wanted Mukhriz to withdraw. Mukhriz, however, wanted Khir to withdraw instead. Both refused to give in so it became a three-corner fight. If it had been a straight fight then Khairy would have lost.

All Khairy needed was 40% of the votes. And he got slightly more than 40%. And since Khir and Mukhriz were both fishing in the same pond, the Mahathir-Najib pond, then their votes would be split almost equally and Khairy would win.

I am very surprised Tun Dr Mahathir and Najib could not see this. I am even more surprised that both Tun Dr Mahathir and Najib had no control over Khir and Mukhriz and were not able to tell one of them to withdraw so that it could be a straight fight -- whereby Khairy would be assured of losing.

No, Khairy did not win because he bribed the delegates. He won because the Mahathir-Najib forces fielded two candidates and this resulted in split votes. Khairy did not really win. The Mahathir-Najib forces lost because they applied the wrong strategy and shot themselves in the foot by fishing in the same pond, thereby splitting their votes and allowing Khairy, who had only 40% of the votes, to walk in.

Nevertheless, Khairy is now the Umno Youth Leader. In the past, Umno Youth was a party within a party. However, over time, Umno Youth became the wimp rather than wing of Umno. Will Khairy restore Umno Youth to what it once was before the time of Suhaimi Kamaruddin? That was in the days when Umno shuddered every time Umno Youth opened its mouth. It was a time when the tail wagged the dog.

Khairy has two choices. He can do what the delegates want -- make Umno Youth more radical, racist, intolerant of free speech, criticism and dissent, and whatnot. Or he can push for reforms and restore Umno’s lost fortunes. Will Khairy push for draconian laws such as the Internal Security Act, Sedition Act, University and University Colleges Act, Societies Act, Publication and Printing Presses Act, Official Secrets Act, and whatnot, to be repealed and replaced with the Bill of Rights, Freedom of Information Act, Anti-Discrimination Act, Race relations Act, etc.?

Time, of course, will tell. Khairy can either play to the gallery or, seriously and sincerely, push for reforms. The rhetoric during the recent Umno General Assembly is unsettling. Instead of moving forward, the Umno delegates want to turn the clock back and take us back to 1520 rather than move forward to 2020.

In the minds of the Umno delegates, Malaysia is a Malay country and the non-Malays are treasonous for questioning this. Questioning Islam, the Rulers, Malay rights and privileges, and so on, is an act of war that must be met with force. The Social Contact is supreme and all other considerations take back stage. The Rulers are appointed by God and questioning the Rulers is an act of treason and tantamount to questioning God Himself. And so on and so forth.

What fucking crap! How can we even stand by and do nothing and allow this to perpetuate? The ball is now at Khairy’s feet. I have said in an earlier article last month that I will support Khairy if he wins the Umno Youth leadership and pushes for change. If not then I will make it my life’s work to bring him down.

I shall start by requesting for a meeting between Khairy and the Bloggers. He can choose to say yes or he can choose to say no. The choice is his. I just want to see change and I don’t care a damn who I work with to bring about these changes as long as we see these changes. I will even work with Tun Dr Mahathir if need be to force changes, which I have done so since 2006.

I don’t like what I heard at the recent Umno General Assembly. The country is going to go backwards if Umno does what the delegates want it to do. The ball is now at Khairy’s feet. Will he propose reforms or will he follow the current just to protect his position?

Khairy wants to be Prime Minister by the age of 40. That is not too long away. I have no problems with that. I just want to know what kind of Prime Minister he is going to be. And what kind of Prime Minister he is going to be will all depend on what kind of Youth Leader he is going to be. So let’s hear what Khairy has to say about which direction he is going to take Umno Youth.

In the meantime, while we await Khairy’s response, read the following piece by The Economist which sums up in a nutshell my concerns about the future.


Ruling party chooses a new leader, but not a new direction - by The Economist

Party conferences are seldom thrilling but this week’s gathering of over 2,500 ruling-party faithful in Kuala Lumpur has the eyes of the nation upon it. For, as Umno goes, so goes the country.

Since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957, Umno’s chosen leader has always become the country’s leader. This year the torch is passing from Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the prime minister, to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his deputy, who is standing uncontested as Umno leader and due to be sworn in as Malaysia’s sixth prime minister next week.

But his ascension to the top has its difficulties. A resurgent opposition is riding a wave of discontent as the country slides into recession. Some types of old-fashioned repression, like the decision to suspend two opposition newspapers, no longer work in a digital age. The party is widely seen as corrupt and self-serving. Its record on economic growth and maintaining order still attracts support from older Malaysians but counts for much less with younger voters. Everyone in Umno agrees that trouble lies ahead. Can it be averted?

Najib talks of “massive changes”. But Malaysians have heard it all before, most recently in March 2008, after Umno’s dreadful showing in a parliamentary election. The spasm of introspection soon turned into a blame game and Abdullah was forced to say he would resign. The ensuing scramble for positions in Umno has done little to change a widespread view that the party has been in power too long. The only person willing to stand against Najib, the consummate insider, was Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a veteran outsider. Such a contest might have produced a debate about the party’s direction. Instead, Tengku Razaleigh’s candidacy was quashed by party chiefs.

The underlying problem — for Umno and Malaysia — is, to use the favoured euphemism, “money politics”, meaning backhanders paid for public-sector contracts or, where Umno is concerned, seats at the high table. On March 17 the party’s disciplinary board said it had found 15 members guilty of money politics. They included Datuk Ali Rustam, chief minister of Malacca, who was campaigning to become deputy party leader. He was duly disqualified. Ali did not, however, step down as chief minister, nor is he facing criminal charges. Such episodes make talk of reform ring hollow. For all his fumbling, Abdullah seemed to recognise this. It is unclear whether anyone in the new ruling circle does.

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