If my posting entitled If Pak Lah is Leaving, Why is a ‘Level Four Boys’ Still in Command? on October 3rd reached the occupants of Ethos Consulting, there must be commotion there.
The boss is being considered as Principal Private Secretary for DPM's office and given time, sooner or later, may mean Principal Private Secretary for the PM. Ethos will effectively be the new Tingkat Empat boys and girls. The gang remain to rule.
You can bet last month's paycheck that the whole office is scrambling to deny, justify and spin message of my post. Don't be surprise if Omar Ong and his Ethos staff are the commentators in these blogs; here, here, maybe here and other UMNO bloggers in this aggregator here.
In the meanwhile, with the Raya open houses, they would probably be busy miggling and interjecting conversations to explain to friends and sedara that Abdullah did not heed or son and son-in-law changed one's proposal, advise and recomendation. And, they are not part or linked to Tingkat 4. Fine, but how do they expect people to believe such claims?
It takes more than that. The image and impression was built over so many years. And here is one tricky bit. The Khairy Chronicle, believed by many meant to make Khairy bigger than life, is filled with intricate details of the links between Omar Ong and Khairy.
Remember Khairy Chronicle? The book, which the claimed author is in trial in a PJ court for sedition charges and the real author is believed dead, based on a column in Malaysia Today. The column hit MT in mid 2005 and was made into a book. It have been in circulation for quite a few years.
Throughout the period, Omar Ong never denied his involvement in Khairy's schemes. Much of the details tally with events and talk along the Corridors of Power.
The ship of Abdullah, Kamaluddin and Khairy hit an iceberg and is waiting time to sink. How about publicly disavowing Khairy and reveal some sexy details now, Omar Ong? You will do a great favour to the nation to help Mukhriz, deny Khairy the coveted Youth Chief post and send him packing to Perth.
Snippets of Omar Ong's alleged exploits with Khairy in the Khairy Chronicle to follow. The whole book is DOWNLOADABLE from Savefile here.
THE KHAIRY CHRONICLES
Part 2: Out of the wormhole
... As a student at Oxford, expressing his doubts about Mahathir to fellow Malaysians overseas, he came to the attention of a certain Omar Ong.
Omar Ong, as can be seen from his rather peculiar name, is an ethnic Chinese. He is the son of Mustapha Ong, former Private Secretary to longtime Minister of Information Mohamad Rahmat and for some time in the diplomatic service in New York and Brazil. Currently living in New Zealand, Mustapha Ong became infamous during the Anwar Ibrahim trials when it was revealed he had tried to bribe a New York ethnic-Arab taxi driver called Jamal Amro to “confess” that he had procured boys and women for Anwar. Jamal Amro refused and instead made police reports accusing Mustapha Ong of trying to bribe him. Of course Mustapha Ong was shielded by Mahathir, even though his over-enthusiasm in trying to “fix” Anwar caused some embarrassment to the government, especially amongst the diplomatic community overseas.
Anyway, Omar Ong was a bit of a social climber and very ambitious. He tried to hitch his star to rising politicians as a means of fast-tracking his own ascent to power. He knocked on the door of Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim through the good graces of some of his political secretaries.
This was partially successful, as Anwar was persuaded to receive Omar Ong and his group in a private audience. Several more meetings followed and Omar Ong was hopeful that Anwar would be his ticket to heaven. In spite of that, there was still some opposition from Anwaristas such as Suhaimi Ibrahim, Fuad Hassan and Zahid Hamidi, who really wanted to keep Anwar all to themselves.
But a chance meeting with Daim Zainuddin made Omar Ong soon realise that something was brewing in the very highest circles and Anwar was going to be hit by a runaway bus, so to speak. Quickly, while thanking his lucky stars, Omar Ong dropped “the Anwar project” like a hot potato and tried to go for Najib Tun Razak instead. This was around three months before Anwar was sacked by Mahathir.
Najib, however, was a hard nut to crack. Omar Ong realised that Najib was surrounded by long time loyalists from his earlier days in government who screen newcomers to his circle with a parent’s protective eye. So it was decided that the next best thing would be Hishamuddin Hussein.
Hishamuddin Hussein was then just a junior UMNO politician. But he had a very big name behind him. There was no doubt that, after Hussein Onn died, Dr Mahathir felt that he owed a debt of gratitude to the former third Prime Minister and his family. Dr Mahathir began to put Hishamuddin on the fast track of politics, even over and above Hishamuddin’s superiors in the UMNO Youth movement such as Nazri Aziz and Zahid Hamidi. Hishamuddin got promoted several times within a year.
These fast promotions took its toll on Hisham. He was never a bright student or a sharp intellectual. Neither was he a good speaker nor a great orator. He had an unfriendly face and almost permanent crooked smile which reminded a fellow Minister of “the dead pope – after he had died”. Omar Ong set about helping Hishamuddin and his fellow student from Oxford, Khairy, came along as well. Soon, Hishamuddin began to rely more on Khairy than on Omar Ong.
To pay his debt, Hishamuddin introduced Omar Ong and his group to people close to Dr Mahathir such as his Political Secretary, Datuk Johari Baharom, and ISIS Director-General, Dr Noordin Sopiee.
A coincidence at the time was that Abdullah Badawi’s daughter had joined ISIS as a research assistant. And it was Noordin who introduced the two. Abdullah Badawi was then a Vice-President of UMNO and next inline should, for example, Anwar Ibrahim’s helicopter fall suddenly from the air.
Anwar’s helicopter did fall (though he was not on it at that time) but Anwar himself was booted out in September 1998. Like most other Malaysians, Khairy did not believe some of the more bizarre accusations hurled against Anwar by Mahathir. But it was the best of times, and the worst of times. There was opportunity and both Khairy and Omar took it.
A myth developed after Anwar’s fall from grace that Khairy had always been sympathetic to Anwar’s “Reformasi” struggle. Rumours grew that a student who had publicly asked Mahathir to resign in a gathering in London was really Khairy. Another story was that Khairy was the then boyfriend of Anwar’s daughter, Nurul Izzah, but they broke up when Anwar’s wife, Dr Wan Azizah, refused to make Khairy her political secretary but instead appointed another young man by the name of Nik Affendi Jaafar (now Senior Public Relations Manager of the EPF)...
THE KHAIRY CHRONICLES
Part 5: The heir and the pretender
... At that point, when Najib was most apprehensive about his political future, Khairy took advantage of Najib’s weakness by putting several of his people in Najib’s office. Khairy knew that many of Najib’s officers were 110% loyal to Najib and served him selflessly. Amongst them was Najib’s key point-man and trusted advisor, Datuk Alies Anor. But Khairy was very wary of Alies Anor. Alies was close to ABIM (his wife is a famous ABIM activist) and therefore close to Anwar Ibrahim. Indeed, many of Najib’s junior officers were drawn from the pro-Anwar camp as Najib had served Anwar as his Vice Youth Chief in the 1990s. As Anwar’s star rose, Najib wanted to please him so he sheltered several Anwar supporters in his office.
Other than Alies Anor, Najib had other advisors who were more cosmopolitan and therefore opposed to Alies’ worldview. Chief amongst them was Abdul Razak Baginda and a shadowy business figure called Rohana who controls Najib’s and his family’s estates overseas -- such as their flats in London and houses in Australia’s Melbourne and Gold Coast. Khairy approached these two figures and convinced them that the best person to advice Najib was a certain Omar Ong (see part 2 of the Khairy Chronicles).
Omar Ong became Khairy’s point-man in Najib’s office. He installed himself in an office a few doors away from Najib’s own and was given a chauffeur-driven car as well as ranking in the civil service just one step below the Deputy Secretary-General of the ministry.
But even that was insufficient. Khairy was worried that Najib might stray from the narrow road set before him by Omar Ong. After all, Omar Ong was hardly the most charismatic of individuals and as a Chinese convert to Islam he could be deemed an ‘outsider’ by Najib supporters.
Khairy then used another close friend called Dr Liew, his partner in his proxy company, Ethos Sdn Bhd, set up to dabble in government contracts. Khairy introduced Ethos to Najib and quickly hired personnel on large monthly retainers to advice Najib on several key Ministry of Defence jobs. Through their joint participation, Najib’s advisors and civil servants found their roles reduced and instead Liew and his officers began to take charge of sensitive decisions made in the Ministry of Defence. Closed tender contracts began to be awarded to companies associated to Omar Ong and Dr Liew.
Najib’s old advisors, in particular Alies Anor, found this situation extremely stifling. They realised they no longer had the undivided attention of Najib. Instead, Najib began to listen more to Khairy’s people who would also furnish Khairy reports on Najib’s daily movements. Further to that, they used their position to block several key Najib allies from seeing the Minister -- to such an extent that these people began to angrily distant themselves from Najib.
They disrupted daily briefings made by Alies Anor and the old officers, causing severe rifts in Najib’s office. But Najib himself felt that this was a price worth paying. He knew Alies was absolute loyal to him, even if he was removed from office. Najib wanted the post of Deputy Prime Minister and he was willing to pay any price, even kowtowing to Khairy’s boys if necessary.
Eventually, Abdullah could not hold back the decision any longer and Najib found himself Deputy Prime Minister as Dr Mahathir had planned. Khairy tried to take full credit with Najib, even arranging huge media coverage through Kalimullah Hassan Masheerul Hassan (Group Chief Editor of NST and a Khairy stooge). However, once safely in office, Najib began to wise up. He no longer felt he needed to pay as much attention to Khairy or his boys as he did before. In short, Najib began to fight back and loosen the chains that Khairy and Omar Ong had placed around him.
Najib began to develop parallel young talents in his office, in direct competition to Khairy’s boys. He chose Khairil Annas Yusof, an IIUM and Oxford law graduate with an ABIM background (and therefore diametrically opposed to Khairy’s worldview) as an additional Special Officer. Najib also began to reduce Omar Ong’s role in writing his speeches and relied more and more on Khairil Annas. Khairil Annas also began to train Najib and help him improve his Malay speaking talents, including the use of rhetoric and gestures, something out of sync with Najib’s previous character.
Although Omar Ong is the son-in-law of Fatwa Council chairman Ismail Ibrahim, his talents in the religious department were severely lacking. Khairil Annas made up for these deficiencies and quickly became Najib’s most trusted blue-eyed boy. Khairy’s boys in Ethos also began to find that, since he became Deputy Prime Minister, Najib was listening less and less to them. Dr Liew, who was previously tasked with finding a solution to the Felda problem, found himself muscled out by a new appointee in charge of Felda affairs, a certain Ahmad Maslan, a Johor UMNO stalwart of Anwar Ibrahim and former political secretary to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Mustapa Mohamad.
Khairy instructed Dr Liew to propose that Felda dispose of its shares in several First Board publicly-listed companies, such as Maybank, to parties close to ECM Libra, a boutique investment bank owned by Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan that employed Khairy as its director of Corporate Advisory. Dr Liew thought he could easily push this matter through as it was more or less an ‘instruction’ from Khairy. Instead, Najib used Ahmad Maslan to block the deal while ordering a reassessment of the proposal based on its merits ...
THE KHAIRY CHRONICLES
Part 16: The walls that talk
... But not all the leaks come from Anwar’s side. There are also people close to Khairy who have been doing the same. These are mostly his closest confidantes in the Ethos Consulting circle who move within the more Western-educated liberal young professional network. To them, Anwar’s sacking and humiliation by Dr Mahathir Mohamad was a travesty of justice and, in spite of their lack of open opposition to that cruel episode, they continue to pronounce that it was a black period in Malaysian politics. Khairy’s friends defend his record by openly espousing that, in his personal capacity, Khairy is sympathetic to Anwar’s plight. In fact, time and time again, these groups are reminded of Khairy’s magnanimous visit to Anwar’s house the night of the latter’s release from incarceration.
Khairy’s circle of friends comprise some young lawyers, bankers and political aspirants who believe that Anwar’s rehabilitation is a giant step in the effort to rid UMNO of the dregs of the Mahathir years. They tell themselves that Anwar would bring back UMNO’s lost popularity amongst the Malay heartland and revive Abdullah’s credentials as a liberal reformer. Therefore, in their discussions, they often leak Khairy’s efforts to reinstate Anwar within UMNO in order to portray Khairy as the voice of the future. In other words, to the more liberal groups who comprise the backbone of Khairy’s support, the discussions with Anwar is no bad thing. On the other hand, it is the undisputed proof that Khairy is serious about reforms and is not a politician shaped by UMNO’s older mould.
Leaks from Khairy’s circle usually comprise of two groups. The first group, those who are in immediate contact with Khairy such as Omar Ong, Ahmad Zaki Zahid, Norza Zakaria, Lim Kian Teck, Rozabil Abdul Rahman and others of that calibre, do not usually discuss these issues in public. However, some are forced to do so. For example, Omar Ong is nominally responsible to Najib Tun Razak as his Special Officer. He is often provoked by Najib’s other officers into giving them bits of information about Khairy’s movements and political planning. In other words, information is often squeezed out of Omar Ong as if he was a tube of toothpaste. Of course, in the end, the news gets back to Najib and in separate meetings with his more trusted advisors this information is sifted, analysed and examined more thoroughly.
The second group of Khairy leaks comprises those who were brought in by the first group as their support technocrats. These include the younger members of Ethos Consulting, YPCS and other such groups associated with Khairy. While they are known to Khairy, they are definitely not his bosom buddies. Nevertheless, whatever information they heard about Khairy’s movements is quickly disseminated for the simple fact that each and every one of these young and eager aspirants want to be seen by others as Khairy’s trusted lieutenants. Often, their unguarded and exaggerated claims are passed on to other friends who in turn make their own conclusions to the detriment of Khairy ...