Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wind of Change: Scorpians and Columnists


I follow the Moskva
Down to Gorky Park
Listening to the wind of change
An August summer night
Soldiers passing by
Listening to the wind of change

The world is closing in
Did you ever think
That we could be so close, like brothers
The future's in the air
I can feel it everywhere
Blowing with the wind of change

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
in the wind of change

Walking down the street
Distant memories
Are buried in the past forever
I folow the Moskva
Down to Gorky Park
Listening to the wind of change

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow share their dreams
With you and me
Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
in the wind of change

The wind of change
Blows straight into the face of time
Like a stormwind that will ring the freedom bell
For peace of mind
Let your balalaika sing
What my guitar wants to say

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow share their dreams
With you and me
Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
in the wind of change


The Star, October 14, 2008

Winds of change in Umno Youth


The Umno Youth contest has become the race to watch as the underdog candidate has clinched the coveted nomination count to contest while the once mighty are struggling to catch up.

DATUK Mukhriz Mahathir was probably as surprised as many others in Umno to have zoomed ahead of the assumed strongman candidate Khairy Jamaluddin.

By the end of the first weekend round of Umno Youth divisions meetings on Sunday, he had 40 nominations, more than the minimum 38 he needed to contest the Umno Youth leadership.

Getting the requisite nominations is a key psychological milestone and that he got there before Khairy and Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo has been pretty stunning.

Just a week or so ago, he was placed in second or even third place after Khairy and Dr Khir. But it has been a long and dramatic week in politics for Umno and as the new Subang Umno Youth head Harrison Hassan pointed out it, “everything has changed.”

It is clear even at this early stage that the winds of change are blowing through the Youth wing.

Otherwise, how does one explain the way the underdog is now leading the nomination count while the once mighty are struggling to catch up.

Khairy, who is the incumbent deputy Youth chief, has secured 20 nominations so far, Dr Khir 12 and the fourth aspirant Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin only one.

Mukhriz’s leading trend is likely to continue this weekend and Khairy should be able to secure the requisite nominations by then.

But the picture is a bit gloomier for Dr Khir although his aides insist he will get there.

He thought he had steady support from the Youth wing in Selangor but he has had to struggle against Mukhriz and Khairy in the state where he had been a two-term Mentri Besar.

The cool reception to Khir in Selangor is also sign of how Umno feels about his role in the loss of this premier state in the general election.

He reckoned he had put the defeat behind him by taking responsibility and resigning as the Selangor Umno chief but it looks like all has not been forgiven.

But the question everyone is asking now is what has gone wrong with the Khairy’s political juggernaut?

Is it simply because his father-in-law is on his last leg as Prime Minister or is it something more complex?

He has campaigned extensively the last few months, he has tremendous access in his capacity as the incumbent deputy Youth leader and he has the funds.

He even has a “war team” comprising of some seasoned faces including a former journalist and a couple of bright, young individuals.

“The change is coming from the bottom. The grassroots are reasserting their voice. They are telling us who they want rather than we telling them who to choose. It’s been the trend after what happened in the general election,” said Harrison.

A total of 72 of the 191 Umno Youth divisions have met so far and the rest will hold their meetings this weekend.

Khairy, who has a stronger standing in the rural divisions, has had a tough time in the urban division meetings where members are more informed and critical.

In Setiawangsa, there were jeers from the floor when Khairy’s name was proposed and few were surprised when Mukhriz won with 53 votes against 29 for Dr Khir and 7 for Khairy.

“The wind for Mukhriz is very powerful this time,” said Zulflida Tahmali, an Umno Youth politician from Setiawangsa.

Khairy had an even tougher time in Johor although he secured three nominations there.

In Tenggara, delegates shouted tak mahu! when his name was proposed.

In Batu Pahat, he got only three votes compared to 95 for Khir and 186 for Mukhriz.

That is the kind of scenario he is facing in some places.

Johor has been outspoken about the party leadership and Khairy’s alleged influence in the present administration.

It is possible he is now feeling the full impact of the party’s discontent.

The last time the Umno Youth leadership was contested was in 1996 and the fight is turning out to be a top ticket match.

Some view it as a proxy fight between Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Others claim it is a mini referendum on the Abdullah administration.

Such metaphorical analogies do not cut much ice with the average Umno Youth member.

But they do realise that Umno is in dire straits and that the Youth wing has lost support among young Malays.

They are looking for a sincere and capable leader who will lead them out of the mess.

But the battle for nominations is just the first stage or a race up the hill. After that comes the race up the mountain and that is the tough one.


New Straits Times Oct 14, 2008

Is Mukhriz's popularity giving Khairy the jitters?

By Zubaidah Abu Bakar

EVEN if he is not, Khairy Jamaluddin has every reason to be nervous. His closest rival in the contest to be Umno Youth chief, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, has cleared the requisite 39 nominations while he trails with 20.

There is no doubt that the 32-year-old son-in-law of outgoing Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will clear his first hurdle, as he only needs 18 more nominations (from the 119 youth divisions yet to hold their meetings) to take part in his first real contest in the party.

He was appointed into the Umno Youth executive council in 2001 by Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (now the outgoing chief) and won the wing's No 2 post uncontested in 2004 when would-be challengers pulled out of the race.

Khairy's supporters have been proven wrong.

Mukhriz now holds the edge in the the contest for nominations and the "chief", as the Rembau MP is known as, has fallen behind.

Forty of the 72 youth divisions, the first batch of divisions that held their meetings over four days beginning Thursday, gave their nod to Youth exco member Mukhriz, who breezed through the qualification line to check in for the race in the March party elections.

Khairy found that divisions affiliated to him had given their nominations to others. All three divisions in his home turf Negri Sembilan had also nominated Mukhriz.

Former Selangor menteri besar Datuk Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, who is trailing with 12 nominations, may scrape through to qualify, although many are anticipating a face-off between Khairy and Mukhriz.

Umno watchers consider the Khairy-Mukhriz fight a proxy battle between Abdullah and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the former prime minister who is Mukhriz's father.

There are still many in the party's grassroots, however, who see the contest as nothing more than one between personalities.

For Mukhriz, the Jerlun MP who, at one stage, was not even sure he could get sufficient nominations, 40 in the bag is considered a major achievement.

His commanding lead suggests that Dr Mahathir still wields substantial influence in the party. It also means that Khairy has to work harder to at least narrow the gap, if not become the leading contender for the coveted position.

"I am still hopeful. I believe Dr Khir, too, will qualify," says Khairy, who also acknowledges Mukhriz as the front-runner with the present momentum while stressing the need for him to reach out to as many delegates from the branches and divisions as possible.

Khairy will also sit down with those who did not back him to seek their input once the nomination process is over.

Youth divisions should be reminded that the whole process of selecting a new leader in Umno Youth is about answering the clincher question: who shall most inspire young voters in the next general election?

Choosing the right Umno Youth leader has never been more urgent. The wing's image has not suffered this much since 1998, when young Malays began rejecting Umno over the sacking of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Umno Youth failed to deliver the young Malay votes in the March 8 general election. Umno's candidate also lost miserably the support of younger voters in the Permatang Pauh by-election in August.

The new leader therefore faces the tough task of reinventing the wing and winning back the young ground.

And for Khairy, Mukhriz, Dr Khir and fourth contender Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin, the big question is: who among them can youths effectively relate to?

The question never mattered this much in the past.

Still in his early 30s, Khairy is the only one who is part of the youth generation, although Mukhriz at 44, Dr Khir at 45 and 48-year-old Zahidi can still click with those much younger than themselves.

It is important that the winner must also be respected by those inside and outside the party, as a Youth chief, by virtue of his position, is automatically an Umno vice-president.

While Mukhriz has shown much maturity and wisdom in his approach and views, Umno Youth also needs someone like Khairy to counter the politics of opposition leaders.

And at this stage, Dr Khir cannot be written off as he could appeal to the middle ground, with Khairy and Mukhriz both carrying the burden of their family legacies.


Letting the time pass me by said...

This scorpion song used to be my favourite song during our jamming sessions back in the 90's....

But I believe some the columnist are ill informed, same as our dear PM when holding the GE...

I guess this is what happen when people only wanted to hear the "feel good" stories and continue to neglect the "real" information...

Anyway, good luck to all those who are contesting and may the best man win "fairly" and "squarely" ...

No money politics please....

Raison D'etre said...


Today (thursday, Oct 16, 2008) Khairy says he would double his work and that he is an underdog .

One thing the deputy Umno Youth Chief is is that he's well loved by the mainstream newspapers.

And its only five months down the line that we'll (those who cares anyway) know the final result on the contest.



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