Being there at the PLF, when Dr M sounded the Gong for round 3, my immediate reaction is: Thats cheap! Its very misleading and an obvious "putting words in mouth" trick.
Its rather surprising that Carolyn seemed to stoop to such street level political analysis. The sort one find loitering at the sidewalk cafes of The Mall, in front of Pan Pacific Hotel, Kuala Lumpur and late midnight Mamak outlets.
By putting words not said into Tun's mouth, her report could have the effect of reducing the relevance and diffusing Tun's call against vote buying. (Do read Johan Jaafar column in NST today - read below)
Singapore paper, and Hindu God-Muslim Mullah and Brendan Pariah's former employer. Perhaps, still employer. Ohhh boy .... do I smell Singapore conspiracy. Could it be a Khairy's conspiracy?
That should attract the "Khairy"-troopers here and generate lots of debate. One will expect the cheap shallow UMNOesque arguments, typically ala Mat Taib and Ali Rustam from Khairy's immature bunch of cybertrooper, flooding in. Off course, interspersed with name-calling and character assasination.
Yummy! Nothing excites me more than a good fight. The ole man sounded the alarm, "Offense is the best offense." And, a timely reminder - WARNING! Obnoxious comments will be refused release. Children, grow-up and behave ...
Thats not quite right, Carolyn
Round 1 was the June 2006 Forum at Century Club, Taman Melawati, organised by a hodgepodge of political activists; friends, foes and competing factions, including Raja Petra's Malaysia Today. This was the event that propelled MT.
Tun began to raise issues on the new administration of Abdullah's deviation from the policy masterplan into his Tingkat 4's poorly conceived Temasek skewed liberalisation-meritocrasy-globalisation policies.
Round 2 was his post-operation apprearance at the MyKMU affair in New York Hotel, Johor Baru circa 2007 to call for the removal of Abdullah.
For this Round 3, he called for "offence is the best defense" against vocal challenges against Bumiputera's Constitutionally enscribed rights. He called for a "peralihan kuasa" that is not merely body but still uttering commitment to "teruskan polisi-polisi Abdullah Badawi."
The mother of all call against vote buying corruption in UMNO. He demanded all corrupt politicians be rid off or UMNO will demise at the next GE13.
Dr M never mentioned Mukhriz and Muhyiddin there. Checkout with all the astute political pundits present. He was silent.
Tun was merely using the strange sudden surge of nominations for Muhamamd Taib and Ali Rustam at the third and forth week to illustrate the obvious rampant presence of vote buying.
I doubt Carolyn is unaware of Divisions instructed by wahyu from above, way way above, to nominate so and so. She should not deny knowledge that money was changing hands to delegates for nominations, and raising hands for vote.
On Mukhriz, Tun has never explicitly mentioned any support for him in any of his speeches or writing. Thats too obvious. He ain't stupid, cutey.
He did wrote in his blog to alert the possibility of money used to secure nominations. To illustrate this, he used Mukhriz's remark that he may not receive sufficient nominations due to money politics. The message he was trying to convey is that popular grassroot choices could be denied by money.
In further defense of Mukhriz, although the resemblance is uncanny, the reality is far from it. Mukhriz's early avalanche of nominations is unexpected. The only expected outcome was the final number of nominations but reversed as Khairy came third instead of first. On many occasion, the voting choice of delegates wildly differ from that of grassroots.
If she felt Tun is indirectly campaigning for Mukhriz, she better substantiate further. Otherwise, she could be perceived as playing to Khairy's gallery.
Khairy's Offensive Psywar and Image Repair Excercise
Khairy's psywar is to smear Mukhriz with the coward and softie image. During the later part of the campaign, his team was spreading rumours that "Mukhriz pun sama main duit."
His cybertroopers are using every bit of Tun's own political effort to save UMNO from further self distruction as campaigning for Mukhriz. They must have no qualm at the more than 1,000 complains received by the UMNO Disciplinary Committee. Wonder why?
Mukhriz refusal to debate is being used to brush him as coward. Name calling of mouse was not spared. The media was in co-hort by not highlighting he expressed willingness for Forum. After all, Khairy's excuse was for merely to explain his Manifesto. Kalimullah is not helping, is he?
One debate with ones opponents, like Shaberry vs Anwar and Lim Guan Eng vs Koh Tsu Khoon. Debates is a no holds bar affair and everything gets dished out.
Yet, Khairy said this is a friendly competition. Does he understand what he said? Can someone dig up his political manouvre and media campaign to discredit Khir Toyo till Selangor is lost to opposition?
Another aspect of Khairy's PR excercise is to scare UMNO members and public with Musa Hitam's negative branding of Mahathirism. (Read Big Dog's reply).
The opposition and the vindictive Zaid Ibrahim - indicted by UMNO for corruption and failed in his attempt to villify Tun using judiciary issues - was outrightly assisting Khairy. Opposition smear Najib as resuming Mahathirism. Media helped put words into Najib's mouth.
While, Zaid smear Mukhriz in his speech at Lawasia Conference. Thats "professional" of him to insert politics into an International Professional Conference.
For the information of many, Khairy was the person who gave the phone call to convince the idiot Zaid to Cabinet albeit briefly and ineffectively. He was all morning at the golf course and Khairy was incessantly calling his on his cellular till noon. By 3 pm, he was announced in as cabinet member.
In the meanwhile, Khairy is doing a rebranding and positive image repair campaign with the help of ex-Daim Press Secretary, Abdul Rashid Yusof and ex-Business Times reporter, Elena Shamsuddin.
The few days, after a bomb photo appeared, Khairy's PR excercise went to full effect. The pro-khairy blogs were consolidated.
The plan seemed to flood the search engine with links of positive Khairy image - nice guy, concern with the proletariat class, bangsa Malaysian identity, young, fresh ideas, progressive image, new etc. Sounds expensive for an unemployed but a very rich one, it seems.
The pictures of suspected "foreign agents" were removed and the blog presented him as a good boy without his hand in the ECM Libra cookie jar.
It is as though he is not the person that used to go pranching around town asking and claiming with such panache, "Do you know who I am am?" or "I am the PM's son-in-law?" or "I studied in Oxford." No denial entertained, just talk to Radzi Sheikh Ahmad what Khairy claimed of himself.
Interestingly, a blogger, openly claiming he is pro-Anwar is in the pro-Khairy blog team. No fear Anwar's picture is no more there.
Khairy immediately got a full centrepage coverage with a "I've being demonised" interview on the Malay Mail.
The night Obama won, Khairy gave two successive interviews on Astro Awani. He is trying to be associated with Obama. But he is no Obama. His Oxford friend, Phar Kim Beng described him as an anglophilic. Many still wonder, if his parents are not registered Malay, whether he is Malay in spirit.
It doesn't matter.
Khairy is reaching to the critical grassroot through tabloid's like Sayuti Omar's Siasah. I'm on ceasefire and will not comment on another writer but I am made aware he is promoting Zahid Hamidi.
In the latest Siasah issue, he gets front page with the his denial as taglines. Khairy is telling the akarumbi that the negative perception of him in the past five years is untrue. He is denying as though nothing happened. Why did he not seriously clarify his position in the last five years?
Waiting for his denial of the drinking session at Heritage Mansion's new wing opening nite.
Saturday, 22 November 2008 10:20-----------------------------------
Dr M backs son, Muhiyiddin
Money politics under fire as ex-PM backs his son and Muhyiddin
By Carolyn Hong, Malaysia Bureau Chief in Singapore Straits Times
KUALA LUMPUR: When former premier Mahathir Mohamad sinks his teeth into something, he does not let go. This time, it is a campaign against certain candidates in the Umno race, and he could prove to be their most formidable opponent.
It is no secret that he is backing International Trade and Industry Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for the deputy president's post which, by convention, also means the deputy premiership. He is also backing his own son Mukhriz for the Youth chief's post.
Through his chedet.com blog, viewed by almost 10 million readers since May, Tun Dr Mahathir has conducted a relentless campaign against 'money politics' within the party - the Umno codename for vote buying. In an entry on Wednesday, he wrote about how certain candidates had suddenly received an avalanche of nominations after trailing for the first two weeks.
'What caused this phenomenon? People say (I do not have proof, it's just talk) that a lot of money was spent by those left behind initially,' he wrote in Malay. No names were given, but it is assumed he was referring to those running against his preferred candidates.
His views stirred the ground. Dr Mahathir, 83, might no longer be in Umno, having quit in May in protest against Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's leadership, but he still wields influence in the party. And recent history has shown that the former premier has a knack of getting his way, combining a relentless public campaign with astute moves behind the scenes.
His constant sniping helped erode public confidence in Datuk Seri Abdullah, and he will undoubtedly employ the same strategy again. His campaign on behalf of his choice of candidates could be a significant turning factor, and he is expected to step it up as the March election draws nearer.
When the Umno race for nominations began on Oct 9, it opened with a rush of nominations for the favourites: Tan Sri Muhyiddin as deputy president and Datuk Mukhriz as Youth chief. But their opponents soon caught up and qualified to contest.
Mr Muhyiddin will now face Rural Development Minister Muhammad Muhammad Taib and Malacca Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam. Datuk Mukhriz is up against the PM's son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin and former Selangor chief minister Khir Toyo.
The flood of nominations received by Mr Muhyiddin and Mr Mukhriz is no guarantee of success at the Umno polls, as history has shown.
Mr Muhyiddin, while regarded by many Malaysians as the most qualified candidate, is seen as aloof and lacks the wide grassroots network that his rivals have. He received fewer votes than either of his opponents when they faced off in the vice-presidential race in 2000 and 2004. Thus, despite the perception that they lack the intellectual heft for the post, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali and Tan Sri Muhammad will give him a tough fight.
Hence, Dr Mahathir's campaign has found some support. A Perak Umno divisional chief, Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir, told The Straits Times he agreed with Dr Mahathir's view that money politics had become a more serious problem this time.
'Candidates who are not supposed to be there are pushing their way in there, struggling to get the nominations. It's quite sickening to see,' he said.
He stressed that Mr Muhyiddin was clearly the most qualified candidate, but he acknowledged that it is all up to the 2,500 Umno delegates who will vote in March. And the perception is that some of them could fall prey to bribes.
In the meantime, Dr Mahathir can be expected to keep up his unflinching campaign. Two days ago, he issued an ominous warning - that he would name in his blog Umno members implicated in money politics. He was quoted as saying in The Star that he would risk a libel suit to expose the identities of those he had received complaints about.
'I can't do anything about the complaints except to hand these over to the Umno disciplinary committee. I will put these names up in my blog.'
New Straits Time, Saturday, 22 November 2008 10:35
JOHAN JAAFFAR: To be strong, Umno needs to be clean
THE secretary-general of Umno told the world "my party is sick". Perhaps he was asked to comment on the incidents of fighting and chair-throwing at the recent divisional meetings, but these are merely symptoms of the current problems bedevilling the party. The truth is, all is not well with Umno today.
Its detractors would argue that Umno has lost touch with reality and is fast becoming irrelevant. It is wrapped in a time capsule while the world moves on. Umno, the once venerable institution, is living on past glory. Umno is the party of yesteryear that refuses to reinvent itself. It does not speak the language of today's youth. It fails to understand the emergence of generations X and Y among the Malays. It has become largely a party of pakcik and makcik (uncles and aunties).
Not so, say its defenders. Umno will remain relevant forever. It is a party that has changed with time, in fact realigning itself to face the challenges of the day. It is not the myopic party that some would like to believe; it is in fact a dynamic one ferociously grounded in reality. More importantly, as long as the Malays are around, Umno will be their hope and legitimate representative.
The Malays are changing, more so their values and world views. These are not the same ones who had supported Umno in 1946. Those who fought the Malayan Union, the nationalists who were instrumental in demanding independence and the post-Merdeka generation of leaders are long gone.
Umno's policies have created a new generation of Malays -- educated, successful and more assertive. The rise of Malay businessmen and women is one of the proud legacies of Umno leaders' long-term vision and planning.
Umno is the victim of its own successes. Power corrupts, and being too long in power, corrupts indiscriminately. Power becomes an excuse for many of its leaders to become arrogant and lose their bearings. Like many established political parties in the world, longevity equals misuse and abuse of power. Umno produces leaders who are not fighters anymore. They are accidental leaders who are thrust to national prominence by default or worse.
There is no more idealism in the belly of Umno leaders, some would argue. The semangat perjuangan (fighting spirit) is gone. To be somewhere in the party, one has to play the game that others play. It is not just about schmoozing, cajoling and shedding a tear or two to win the hearts and minds of the general populace, but money, lots of money, is a critical prerequisite. Thus, politik wang or money politics is redefining the concept of trust, loyalty and patronage.
I do not know anyone in Umno today who denies the existence of money politics in the party. Some, even in Umno, believe that the coming party elections will probably be the dirtiest in its 62-year history. Everyone is aware of how money is being used to win elections even at the branch level. Someone estimated RM250 million as the "cost" of the coming Umno elections. Others think the figure is too demeaning to be taken seriously -- the amount is much bigger.
Where do they go from here? If money determines who gets the votes and who doesn't, what good is the party to the very people they say they are representing? Has its members become oblivious to what is happening to the party that has become the backbone of the Malays? Are they condoning the practice just for the sake of ensuring the party's continuity? Money will divide and eventually kill Umno. It will be a party fractured and fragmented.
Perhaps, more importantly, party members -- believed to be 3.2 million-strong -- ought to ask themselves what has become of their party. Is this the party that has gone through tough times fighting for the interests of the Malays? Is this not the party that has for more than six decades defended the Malay rights and ensured its dominance, politically or otherwise? Is it not the party that has produced some of the finest, outward-thinking and rational leaders the country had ever known? Is it true that Umno equals openness, tolerance and goodwill? And its leaders are respected by all Malaysians regardless of race? Are Umno leaders not just leaders of the Malays but also leaders of all Malaysians by virtue of their positions in government?
Perhaps things have changed. The political culture in Umno has changed. Umno used to be the party of Malay teachers and the common people. It is now a party whose members are businessmen and the rich. Uppity Malays are jostling for position and power with the royalties and the aristocrats. Lesser mortals, too, want their share of the spoils.
Little wonder that it matters to be rich in Umno. Wealth is the insurance policy everyone is looking for. Money matters. Money talks. And money is a surefire way for one to get elected. One aspiring vice-president cynically came out with a suggestion -- tender all the supreme council posts. May the highest bidders win. He was annoyed at how easily Umno members are swayed by the ringgit sign. Election year is musim menuai (harvest time) for the pecacai dan balaci politik (political operators). And the delegates as well.
Let us pray that what we hear are merely urban legends. I am sure there are many who still believe in honour and fair play. Umno depends on these people. Umno leaders must walk the walk and talk the talk. Making noise about curbing or crusading against money politics makes good news, but noise does not solve problems. Actions do.
For the sake of Umno, there must be enough members who have the audacity to say no to money politics and to choose only the worthiest among the leaders. Umno must take a strong and uncompromising stand to rid the party of rogue leaders and corrupt members. To be strong, Umno needs to be clean. Or at least seen to be clean.
I dread the day when the secretary-general will have to advise Umno members to look in the mirror and ask, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, am I not the dirtiest of them all?"