Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Fickle fingers of fate
This was the picture of the three contestants for Ketua Pemuda UMNO post during the debate on the night of February 17th, 2009.
By virtue of the 66 Divisional nominations received, Dato Mukhriz Mahathir was seen as the favourite over then Deputy Pemuda UMNO Chief, Khairy Jamaluddin (47 nominations) and Dato Seri Dr Khir Toyo (43 nominations).
However, casting was made and after what Tun described recently as a long 7 hours to count 700 votes, Khairy came out the winner at 304 votes with Khir Toyo at 254 votes and Mukhriz at 232 votes.
By the fickle fingers of fate, Khairy remained on as Member of Parliament for Rembau and was not appointed into any position except later as Chairman of PUNB. Khir Toyo became a victim of the heated contest.
Only Mukhriz secured a position after the contest as Deputy Minister for International Trade and Industry.
Despite much lobbying and even using Pemuda UMNO exco members to lobby, Khairy had to win his second term as MP before getting the much wanted position of Minister of Youth and Sports in 2013. It was a position he viewed as the strategic in building his path to Premiership, but this time, no more the 40 year age target.
Few days ago, "Chief", the title this 37 year old Ketua Pemuda is being addressed by fellow Pemuda UMNO, was reported by The Star to have expressed his vision and plans for his second term as Pemuda UMNO Chief.
Khairy viewed it as inappropriate time to expressed right wing sentiment and he would like to "change the DNA of UMNO Youth from being mostly right wing and Malay-centric to a more centrist wing."
That is the approach Khairy wanted for Pemuda UMNO movement to take on issues raised and solution seek. To change the DNA, it is a not so subtle but sophisticated way of saying to throw away the Malay character of UMNO Youth.
Ever since assuming the Ministerial post, Khairy has position himself to be regularly covered by mainstream media to express himself, including his personal views. He continued his liberal stance criticism of Perkasa, when the Ketua Wira Perkasa accused PM for betraying the Malays and called for his resignation.
Categorising UMNO as right wing and himself as centrist is flawed. In term of the struggle to protect Malay interest and acceptance and cooperation of the other races, UMNO had always been centrist.
By comparison, PKMM had a rather more right wing worldview despite the inconsistencies in many areas.
PAS's past is more right wing in their Islamic view and opposition to UMNO's cooperation with non-Malays and non-Muslims. Like opposition PKMM, PAS had always been consistently inconsistent in their persistance to maintain views diametrically opposite to UMNO.
That attitude seemed to have no bound with Anwarinas faction holding control on the party as PAS transgress issues of faith to embrace the chauvanistic Chinese centric and evangelistic DAP as coalition partner.
To centralise the already central positioning of UMNO, Khairy has mistakenly acknowledged his left leaning liberal stance.
Despite opposition by members of Pemuda exco, Khairy insisted in appointing a DAP supporter, promoters of DAP "evangelist" politicians, and former reporter to Malaysiakini and The Star, Regina Lee as Press Secretary.
Khairy confirmed also an open secret for a neo-liberal agenda.
Almost all of those within Khairy's political circle and corporate boys placed in GLCs during the time of Tun Abdullah's administration share a common politico-economic theory favoring borderless free trade, privatisation, minimal government intervention in business, reduced or no public expenditure on social services, etc.
It means last Saturday's announcement on Polisi Memperkasakan Ekonomi Bumiputera (PMEB) is frown upin by neo-liberalists. Khazanah is dragging it's feet by requesting for it to be stated in their KPI.
One will expect Khairy's fellow neo-liberal and International Malaysian Forum member from his Oxford days, Dato' Omar Ong is expected to abuse his close relation with the Prime Minister, influence in PEMANDU and Petronas to sabotage it's implimentation.
While neo-liberalism stemmed from a liberal political movement that begin in the 1960s for the concern for social justice, they are diametrically oppose to any form of government intervention like New Economic Policy, Malay Agenda or PMEB are opposed.
Under Khairy as "Chief", Pemuda UMNO has been silenced to react to criticism and insults levelled at the Malays and Islam. He was criticised as being responsible for the turning Pemuda party political machinery into a lull.
Khairy's generosity to buy influence and shower his supporters with contracts, business and financing opportunities at the time of his father in law only made the movement fat and lazy. Money is demanded before any plan or assignment laid out and seldom it is not carried out effectively.
The same malaise has spread to the Puteri wing.
This has inspired Akramsyah Mammar Ubaidullah Sanusi, son of Tan Sri Sanusi Junid to take up the role of David in this battle against the Goliath Khairy.
Decades ago during their student days in London, he succeeded to halt Khairy, Omar Ong and the rest of the IMF team from taking control UKEC.
This time it will not be easy for Akram to win over a full Minister, two term MP and incumbent. Khairy has endeared himself as Minister for his tough stance against Sports Association's bureaucrasy and politics.
Our money is for Khairy to win but the support for Akram will be indicative of UMNO's future role as torchbearer of the Malay movement.
When Khir Toyo ran for Ketua Pemuda in 2009, it is believed not to be the position he aspired for. As the Menteri Besar that was blamed for the loss of Selangor to Pakatan Rakyat, UMNO would not give him a chance to win one of the three Vice President positions.
From day one when Khairy had his ambition to be Ketua Pemuda UMNO after the free passage in 2004, his gun was set on Khir Toyo as possible competitor.
From that year onward, the Menteri Besar-ship of Khir Toyo was under constant attack. The media, particularly TV3's Karam Singh Walia, was constantly harping on environmental issue in Selangor. Khairy hired a helicopter to photographed the house under renovation.
The pictures came out in an anti-Khairy blog which was widely believed to be operated by Khairy's cyberteam. Though competing, Khir's team are friendly with Mukhriz's team.
Khir had expressed interest to run for Ketua Pemuda. He was aligned to Najib and supposedly replace Dato Hishamuddin as he pursue for Vice Presidency. However, Mukhriz announced earlier and immediately after a forum at the Singgahsana Hotel.
Khir's boys believed that a Khir would have made it in a Khir versus Khairy race but Mukhriz versus Khairy would give the seat to Khairy. Thus for the intense attack by Khairy's friendly media against Khir Toyo.
While many UMNO leaders in Selangor blamed Khir for Selangor's lost, they forgot that media bombardment on Khir for many years was impossible to defuse come campaign time. the real reason. Khairy's overzealous attack towards Khir was responsible for Selangor's BN downfall.
The picture on Khir's new home did not end with Khir's lost. Subsequently, the picture got the attention of DAP's Sekinchan assemblymen, Ng Sue Lin and he made a drama out of the house.
It also attracted the attention of MACC. Khir Toyo was charged not for corruption but a sort of "conflict of interest offense." The house seller had a business with the state government thus Khir cannot have any transaction with him.
Though he had not done any favour and no state contract was awarded to seller, the fact that Khir had once viewed the house was considered as an interest to buy the property.
Khir was charged under a section of the penal code that guide the conduct of civil servant. It can be considered as a minor law to because effectively, Khir cannot do business or enter into any transaction with three quarter of the state population.
Co-incidently, this came about at a time Najib was supposed to sweep a new corrupt free broom. Khir's boys felt Khir was being fixed because a Minister close to Najib had gave assurance that his case is minor and it will not be a major problem.
There was no act of corruption but technically, Khir's path ahead is difficult. He seem destined for a 1-year imprisonment. He lost at the High Court and Court of Appeal. The appeal at the Federal Court level is still on-going.
Although still lending his hand here and there, his political career is furthest in his mind now. If losing his position as MB to become Opposition Leader and losing the Ketua Pemuda contest was a setback, luck has not turnaround for this capable but stained young leader from a humble background.
Khir was the fifth son of a Javanese immigrant family. His father was a padi farmer at Sungai Burong Tanjung Karang Selangor. Even while in University, Khir would return over the weekend to lend a hand in the sawah.
Upon graduation, he was worked in government clinics as dentist before opening a practise in Kajang.
Khir was active in UMNO and rose to become an exco member in the Pemuda UMNO led by Dato Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and subsequently replaced by Hishamuddin upon Zahid's resignation.
It is believed his name was suggested by then UMNO Youth Treasurer, Dato Mokhzani Mahathir to replace Dato Abu Hassan Omar, who had to resign as Menteri Besar, in 2000. The ANSARA boys had some minor roles in getting the unknown Khir cleared for the hottest seat in Malaysian politics but it best left untold.
Upon prosecution, Khir return his Selangor Datokship and vacate the position of Opposition Leader. He had also vacated the position of UMNO Divisional Head of Sg Besar. In the last election, a young leader, Budiman ran for his Sg Panjang Burong state assembly seat.
In our opinion, Khir is a brave, street-smart, and innovative leader. He has done his time for his past mistake and perceived arrogance. The fingers of fate could not stop his continued misfortune and it will be a big loss.
We seldom asked: If he had been from the bangsawan class and not son of a Jawa, would his fate had turned around for the better? It is not full vindication but the Minister close to Najib that failed Khir is in trouble with the ground.
Great leader's son
A close friend told Khairy that he was lucky to have a father-in-aw as Prime Minister. He replied that Pak Lah is only a father-in-law, thus he is not as lucky as other Prime Minister's son like Najib, Hishamuddin and Mukhriz. He cannot get the same treatment and "benefit" as the real son.
However, during the administration of Pak Lah, Khairy was more powerful and influential than any sons of Prime Ministers. He was also mean and merciless as happened to Khir.
Khairy had repeatedly tried to fix Mukhriz with disciplinary actions. The then Ketua Pemuda, Hishamuddin had to do deft juggling act to keep the movement peaceful and please his sleepy boss.
When Mukhriz ran for Ketua Pemuda Kubang Pasu, he had set-up someone and the divisional leaders support to blocked him. During the genereal election of 2008, Khairy sent sabotagueurs to divert Mukhriz's campaign at Jerlun.
As a son of a Prime Minister, it is not fair to claim that Mukhriz had an easy political career. His status in life rose with his father's long tenure as Prime Minister but his was not of bangsawan breeding.
His political luck only turned for better with the rise of Najib as Prime Minister. Mukhriz was appointed Deputy Minister for International Trade. he was assisting a friendly and experianced Minister, Dato Mustapha Mohamed.
Not used to be taking things easy, he took up the challenge to run in a PAS stronghold seat of Air Itam as state assemblymen. Many believed that he was sent there to be slaughtered but he survived and win it handsomely.
That move enable him to topple Azizan-led PAS government to assume the position of Menteri Besar.
Contrary to the opinion of many others that Mukhriz should focus himself in his new position as Menteri Besar, State Liaison Chief and be contented to be appointed on the UMNO Supreme Council, this blogger had expressed the opinion that he should go for the Vice Presidency.
This is despite the fact that he is not head of any Division and basically was temporarily in Jerlun before this.
The main reason is that the window of opportunity is presenting itself and there is no time to be humble and calculative. He will be tasked with many big responsibilities to cope but we view that he is capable of handling it.
While his old man is around, Mukhriz should take that opportunity to use his influence. At 49, there is not much time left. Obama is President in his 40s. Any later, others will surpass him.
For Mukhriz, winning and losing is not an issue now. By running for VP now, he is basically in the play and it is like staking his claim for the future.
It could put Khairy edgy and restless to remain as Ketua Pemuda forever. While Najib, Hishamuddin and Zahid rose from the Ketua Pemuda position, that position was once a jinxed from moving forward. Many Pemuda leader had their political career stunted after their Pemuda days.
But, if he wins, he has taken a huge lead and things will certainly be interesting.
Over the weekend, an SMS invitation reached us of Kedah UMNO announcement for UMNO election at the MB's official residence at 4 PM Thursday.
Thus far, the state assemblywoman for Sg Tiang and Ketua Wanita Pendang, Dato Suraya Yaacob is running for Deputy Chief of Wanita UMNO. State Assemblywoman for Bandar Baharu, Ketua Puteri kulim Bandar Baharu, and Exco Puteri Malaysia, Datin Sabrina Mohd Nor is running for Deputy Chief of Puteri UMNO. Akram, whose yet to make his official announcement, is a Branch Pemuda Chief from Langkawi.
The SMS ended with "Berani Berubah!" During the Ketua Pemuda election of 2009, Khir was contesting on the slogan of "Pemuda Berani", and Khairy was as "Setiakawan." Mukhriz's was "Berani Berubah."
Mukhriz maybe a popular personality but is it good enough to win him a seat among the Vice Presidency?
With the three existing VPs not looking like credible possible successors and other candidates are late in their age, UMNO must give the President another layer of leaders for future succession.
If the leaders are gentleman in their attitude, contest should not split UMNO. This is the time to move forward for UMNO's survival and the choice is for the members to determine. The fate of the party lies in those fickle fingers to make the hard choices.
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