Malay heroes are usually dead. Some heroes like Hang Tauh and Hang Jebat does not qualify the moral standard to be called one.
After our heroes have outlived their death defying heroic pursuit and the public salutation, they are left to the elements. Some heroes are left uncared for in their old age. Some ended life in a pathetic state. Only to be revered and glorified upon their death.
In the post GE 12 UMNO political struggle to remove the Prime Minister – an incompetent and highly suspected puppet of some invisible parties, there were many lone voices expressing the grassroots grouse and demand him to take responsibility for BN’s extremely poor showing by resigning.
There was the eminent Tun Dr Mahathir, filial son Dato Mukhriz, loyal lieutenant Tan Sri Sanusi Junid, former rival Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah, and many others mostly retired politicians.
But Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is the lone voice of conscience that consistently stood up from amongst the kow towing members of the UMNO Supreme Council to put the party ahead of self interest.
Guided by his moral conscience, his latest move to demand the power transition immediately persuaded Dr Mahathir to rejoin UMNO and provided Najib the moral strength to set aside the power transition agreement.
This will likely be the tipping factor to make that change. But will Muhyiddin ended up as another martyred “dead” hero?
The UMNO Vice President unabashedly sound the bell on UMNO to acknowledge their weakness in the poor election showings, weak leadership, prevailing denial syndrome, removal of the quota vote, revival of party democratic practise, and guise worded demand for the resignation of Prime Minister, Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The PM, without shame, assumes the last request as merely giving him the discretion to determine his own sweet time to quit. When he finally fixed a date, it was a date not feasible for UMNO to undertake the path of revival to effectively prepare for GE13.
To-date, there is no revival plan in place and the PM continue to blunder one after another, plunging further in the public opinion.
Through all these negative happenings, and threats from the Opposition, it is business as usual with the UMNO members.
Past practise to dish out kain pelikat, spending money, and trips is not just grassroots’ habit but was done by the President to win the hearts of party members. In the past, money exchange hands for vote at the National party convention. This time around, the neighbourhood UMNO branch position is now a new found cash cow.
The exit by Dr Mahathir and slavish campaigning by Tengku Razaleigh did not turn a bat eye, only raising temperature at the grassroots but not amongst the party position holders at the centre and division level.
Permatang Pauh Tipping
There is a saying, “Ada bala di sebalik rahmat, Ada rahmat di sebalik bala” (Misfortune to come with good fortune, Good fortune to come with a misfortune).
It is certainly the case for UMNO. The 2004 hands down win turned out to be a later disaster. The expected lost at the Permatang Pauh by-election turned to be the eye opener. It saw the party morale at new low ebb, psychologically crippled.
Dato Ahmad Ismail episode was badly handled. PM’s flip flop position was no more tolerable. The pressure from BN component parties reached to the extend of encroaching into UMNO’s internal affair. PM was seen succumbing to component party pressure and taking fault over an inconclusive matter.
This incited further anger among the disconsolate UMNO members who felt humiliated by the later episode.
Abdullah’s expression of surprise and unhappiness did not attract the usual chorus of support and gang bang against his detractors. Abdullah’s loyalist, Dato Seri Ali Rustam supported loyal Najib’s seek grassroots endorsement.
Zaid’s voice to seek Muhyiddin dismissal is not strengthened by his decision to quit yesterday. Rafidah’s support for Abdullah is not seen as serious but represents her frustration for losing her Ministerial post to Muhyiddin. Support for Muhyiddin came from Mubarak’s Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang which was strangely given airtime by TV3. The Kalimullah and Kamal Khalid hold on the mainstream media is losing hold.
Earlier, the announcement for the return of Dr Mahathir attracted support from few State UMNOs, State Liaison Chairman, etc. No opposition to the proposal except Abdullah’s guised reluctance.
Tengku Razaleigh’s campaign is reinvigorated by Dr Mahathir’s support. Najib’s position is a veiled “Go!” instruction. If the momentum is sufficient, it could snowball into a desperation defection by Abdullah’s supporters for survival. The writing is on the wall for Abdullah.
Where is Ku Li and Najib heading? With Dr Mahathir supporting Ku Li and son Mukhriz allegiance for Najib, what is the options for Muhyiddin? Which team would Muhyiddin join?
Najib-Muhyiddin team is lethal. Dr Mahathir-Ku Li-Muhyiddin team is deadly. The former does not offer a career path beyond that by virtue of age. The latter offers a prospect but it calls pitting against Najib’s powerful machinery. If things do bring about leadership change, Muhyiddin maybe end his political career by staying put at Vice President, which he has expressed preference.
The politics is immaterial to Muhyiddin. But, damn if I do, damn if I don’t. Will that the price for sacrifice in UMNO? It happened in the past, particularly for Muhyiddin.
Muhyiddin can be described as a steady administrator, leader and political player with a sound and outstanding track record.
He outshine as a leader in trouble times. After the serious 1986 split arising from the intense rivalry between team A and Team B, Muhyiddin played the unacknowledged role to bring back UMNO Johor together and consequently UMNO’s revival through UMNO Baru.
As a result of that, UMNO Johor strengthened. When he was requested back to Federal, UMNO Johor under Dato Gani Osman later denounced, rejected and withdrew their support for him. He lost the UMNO Vice President post with much shame and it is a stab in the back from his own state.
As any Johorean, Muhyiddin’s love for UMNO is unquestionable.
During his Menteri Besar tenure, which is technically the de facto Premier for Johor, the state experienced stupendous economic growth. Johor was ranked as the second state, behind the natural winner, Selangor, in its economic performance. When he left for Kuala Lumpur, Johor had RM2 billion in its financial reserve as compared to RM90 million debt when he took over. There many other areas of progress under his premiership. Under his leadership, UMNO and BN won all their seats.
Like many of us, Muhyiddin saw the deterioration of UMNO to the lowest rung under Abdullah’s administration. He took a stand to protect UMNO from further downfall. And, he exhibits a willingness to risk to his own political career.
Muhyiddin will be the contemporary hero of UMNO. If the past is a representation of a future event, will his home state betray him? Will the chips fall as many expect it to be and he end his career? Will he end up like many great Malay heroes – short taste of victory, abandoned unacknowledged and dead?
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
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