Archive for the ‘Khairy Jamaluddin’ Category


The Third Rail of Malaysian Politics: True Leadership.


For many years now, MANY in Malaysia have had an uneasy feeling that democracy, as generally understood, sits uneasily among the people of this country. Malaysia has large and sometimes articulate political parties and it has had leaders totally committed to the concept of democracy, which is also true. There was Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Tun Dr Ismail, Tun Hussein Onn, John Aloysius Thivy, Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Stephen Kalong Ningkan, Tun Fuad Donald Stephens, Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, Peter Mojuntin, Tun Mustapha, O K K Sedomon, Ahmad Boestaman,  and others who believed in the concept of democracy as the only one that would keep Malaysia together and take it forward.

Like true democrats they believed that dissent was an essential part of democracy, and that the country would only be enriched by debate and discussion, even by agitation if that became necessary. Their belief was complemented by their direct contact with the people; the trust that people had in them made it possible for them to persuade them to accept, enthusiastically, the beliefs and ideas they gave them.

But when such leaders and people are not there any more, what happens to the parties and institutions they have built and nurtured? One facile answer is that political argument gets stronger and power shifts from one group to another when elections are held. In other words, the people decide who will have the responsibility to manage the state, removing those whom they consider incapable and bringing in those they think can do the job. This is very convenient and comforting. It is also totally fictitious.

It is true that political argument does get stronger, more so because of the increasingly watchful media both print and electronic, of which most political groups have become wary, even fearful, and not without reason. The fiction lies in the belief that the “people” remove those who do not perform and bring in those who they think can perform.

First, the concept of “people” is simplistic; the vast numbers of individuals in the state are an infinitely complex entity consisting of a vast number of groups and sub-groups. This enormous mass of individuals does not come together and decide anything; that is not what happens, not at all. What happens is that a strategy aimed at finding acceptance with groups of individuals, in some cases possibly fortuitously, works or works better than the strategy of another group.

In the 2008 general elections, the strategy of what was called the Third Front did not work; most individuals did not trust it. In a muddle of strategies, five states fell to the opposition Pakatan Rakyat but not because it had planned to do so. It had, of course, tried to win the Federal Government, but its plans were wide off the mark. When it won 5 states and 82 parliamentary seats it must have been as surprised as anyone else.

On the other hand, Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman had a strategy that he had worked on for years since 2003 – to give people the kind of development and security they had been yearning for – and his many victories till 2013 May 5th was no surprise, except perhaps to his opponents, and their surprise was more at the magnitude of his success than at the victory itself. It made their strategies and plans look comic in comparison. Musa Aman is an exception, and a phenomenon confined to Sabah.

At the national level, and in most other States, the structure of democracy is being subjected to forces that may well change it completely over time. To understand that one has, perhaps, to take a step back and look at what the process is about today.  It is not about representing the “people’s” will. It is about control and power.

Our so-called democracy is defined not by the existence of dissent and opposition activity but by the nature of the power wielded. It is monarchical and meant to secure the interests, political and economic, of the ruling group, whichever it is. And this is done by ensuring that power remains with an elite group – preferably the family, but also those who are close to it and share the same backgrounds.

One can see it today in what many refer to as the First Family in the Umno Baru; Dr Mahathir Mohamad is clearly grooming his son, Mukhriz, to be the next Prime Minister. But they are not by any means the only family. Look at the number of sons and daughters and son-in-law now who are inducted into the corridors of power:  Najib Tun Razak, Hishammuddin Tun Hussein Onn, Khairy Jamaluddin, even Mukhriz Mahathir in Kedah who is what he is because he is Dr Mahathir’s son, and a whole host of others whom media naively call the Young Turks. The original Young Turks were not just young; they had come to prominence because of their abilities, not because of who their father or mother or father-in-law was. A number of sons and daughters whom the media naively call Young Turks have been inducted into the corridors of power.

Inevitably, the elements of power are being chivied towards specific families, which will then determine who will stand for elections for their parties, and thus consolidate their own position, securing it for their generation and the generations to follow. Increasingly, their contact with the people has become more and more distant; the people get to be called the “rakyat” who have to be maneuvered by race, religion, money and promises. But this is not a phenomenon confined to the Umno party; it is as much in evidence in the opposition Pakatan Rakyat parties such as the DAP, PKR and PAS. Look at Lim Guan Eng, Nurul Izzah, Karpal’s sons, Ustaz Din Tok Guru the son-in-law of PAS President Ustaz Abdul Hadi Awang, so many more.

And where the factor of unease comes in is in what appears to be an inevitable slide towards oligarchy, where an elite takes over power – political and economic. It is economic, too, of course. All the big corporate giants are busy grooming their sons and daughters to take their place among the power elite; Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary is only one instance of this. Even the much-revered Al Bukhary group is reportedly looking for a Syed to head it once Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary leaves; Vincent Tan has already inducted his son into his Berjaya empire, so has Kuok Brothers, so has Ananda Krishnan.

One can only hope that this is not what we have in store for us, that we do produce some leaders from outside the elite families who, like Musa Aman in Sabah, will lead with clear concepts of development.


You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

I’m always reminded of Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman whenever I read this poem entitled “Still I’ll Rise” written by the black poetess, Maya Angelou. Although Angelou wrote this in the context of her protest against White racism, it is almost as if a large portion of this poem was written with Musa Aman in mind. In the recent decade, there has been continuous allegations and abuses hurled at him. No invective has been left unused while abusing him. The Pakatan Rakyat and its major and minor cohorts in the media have carefully indulged in a systematic campaign of Musa’s character assassination. Despite this, their efforts have gone in vain because he’s won election after election with a two-thirds majority. That’s not all. In the ensuing 2013 13th general elections, there’s every indication that he is likely to be the Barisan National Sabah’s Chief Ministerial candidate again.

If that happens and UMNO declares Musa Aman as their Chief Ministerial candidate, let no doubt remain that this poses the biggest danger to Pakatan Rakyat, SAPP and Star Sabah. And it is to prevent this exact situation that the fragmented Sabah opposition is working overtime. The Assembly Elections scheduled from anytime now till May 2013 will witness yet another victorious Musa Aman. It takes 31 seats to capture the 60-member Sabah State Assembly. However, if the Barisan National under Musa Aman manages to garner a tally 35, it will be portrayed as a defeat of Musa Aman. This is why the fragmented Sabah Opposition is willing to stoop down to any level to ensure that the Barisan National bags a figure under 35. The electronic media as usual, has become a willing handmaiden to aid the Pakatan Rakyat, SAPP and Sabah Star in its every nefarious move. However, this time around, many have already begun to shed light on these dirty tricks.

According to a Pakatan Rakyat strategist, PKR has identified two ways to accomplish this. The first is the one it implemented in Selangor and Sabah. In Selangor, the Pakatan Rakyat capitalized on the Umno’s infighting and its in-house traitors thereby wrecking the opposition Barisan National. In Sabah, it has already yoked up the disgruntled Umno elements in the form of Lajim Ukin and Ibrahim Menudin, and has pitted them against Musa Aman. The second way is vile way of direct, open character assassination. But why is the Pakatan Rakyat after Musa Aman with such zeal? What is it about him that’s giving it sleepless nights?

Today, the only state which stands between Anwar Ibrahim and the Prime Minister’s chair is Sabah. Obviously, What is stopping Anwar Ibrahim from becoming Prime Minister is Musa Aman. Anwar Ibrahim needs at least 20 Parliamentary seats out of the 25 Parliamentary seats from Sabah for his dream to become Prime Minister to become a reality. Musa Aman controls the bulk of the Parliamentary seats in Sabah. The argument that Musa Aman allows for corruption is shallow and the opposition front is very aware of this fact. Historically, corruption in Malaysia has always been connected to both government and opposition, who are both equally corrupted, a fact that the opposition front is well-acquainted with. However, they repeatedly uses the corruption card for obvious reasons. In the present day, using the same card to discredit Musa Aman has become over played, and if we allow such divisive politics to succeed, we can only shudder at the future of this nation.

The fact is that despite numerous attempts over the last 10 years, the opposition front has been unable to find even one flaw in Musa Aman. Why?
Well typically, every successful politician or leader or public figure has a team or at least one shrewd adviser who guides and advises the leader on various matters. Tun Mustaffa had a Syed Kecik, Pairin Kitingan had a Dr Jefrey Kitingan before he went under ISA, Dr Mahathir had Daim Zainuddin and Abdullah Badawi aka Pak Lah had son-in-law Khairy Jamaludin, and so on. In present day politics, this applies to a Lim Guan Eng who had Daddy Lim Kit Siang and Uncle Karpal Singh, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim who had Anwar Ibrahim, Taib Mahmud who had a Bomoh, Anwar Ibrahim who had Azmin Ali, Najib Tun Razak had Rosmah Mansor. None of these leaders took any decision without first consulting their advisers and every decision once taken, has the imprint of their adviser in some form or the other.

If this is the case—an age-old precedent—who is this one person who advises and guides Musa Aman?

There’s no answer to this question because Musa Aman is his own King and wise counsel. Historically, the opposition front is known to “book” such advisers and exploit the weakness of the adversary through this key person. However, despite painstaking efforts spanning a decade, the opposition front encountered a solid wall in the case of Musa Aman because—apart from having no adviser, he is clean. Of late, the opposition front has explored the avenue of trying to tarnish him through his family and distance relatives—for example, a distance relative Manuel Amalilo aka Mohammad Suffian Syed who scammed 15,000 Filipinos of 12 billion pesos (RM895 million) in a ponzi scheme in Philippines is purportedly engineered by Musa Aman. However, even this turned out to be a dead end. The handlers and the dirty tricks department of the opposition front apparently found out that Musa Aman isn’t in politics for selfish ends, and was forced to accept the fact that Musa Aman’s interest lay in Sabah’s interest. It’s left to our imagination as to the future of Sabah if a man like this becomes Chief Minister again for the 4th term.

This is the reason Musa Aman has captured the imagination of the Sabah masses.

He comes across as an introvert. It’s hard to predict when he speaks or when he doesn’t. By himself, he’s a great strategist. In the 2008 Sabah assembly polls, he steered the Barisan National to more than two-thirds majority winning 59 of the 60 seats contested, without calling in any central leader from the party to the campaign trail. This is because of the confidence that comes from demonstrating performance and delivering clean governance. Thus, it’s clear that he’s the only leader in Malaysia who can mount an effective opposition to Anwar Ibrahim becoming Prime Minister. One of the easiest slurs to assassinate the character of a person is to brand him corrupt and a womanizer. So the Chinaman Micheal Chia’s story will be recycled over and over again stooping to a new low. And that’s not all—according to Pakatan strategist, the Pakatan Rakyat is pulling no stops. It has created an entire “stop-Musa” machinery by roping in all sorts of activists, media persons, and disgruntled UMNO Sabah elements. Yet, as Maya Angelou says:

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise. You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Let Musa Aman rise, vanquish his opponents and lead Sabah towards progress and prosperity.


Malaysian democracy has been overtaken by dynasty, and only relatives of senior politicians enter politics. True, doctors and engineers too encourage their children to take to their profession. But there is a difference. Children of doctors and engineers have to pass exams. They do not inherit their degrees from their parents.

Politicians’ wards have no such barrier to overcome. They land up from some American or British university and immediately become “somebody” of a political party built by hundreds of party workers. The second in command, who has expectations of becoming the next leader, is unceremoniously dumped. Needless to say, the sons and daughters win the election. Dynastic succession has become the biggest threat to Malaysian democracy.

Familiarity of the clan is a starting point in making many choices. One of the parameters we use in making choices is based on birth. While the poor and illiterate are easily swayed away, others are blinded by race and religion and other narrow considerations. Dynastic politics is a malady we have to learn to live with.

We find sons and daughters and even son-in-law following the path of their fathers or father-in-law, illustrious or otherwise, in all walks of life. Their success largely depends on their calibre and performance.

Najib Tun Razak is the son of the second prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak; Hishamuddin Hussein Onn is the son of third prime minister, Hussein Onn; Mukhriz Mahathir is the son of fourth prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad; Khairy Jamaluddin the UMNO Youth Chief is the son-in-law of fifth prime minister, Tun Abdullah Badawi; Penang chief minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng is the son of DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang while Karpal Singh’s both sons, Gobind and Jagdeep Singh, are elected representatives; Nurrul Izzah is daughter of Anwar Ibrahim; PAS Youth deputy chairman Nik Abduh is the son of PAS spiritual advisor Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat and the list goes on.

The practice of dynasty politics exists in both the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.

Now Mahathir is trying hard to get his son Mukriz Mahathir to take over as deputy prime minister of Malaysia and then to become prime minister. To reach that goal, Mahathir wants his son Mukriz to first takeover as Menteri Besar of Kedah, Mahathir is selling this idea to Kedahans and that they have to first topple the Pakatan Rakayat government come GE13. So, let us give Mukhriz Mahathir a chance and pronounce a judgment after UMNO wins Kedah, if it ever wins.


It is not illegal to have friends. It is not illegal to help a friend either. Every culture encourages that. Help can be transactional, where both sides simultaneously do things for each other. It can also be one-sided, with only one party doing the other a favour. That isn’t illegal and is common amongst friends.

Why then has the country come up in arms against Sharizat Abd Jalil? Why does it give people a sick-in-the-gut feeling when hearing about the National Feedlot Corporation’s RM250 million fiasco? Why are so many people angry over her family company buying luxury apartments, hotel stakes and land, offered as sweet deal from a friend called Pak Lah?

The Pakatan Rakyat has done a gutsy and commendable job in bringing these findings to the forefront. Sharizat’s husband Mohd Salleh Ismail shady dealings were common gossip in banking circles. The media knew it well too. However, it is the PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli and Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin that crystallized the outrage, presented some documents and made it a topic of household discussion.

PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli’s move, led to an investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Wanita Umno chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil however, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) cleared her as it found “there was no case against her”. Demanding an independent investigation into Sharizat, is a disappointment. Firstly, a fair and independent investigation is nearly impossible in Malaysia against the Sharizat’s family, especially when they are in power and connected to UMNO. Second, and more important, even if a fair investigation is conducted, there may not be much illegality in what Sharizat’s husband did (ignoring the charges of criminal breach of trust and violations of the Companies Act, as alleged in some news reports). After all, Sharizat’s husband made a friend in business consultant Shamsulbahrin Ismail, and Shamsulbahrin Ismail was suppose to pay police officers at the Commercial Crimes Division in Bukit Perdana to close the case and help Sharizat’s husband out. That’s all the paper trail may reveal, despite exhaustive investigations. In fact, when powerful people help each other, they are smart enough to keep the paper trail sacrosanct. Expensive lawyers work hard to ensure the deals have a semblance of legality, whatever the intent.

In fact, proximity and access to UMNO are of huge value. If National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) seniors are seen hanging out with the Prime Minister then and his son-in-law, would not the Minister of Agriculture and the UMNO Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan view National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) many request, well, a little differently? Neither National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp), nor the family, nor the Minister of Agriculture or the Negeri Sembilan government may ever sit down and spell out how each will help the other. They don’t need to, for they are friends. There’s nothing illegal about it, right?

In fact, this lack of, or hard to prove illegality is the cornerstone of the defence put forward by the UMNOs’ army of spokespersons and eager-beaver sycophants. ‘It’s a private matter’ or ‘prove give and take’ or ‘prove abuse of power’ are often the arguments given. It is hard to fault them completely, for the legal bases are probably well covered, or at least very difficult to prove otherwise.

And yet, what happened is ethically wrong. Politicians work for the benefit of common people, not for their family, not for their friends, business partners and relatives. At least that is the assumption people had about the Sharizat family. People also assumed that they believed in simplicity and were above personal greed, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. After all, what use is wearing simple baju kurung, implying simplicity, when your family members are accumulating hundreds of millions by exploiting political power?

There will be a huge price UMNO and Barisan Natinal will pay for this. Ethics may not matter in courts, but do matter in the hearts of people. A family that betrays trust will pay the price in the next election. It may even lose that trust forever.

However, the Sharizats are by no means alone in this. Nor is this just a UMNO issue. A large number of politicians have lost track of the idea that every profession in this world has ethics – it may not be illegal to break them but still is definitely wrong. A doctor must treat his patient as soon as possible, it is assumed, under ethical medical practice. But if he delays treatment, it would be hard to prove it illegal. A lecturer must try to teach his students well, though if he doesn’t, it won’t be illegal. Society needs ethics as much as laws to function well.

A politician should think a hundred times before forging business deals with people with whom there might be a future conflict of interest, and a million times before they accept any substantial favors. Favours usually oblige one to return them, and if that means hurting the interests of people that put you in that position, the effects can be devastating. Sharizat’s husband’s foolish greed, and the other family members’ tacit approval, has cost Sharizat her ministership. The cost will also be in terms of reputation and esteem. Wise people know these are priceless and far more valuable than anything quoted in ringgit.


Musa Aman the Chief Minister of Sabah is on the way out.

Talks runs rampant in Kota Kinabalu that in the next 30 days Musa might be dropped as Chief Minister by UMNO President Najib Tun Razak  so that room is made for UMNO Vice President and Federal Rural and Regional Development Minister Shafie Apdal to take over as the new Chief Minister of Sabah.

It seems the Tiger Year is taking its first prey -Musa Aman.

Musa Aman is under tremendous pressure from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to resign or be sacked. In fact Najib had wanted to replace Musa soon after he took over from Pak Lah as Prime Minister.

Najib has an axe to grind and a score to settle with Musa Aman. Najib knew all along that Musa was a staunch supporter of former Prime Minister Pak Lah. Najib also knew that Musa was working with Khairy Jamaluddin and funding big time elements within UMNO to discredit Najib and prevent him from succeeding Abdullah as Prime Minister. Najib does not trust Musa Aman and this is an open secret among all UMNO and BN players.

So finally, the time has come for Najib to act against Musa Aman. Musa Aman’s honeymoon is over and the writing is on the wall…Musa is finish this time.

Bye Bye Musa! Welcome Shafie!!!


  

BREAKING NEWS!

Its 10.30pm and we hear unofficial results indicating that Khairy Jamaluddin has won the Umno Youth. I don’t have the figures yet for the Umno Youth contest but hear Khairy and Mukriz were neck to neck but Khir Toyo had a bad showing.

Only the official results for the Umno Wanita has been announced so far. Shahrizat Abdul Jalil has deposed Rafidah Aziz as Umno Wanita chief. Shahrizat garnered 507 votes and poor Rafidah only managed 280 votes.