Reformasi Untuk Mahathir

Mahathir’s return to politics in 1973 was watched closely by other races, in particular the Chinese and Indians.  His meteoric rise to the Deputy Prime Minister’s post in 1976 was of grave concern by many.  His imminent Premiership caused a large number of migration by Malaysian Chinese.  Despite the economic growth in the late 1980s through 1997, some 42,000 Malaysian Chinese opted to work elsewhere.  This number includes some 14,000 Malaysian Chinese who were working illegally in Japan in 1993 (Shimada, 1994).

If citizenship is conferred on races other than the Malays, it is because the Malays consent to this,” wrote Mahathir in his book ‘The Malay Dilemma‘.

“The Chinese and Indians coming from countries with vast populations are less concerned about good behavior and manners. In their lives, nobility, which is always associated with breeding, was totally absent. Age and riches are the only things they defer to,” he added.

Calling for reforms such as the mandatory use of tamper-proof scales, Mahathir wrote of scales that can be used to shortchange customers and said, ”The small-time Chinese retailer is adept at this practice and unscrupulous enough to use it as a weapon in competition.”

Mahathir was the ultra-Malay to many including the Malays themselves.  Fears of race clashes haunted the voters during the run-up to the 1982 General Elections.  I remember being sent to Mimaland in Gombak with Datuk Latt Shariman (President, E-Sports Malaysia) on polling day in case something bad happens.  It was the first General Elections under Mahathir and it was called more than a year before the then-mandate ended.  Public rallies were banned citing ‘security’ reasons and only indoor gatherings and house-to-house canvassing were allowed (Lim Kit Siang, 22 March 1982).

Even though Malaysia’s economic growth peaked at 8 percent in the mid 1990s, it was mired in scandals involving the practice of cronyism and nepotism.  Lim Kit Siang wrote that Mirzan, Mokhzani and Mukhriz Mahathir – acted as companies’ directors, and that according to searches the DAP had made at the Registry of Companies at the end of 1994, Mirzan had interests in 98 companies, Mokhzani in 48 companies and Mukhriz in 67 companies (Lim Kit Siang, 16 June 1998).  Compared to the 213 companies his sons were directors in back in 1994, 488 is the number of companies Mahathir, daughter and sons are directors in as at end of 2016 (Wakeup Malaya, 6 January 2017).

The calls for Mahathir to resign in 1998 for practising nepotism and cronyism culminated in the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim as his deputy in September of the same year, accusing the latter not only of being a tool for George Soros’s attacks on the country’s financial system but also for leading a morally-corrupted life.  Lim Kit Siang and other Opposition leaders were quick to embrace Anwar, acccepting him into their fold when it was just a year earlier that the late Karpal Singh had made mention of allegations of sexual misconducts against Anwar in a Parliamentary sitting – a scene not much different to Lim Kit Siang’s immediate acceptance of Mahathir after decades of mudslinging the latter.

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Anti-Mahathir demonstrations were held almost daily and then held every Friday afternoon at the National Mosque.  These demonstrations were quelled using brute force.  The ‘Reformasi’ movement was born, and the likes of theatre-practitioners such as Jo Kukathas were seen on the streets and interviewed by Maria Ressa saying “Enough is Enough” to Mahathir.  Anwar and several other pro-Reformasi and UMNO leaders critical of Mahathir were arrested without trial under the ISA including current DPM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat, then known by its acronym ADIL, was born out of hatred towards Mahathir, with the aim of toppling him and installing Anwar Ibrahim.  The 1999 General Elections saw how Mahathir suffered a pyrrhic victory, losing grounds in Kelantan and his homestate of Kedah, while losing Terengganu to PAS.  Mahathir-loyalists such as Ramli Ngah Talib, Megat Junid Megat Ayub and Sanusi Junid lost their seats.  That was the beginning of the sounding of the death knell for Mahathir’s virtually unchallenged reign.  During the UMNO General Assembly of 2002, he announced his resignation from party posts as well as Malaysia’s Prime Minister.

Ever since then, with the more open administrations of Pak Lah and Najib Razak, Mahathir became one of the targets of the Opposition in their blog posts, press statements as well as ceramahs.

In June 2012, Mahathir’s newly-made best friend even suggested that Mahathir is tried for his part in the BNM Forex scandal, hinting Egyptian Hosni Mubarak’s imprisonment as a comparison (Lim Kit Siang, 3 June 2012).

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But all is forgotten and forgiven now, even when Mahathir admitted that his apology was only customary and not sincere.  Despite veiled objections from Anwar and Azmin Ali’s camp, Mahathir was named at a Pakatan convention as their Prime Minister of choice albeit interim.   This underscores the fact that the leadership of Pakatans parties do not trust the younger generation to lead the coalition as the position of the elders and powers that come with the position, may be undermined by the younger ones.

The signal of dissent is clear.  Azmin only attended the convention for a while, not waiting for the announcement to be made while Karpal Singh’s daughter, Sangeet Kaur Deo,  has hit out at Pakatan which probably is suffering from a dearth of capable young leaders.  Even Mahathir once quipped that Anwar, who is 22 years his junior, may be too old to become a Prime Minister.

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On Facebook, we are seeing people in their 40s and 50s voicing out their concern over Pakatan’s choice of Prime Minister, alarmed that the monster they have put behind them, could very well jump out from underneath the bed and into their lives again.

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But it does not stop Mahathir from wanting to become the Prime Minister.  He once hinted that he may have to consider becoming the PM again, underscoring the fact that he does not trust anyone else.

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“I may be 93 but at 71 Anwar is much older!”

Wan Azizah may be blind to the fact that Mahathir had once denied the Premiership to her husband and went as far as making sure Anwar went to jail to keep him out of the way, while Lim Kit Siang is only friends with Mahathir because he needs the Malay votes to ensure Pakatan’s seats are sustained after the departure of PAS from the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat.

Will Mahathir be willing to step aside for Anwar Ibrahim or whoever else younger who would be more acceptable to the younger and middle-aged generation aware of his antics?  I doubt.  But as Sangeet mentioned above, it will be a return to Mahathirism, an era of abuse of power, cronyism and nepotism that the Reformasi movement was totally against.

Somehow, it seems that the Reformasi movement has become a tool for what it was totally against – ushering Mahathir into the premiership and welcoming again abuse of pwer, nepotism and cronyism.

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Anwar is NOT going to be MY PM

 

ISA – Who Got To Play God

(This article appeared as a commentary on The Mole – 30 October 2017)

October 30, 2017

THIS would be my mellow version of the Ops Lalang.

The Internal Security Act, 1960 or the ISA, was probably the most draconian law to ever exist in Malaysia.  Prior to having the ISA, preventive detention was done through the Emergency Regulations Ordinance of 1948 aimed at combatting the communist threats.

With the end of the first Malayan Emergency in 1960, the Ordinance of 148 was done away with but was replaced with the ISA.  The mood of the period must be understood to see the reason for having such law.

Although the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) had lost the fight, the struggle was continued from across the Thai border by cadres, as well as their supporters (Min Yuen) in Malaya.  They penetrated unions, the press, as well as associations, causing occasional racial tensions in the country.

Pre-1970 Malaysia was not all dandy when it came to race relations.  The economic power was held by the Chinese since the days of the British administration while the Malays had been relegated to being farmers or lower ranking civil servants.

The Chinese immigrants first came to the Malay states in 1777, and first settled in the state of Perak in 1830 (Patrick Sullivan, 1982: 13). Within 44 years, they numbered 26,000 in Perak alone.  In 1921, the number of Chinese immigrants in the Malay states numbered 1,171,740.  Ten years later, it was 1,704,452. In 1941, it became 2,377,990 while the Malays were at 2,277,352 (Paul H Kratoska, 1997:318). The Malays remained as a minority until the census of 1970.

During the war, the Malays did not face much hardship as the Chinese did at the hands of the Japanese.

After the war, the CPM/MPAJA and their Chinese supporters took revenge on the Malays. In Batu Pahat, Muslims were forbidden from congregating at mosques or suraus to perform the Terawih prayers (Hairi Abdullah, 1974/5: 8-9).

The same occurred in Perak and some parts of Batu Pahat where Muslims were gunned down and burnt together with the mosque they were in during Friday prayers.

Mosques and suraus were often used as places of meeting for the Chinese community (WO 172/9773, No.30: 478) and were tainted by incidents such as slaughtering of pigs, and mosques’ compound was used to cook pork, where Malays were forced to join the larger Chinese groups. Pages were torn from the Quran to be used by the Chinese using these mosques as toilet paper.

Racial clashes had begun in September 1945 where Malays and Chinese clashed in Kota Bharu, Selama, Taiping, Sitiawan, Raub.

This culminated in the slaughter of Malays early one morning in a hamlet near Kuala Kangsar called Bekor where 57 men and women, and 24 children were killed by about 500 members of the CPM aided by 500 Chinese villagers from Kelian in March 1946 (CO 537/1580: 21 and Majlis, 24 Februari 1947:5).

All in all, 2,000 lives were lost.

Such was the mood and the ISA was introduced to also prevent further racial clashes by preventing instigators from achieving their objective whatever that may be.

Therefore, it was an Act of Parliament that was used to preserve public order and morals.  If one is to read the ISA thoroughly, then it would be easier to see that the Act was not just about detention without trial, but also as a weapon for the Royal Malaysian Police to nip any cancerous threat to public order and morals in the bud.

Datuk Seri (now Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad was Prime Minister as well as Home Minister when Ops Lalang was executed on Oct 26 1987 (arrests were made in the early morning of Oct 27).

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was Umno Youth chief and also Education Minister in Dr Mahathir’s Third Cabinet.

Anwar had made several unpopular moves that earned the wrath of the MCA such as the removal of crucifixes from missionary schools, introduction of Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction for Tamil and Chinese studies at the University of Malaya, as well as the introduction of non-Chinese educated senior assistants and supervisors to Chinese vernacular schools.

Deputy MCA president Datuk Seri (now Tan Sri) Lee Kim Sai who was also Selangor MCA chief, on the other hand, had also uttered words implying that the Malays were also immigrants.

A 2,000-strong gathering by the Dong Jiao Zong that was also attended by the DAP, MCA and Gerakan was held and a resolution was made to call a three-day boycott by Chinese schools.

Umno Youth responded with a 10,000-strong gathering at the TPCA Stadium in Kampung Baru.  It is said that Dr Mahathir then instructed Datuk Seri (Tan Sri) Sanusi Junid, who was Umno  secretary-general then, to organise a rally of 500,000 members in Kuala Lumpur.

I remember feeling the tension in the air, especially when an army personnel, Private Adam Jaafar, ran amok with his M-16 in Kampung Baru, adding more fuel to a potentially explosive situation.

The senior police management met in Fraser’s Hill to plan and then launched Ops Lalang to prevent bloodshed.

Whether or not Dr Mahathir disagreed with the police for Ops Lalang to be launched, it must be remembered that even if the police had wanted to launch the operations unilaterally, Section 8(1) of the ISA specifically mentions that it is the Home Minister who, upon being satisfied that the detention of any person is necessary, may make an order for the person to be detained for a period of not more than two years.

According to Section 73 of the Act, the police were not given the power to detain a person for more than 30 days unless the Inspector-General of Police had reported of the detention and its reason to the Home Minister.

Nowhere does the Act mention that the Home Minister SHALL or MUST act as advised by the police.  The police provided the names in a list, with reasons why they should be or were detained, but only the Minister could sign the detention order.

Dr Mahathir may now claim that Ops Lalang was the police’s idea, which may be true.  But as mentioned at the beginning of this article that the ISA is an Act of Parliament giving powers to the police to diffuse potentially explosive situations and also to protect and preserve public safety and morals.

The police used the ISA during Ops Lalang as it was intended to be used (there were also detainees from Umno during the sweep), but the Home Minister was the one who played God, and decided whom to be released before the 60 days was up, and whom to hold up to two years.

And that Home Minister is the same unrepentant person now touted to become the next PM by the DAP.

Adakah Muhyiddin Sanggup Berbohong Demi Mahathir Dan DAP?

"Ambil BR1M itu rasuah," kata Mahathir
“Ambil BR1M itu rasuah,” kata Mahathir

Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia adalah merupakan satu skim pembahagian bantuan kewangan kepada golongan sasar secara lebih berkesan dari pemberian subsidi kepada seluruh rakyat Malaysia.  Sebelum ini, subsidi, contohnya subsidi minyak yang diberikan telah memberi manfaat kepada seluruh rakyat Malaysia. Namun, perbelanjaan untuk subsidi minyak adalah terlalu besar dan manfaatnya tidak dapat dinikmati secara adil oleh rakyat Malaysia berpendapatan rendah.

Sebagai contoh, pemberian subsidi minyak memberi lebih manfaat kepada golongan berpendapatan tinggi kerana mereka menggunakan kenderaan yang menggunakan lebih minyak berbanding dengan golongan berpendapat rendah yang kebanyakan menggunakan motorsikal untuk bergerak:

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Wang subsidi yang dimansuhkan ditukarkan ke dalam bentuk BR1M dan diberikan kepada golongan yang lebih layak menerima.  Untuk menerima BR1M, seseorang pemohon itu perlu membuktikan bahawa beliau layak menerima.  Rasuah apa yang perlukan permohonan dan pembuktian kelayakan?

Itulah sahaja modal yang Mahathir ada untuk menghentam kerajaan.  Lain-lain isu yang diketengahkan oleh Mahathir adalah isu lama yang telah dijawab tetapi dimainkan semula sehinggakan Mahathir berbunyi seperti sebuah radio karat.

Untuk menguatkan hujah beliau, beliau memerlukan sokongan para pemegang jawatan Pribumi.  Maka, yang lantang menyokong beliau tidak lain tidak bukan ialah anak beliau sendiri, Mukhriz.

Mukhriz mempersoalkan BR1M dalam Twitternya bertarikh 28hb Disember 2016
Mukhriz mempersoalkan BR1M dalam Twitternya bertarikh 28hb Disember 2016

Bukankah beliau juga dahulu menonggang atas kejayaan BR1M yang sama demi kepentingan politik beliau?

Kalau BR1M bukan simbol kejayaan, kenapa tak serahkan kepada pegawai daerah sahaja untuk agihan?
Kalau BR1M bukan simbol kejayaan, kenapa tak serahkan kepada pegawai daerah sahaja untuk agihan?
Lain dulu lain sekarang. Inilah akibat lidah bercabang
Lain dulu lain sekarang. Inilah akibat lidah bercabang

Yang paling senyap hingga kini ialah Muhyiddin Yassin.  Langsung tidak kedengaran beliau mengecam BR1M.

Muhyiddin pernah berkata kepada rakyat Malaysia bahawa beliau tidak berbohong mengenai BR1M.  Malah beliau berkata bahawa BR1M, selain pengawalan harga barangan keperluan, adalah di antara usaha kerajaan untuk membantu supaya rakyat supaya tidak berada dalam kesusahan.

"Gua tak bohong punya orang," kata Muhyiddin menerangkan mengenai kebaikan BR1M
“Gua tak bohong punya orang,” kata Muhyiddin menerangkan mengenai kebaikan BR1M

Malah pada tahun 2014, Muhyiddin juga membuat kenyataan bahawa BR1M bukan rasuah.

Persoalannya sekarang ialah, kenapa Muhyiddin masih belum mengeluarkan sebarang kenyataan menyokong atau membantah kenyataan Mahathir berhubung dengan BR1M?

Kalau beliau menyokong kenyataan Mahathir bermakna beliau memang pembohong.  Bagaimanapun, sekiranya beliau tidak menyokong Mahathir maka akibatnya adalah lebih buruk buat beliau.

Kita semua tahu walaupun beliau merupakan Presiden Pro-tem kepada parti Pribumi, Muhyiddin bukanlah pilihan Mahathir sebagai Perdana Menteri.  Muhyiddin terlalu banyak bebanan yang dibawa bersamanya.

Muhyiddin terpaksa diselamatkan oleh Mahathir pada tahun 1990an kerana ‘dibuang’ dari Johor oleh Almarhum Sultan Iskandar dan terpaksa ditukarkan dengan Menteri Belia dan Sukan ketika itu iaitu Ghani Othman.  Malah, masih ramai golongan pertengahan usia dan emas yang masih belum mengampunkan dosa-dosa Muhyiddin terhadap orang Johor, terutamanya warga FELDA.

Oleh sebab itu, hanya Mahathir dan Mukhriz yang banyak bergerak menggunakan pentas Pribumi di negeri Johor, terutamanya di kawasan-kawasan FELDA tanpa membawa Muhyiddin yang terpaksa menagih simpati merempat di atas pentas PKR dan DAP.

Mahathir tidak pernah gemarkan Johor.  Beliau sendiri sering berlaga angin dengan Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, malah cuba untuk menghalang Sultan Iskandar dari menjadi Yang Dipertuan Agong.  Beberapa kali Mahathir gunakan helikopter Nuri milik Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia mendarat di padang bola Kolej Melayu Kuala Kangsar untuk mengadap Almarhum Sultan Idris memujuk baginda untuk bersetuju menjadi YDP Agong pada tahun 1983.

Kemudian pada tahun 1987, melalui pengisytiharan haram UMNO ketika itu beliau menyingkirkan ramai anggota kabinet dari Johor termasuk Musa Hitam dan Shahrir Samad, Allahyarham Ajib Ahmad.

Kepentingan Mahathir di Johor hanyalah jambatan bengkok beliau yang telah dibatalkan oleh Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.  Kalau betul beliau pentingkan rakyat Johor, sudah lama Muhyiddin keluar masuk mahkamah dan penjaa akibat skandal tanah FELDA Johor dan lain-lain.

Akhir-akhir ini, Pribumi juga digegarkan dengan skandal seks Anina Saaduddin yang menyebabkan beliau disingkirkan dari jawatan Ketua Srikandinya.

Ainina menggelar Pribumi sebuah parti bodoh
Ainina menggelar Pribumi sebuah parti bodoh

Skandal yang dikatakan didedahkan oleh orang Pribumi yang inginkan jawatan Anina itu adalah lantaran pergaduhan Anina dengan Sanusi Junid dan anaknya Akramsyah – kedua-duanya penyokong kuat Mahathir.  Rata-rata pemerhati Pribumi mengatakan bahawa bekas exco Perak Hamidah Osman dan adiknya Hamizura Osman memainkan peranan dalam menjatuhkan Anina.

Datuk Baharom Abdul Ghani dari Gelang Patah yang juga merupakan penyokong kuat Mahathir juga dikatakan sedang bergasak dengan abang kepada Muhyiddin.

Di Kelantan pula penyokong kuat Mukhriz iaitu Sazmi Miah dikatakan mahu dilantik sebagai pengerusi Pribumi negeri tersebut.

Maka, di manakah letaknya Muhyiddin?

Muhyiddin teraksa mendiamkan diri.  Bergolak bersama dengan berpihak dalam Pribumi adalah amat berbahaya kepada beliau. Berdiam diri merupakan pilihan yang terbaik sekiranya inginkan kesinambungan di dalam kehidupan politiknya yang kini berada di hujung tanduk Mahathir.

Sekiranya beliau bersuara menyokong kenyataan Mahathir yang mengatakan BR1M itu rasuah, maka beliau memang ‘bohong punya orang‘.  Sekiranya beliau bersuara menentang Mahathir maka seluruh kisah buruk beliau akan didedahkan dan beliau akan dilondehkan di khalayak umum sepertimana dilakukan Mahathir terhadap Anwar Ibrahim 18 tahun yang silam.

Malah, amaran tersebut telah pun dikeluarkan oleh orang kanan Mahathir sendiri:

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Mungkin inilah penghujung hidup Muhyiddin dala arena politik sebelum tiba kepada noktahnya.  Pribumi kini giat menyingkirkan mereka yang tidak menyokong Mahathir dan mereka yang menjadi beban kepada perjuangan kepentingan diri Mahathir.

Mahathir bijak. Beliau lebih lama makan asam dan garam dalam politik.  Ramai yang ingat mereka dapat menunggang Mahathir untuk kepentingan politik mereka tetapi tidak sedar mereka dipergunakan oleh Mahathir untuk kepentingan diri beliau sendiri.  Beliau akan terus biarkan Pribumi bergolak sepertimana UMNO pada tahun 1987 dulu.

Yang penting, kepuasan kepentingan peribadi beliau tercapai.

Fikir-fikirkanlah sebelum memilih.

Tetapi tertanya-tanya juga…apa kata Muhyiddin sekarang mengenai BR1M?

Bagus BR1M ni. Shafie pun tolong Muhyiddin agihkan dulu
Bagus BR1M ni. Shafie pun tolong Muhyiddin agihkan dulu

Historia De Los Cojones

  
Wishful thinking.

My take on yesterday morning’s press conference where the group of 6 spoke against SOSMA being used on Mahathir’s running dogs.

1) Mahathir now publicly admits that Dato Sri Najib has telor (balls).
  
Not only has Najib dismissed the two unlucky persons sitting on the right of him from cabinet, Mahathir also admits that Najib is brave enough to throw two of his idiots in jail – Mr Botox and Mr Fast-Until-Death-For-Eight-Days-Only.

The two were hit by SOSMA and charged under Section 124(L) of the Penal Code for passing unverified OSA documents to foreign agencies in their round-the-world trip to no less than half a dozen countries – and in the process, have hurt our country’s economic sentiments and our Ringgit.
  
Roti Telor Satu!

They were not held for speaking out against the government as Mahathir alleges. If this was indeed the case, Anina, Tony Pua and even Mahathir himself would already be held under SOSMA. Perhaps, Mahathir was trying to equate the arrest of the two to the hundreds of detentions without trial he prescribed during his 22-year dictatorship. Those were the years when, as Mahathir aptly describes, no one was arrested under the ISA for making a police report – because no one dared to make any police report against him for fear of being incarcerated.
2) Mahathir also brought Ku Li – who has stated that this is his last term as MP – just to tell the world that a vote of no confidence against Najib will not succeed. Ku Li also subtly took a swipe at Mahathir for introducing the self-serving system that is now protecting Najib.
3) Mahathir is also telling the world that he has failed to protect the people who trusted him – either they are in jail or they lost their job and is now in political wilderness. 
Mahathir is essentially sending out the message that he has failed those who trusted him. Who else would want to listen to the old fart now?
Mahathir also appears to be saying he is now afraid of Najib. And that Najib may even be brave enough to act against him. Much like how Mahathir acted against his seniors in the past such as Tunku Abdul Rahman and Hussein Onn.
4) Mahathir brought Sanusi Junid and Ong Tee Keat to send a message that the only persons willing to support him now are those frustrated politicians of the past. 
Sanusi Junid left UMNO in 2008 and consequently lost his prestigious post of UIAM president. He also did not get a chance to defend his seat in the 2013 General Elections. He remains in the political wilderness.
Ong Tee Keat became the shortest lived MCA president (he lasted just 17 months) when he lost to Chua Soi Lek despite Chua having a sex-scandal on him. He was also dropped unceremoniously in the 2013 elections. Later in the year, he was crushed in his bid for MCA presidency and came a distant last out of three candidates.
He, however remains as the chairman of Yayasan Bakti Nusa Malaysia, a NGO he founded whose head office is above the local 7-11 in Pandan Jaya.
Ong too remains in the political wilderness and unable to garner any support.
5) The smartest person here who did not attend appears to be long-time Mahathir supporter Tun Daim who refuses to appear in public with this bunch of frustrated leaders since he knows that Tun M can no longer defend him from harm. 
Tun Daim is smart enough to stay away and not put his rumoured billions of ringgit wealth in jeopardy.
And that is my understanding of what Mahathir was actually trying to say yesterday morning.
  
Jom balik! Chek tak mau dah tengok muka Najib. Apa hat Chek dok buat kat dia semua dok kena tang hidung mamak chek!

The Final Curtain?

Another former Minister has spoken out at Najib Razak’s apparent use of Anwar Ibrahim to attack his opponents. Former Minister, Sanusi Junid, has hinted that if Najib does not step down now, UMNO and BN will suffer.

Anwar, who has been in TV3’s bad books, and who also issued a general ban on broadcast journalists from that station to cover any of his or PKR’s events, has been given full attention by the station to lambast Najib’s opponents within UMNO.

Najib, who took over the helm of both UMNO and BN from a weak predecessor, is seen by the public as a weaker Prime Minister. That the BN fared as bad as or worse than GE12 in the last general elections says a lot about his leadership. While he does try to have a hands-on approach on many things which is good, his policies and decisions made seem to lack any prior thoughts, begging the public to ask if it is really Najib’s consultants who do the thinking while Najib just read the scripts and smile or frown as directed.

I, for one, don’t give much thought on the political squabbles. I am more concerned with those who incessantly try to run down the country; but this latest tiff between Najib and his critiques started off with the 1MDB fiasco, and it seems that someone has unearthed the leadership’s Pandora Box.

Who after Najib is none of my concern. Whoever commands majority support of UMNO with the blessing of the component parties in BN should be able to lead. However, the UMNO tradition (budaya) of never to shine before your leader does ought to be done away with. I was told that during the recent floods, although the Deputy Prime Minister was in town while many including the Prime Minister were away shopping or golfing abroad, the former did not act swiftly until instructed to do so. How true this is, I don’t know but if so, it truly is damaging that you cannot decide as a Deputy Prime Minister on behalf of the Prime Minister who was away golfing. “Mana boleh! Ini budaya UMNO!” said the person to my father when asked why did the Deputy Prime Minister not act since the Prime Minister was on holiday abroad.

Najib could easily have called for an impromptu press conference to announce that the DPM was to head the disaster management team while he had to golf with Obama to discuss pressing matters. There was a whole army of foreign press there that he could have used to convey the message to worried Malaysians, but he did not. Was he waiting for his consultants to come up with a script and a set of more acceptable wardrobe?

It was equally bad that (I’m very sure it was his consultants who prepared this line) Najib made only the home and business insurance issue as THE reason for not declaring an emergency in the flood-stricken states. There was a bunch of other stronger reasons that could have been used, but maybe his consultants thought it was best to use the insurance issue as that was more personal for flood victims. Well, it backfired. Miserably! Adding insult to injury, the disaster-relief operation was like a dumbstruck Medusa. Every agency was doing its own thing with no clear command and control until much later. Given that the head of the National Security Council is an administrator rather than a field man, and has had no experience managing disasters, with the Prime Minister being abroad, things did not move as they should have.

Anyway, I have digressed from the issue of Najib’s quarrel with his detractors. But I think Najib’s continuous display of dishing out half-baked policies and display of desperately holding on to the Premiership simply means that he is no Tun Razak, who was brilliant in character and leadership that even political dinosaurs like Lim Kit Siang misses him, and Dyana Samad remembers Tun Razak’s superb leadership although she was still swimming inside her father’s balls when the Tun died.

UMNO needs to evolve and revamp itself in order to stay relevant in the next general elections. But first, it needs a serious change in leadership.