In a scene from the film Mongol about the rise of Temudgin aka Genghis Khan, Jamukha's brother Taichar organizes a raid on Temudgin's horses and is killed in the attempt. He was killed by Altan, a warrior from Jamukha’s tribe who has crossed over to Temudgin’s side. Taichar's death places Temudgin and Jamukha on an inevitable path of war.
When Daritai( another warrior from Jamukha’s camp who also went to Temudgin’s side) and Altan got back to camp, they reported the matter to Temudgin. Altan, the warrior who shot Taichar, offered to be killed to appease Jamukha. Temudgin’s wife, Borte, symbolising the rational voice, asked Temudgin- if he surrendered Altan, what would people say?
Sakmongkol draws parallel from the film Mongol by Sergei Bodrov about the life of Temudgin( known to the world as Genghis Khan). Sakmongkol then poses the following question:-
Who will Najib finally endorse as DP?
The film UMNO, styled after the film Mongol will have the following cast:-
Jamukha Pak Lah
Taichar Ali Rustam
Daritai Muhammad Taib
Borte the voice of reason.
Muhyiddin aka Altan.
Muhyiddin suffers from the perception of being ambitious. When Pak Lah delayed the announcement as Najib as deputy premier the last time, there were talks that Pak Lah actually favoured Muhyiddin. Since then, perhaps after being spurned in favour of Najib, relations between Pak Lah and Muhyidin remains lukewarm at the best.
Muhyiddin and Dato Najib have contested against each other before. At one time, Muhyiddin even bested Najib to secure the first place among the 3 VPs. Najib has since settled the scores, winning first place more than Muhyiddin. There is simmering rivalry between the two. On these grounds, people’s perception that Muhyiddin might not be the one that Najib endorses, has some credibility.
Ali Rustam aka Taichar.
Ali Rustam the chief minister of Melaka, may be more suitable to Najib’s political temperament. Najib’s wants a loyal deputy who will not ambush him. Ali Rustam has demonstrated he can be loyal to Najib. Indeed he has been an outspoken extension of Najib’s voice on many issues. He was the one who asked the PPP to go fly kite and telling all that he had discussed the matter with Najib.
And Ali Rustam can also be the queen that can checkmate castle Muhyiddin. Ali Rustam has since got the endorsement from Pak Lah himself. Everyone will recall Pak Lah’s annoyance at instances calling Ali Rustam to back off from the DP’s race. Going on the offensive, Pak Lah has even rhetorically asked- what’s wrong with Ali? He is qualified.
Now if Najib, wants to finish off Muhyiddin, he may also back Ali Rustam. First Najib has no fundamental objection to Ali and Ali can be a trusted lieutenant. Plus, Ali can draw in Pak Lah’s loyalists to Najib’s side.
Muhamamd taib aka Daritai.
We have not forgotten Muhammad M Taib, the current UMNO information chief. He found a new lease of life after having qualified to contest the DP. Previously he was wailing like a baby loudly lamenting that competition is bad for UMNO. Now that he has qualified, he says, competition is ok. In that he echoes the sentiments of Najib- the more the merrier.
In recent years, Muhammad Taib has proven to be loyal servant to Pak Lah. Being a Pak Lah loyalist, he can be expected to align with forces that want to punish Muhyiddin whom all regarded as the one masterminding the accelerated exit of Pak Lah. And with Pak Lah’s exit, all their interests resting on the continued reign of Pak Lah. So, Muhammad Taib can be seen as the weapon of choice to kill off Muhyiddin.
But loyalty in UMNO is ephemeral. It follows the supreme leader. Muhammad Taib’s loyalty can therefore be transferred wholesale to Najib and in that way, what Najib wants will be Mat Taib’s command.
The whole puzzle therefore lies with Najib. Who does he want?
Najib aka Temudgin and Borte, the voice of reason.
In Sakmongkol’s estimation, Najib will want to play the statesman.He will want to demonstrate the ability to decide what is best for UMNO more and less what’s best for him personally. He knows, the psychology of UMNO people. They are all loyal to the numero uno. Loyalty to him when he is the PM is a forgone conclusion. .
If Najib now wants to carve out an image as a statesman befitting the stature of the PM, he may very well learn something from our above narrative of Temudgin.
Najib alias Temudgin must now decide whether he wants to behead Altan to satisfy Jamukha( read) Pak Lah. Altan( read Muhyiddin) has made the cardinal error of killing the next most precious thing to Jamukha, his brother Taichar who can be counted to continue his legacy and whack off Muhyiddin( Altan) . As to Daritai read Muhammad M Taib, he can be counted to be a pliable loyalist.
Temudgin( read Najib) has the choice to sacrifice Altan but the sane voice of a higher interest( symbolised by Borte) will prevail. So in the end, Sakmongkol thinks, Najib will go for Muhyiddin.
But people! Don’t get agitated- this is Sakmongkol’ s flight of fancy after watching Sergei Bodrov’s Mongol.