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Sakmongkol ak 47

Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Troika in UMNO Politics?

Hishamudin, responding to news that Najib has won the UMNO presidency uncontested said:-

For those of us who have to contest:-

  1. Its unfortunate
  2. Lets keep it in the family
  3. Lets not cause a split in UMNO

Sakmongkol has written about the implications of the usage of the term unfortunate.

Now, for keeping it in the family. This term for Hishamuddin, is not literal anymore. He is cousin to DS Najib. Their mothers are sisters.

Hisham and Najib are sons of former PM. Hisham is the son of Hussein Onn our 3rd PM and Najib, is the son of Tun Razak, our second PM. Will all in the family entail victory for Muhkriz, thus completing the triumvirate?

If this happens, then the worldwide elation on the victory of Obama in USA which has generated high expectations that the same message of change can also occur in Malaysia will deflate. Instead, our power structures will continue to be dominated by the same incestuous fraternity of elite men whose genealogies date back to the founding fathers of UMNO. Contrary to the piece written by the perceptive Farish Noor, it will not create a rapturous euphoria- not in Malaysia.

But lets learn something from history. It is significant the term triumvirate means imperial rule by three powerful generals. .

  • What modern scholars call the First Triumvirate was an informal political alliance of two rival generals, Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great representing the popular viz. senatorial party, with the extremely wealthy businessman Marcus Licinius Crassus. Coincidentally, sakmongkol has written on a Malaysian Marcus Licinius Crassus.
  • This fell apart after the death of Crassus, and the two other triumvirs fought a civil war, during which Pompey was killed and Caesar established his sole rule as perpetual dictator.
  • The Second Triumvirate was a formal governing body, consisting of Octavian and Mark Antony, the rivals for real power, and third wheel Marcus Aemilius Lepidus.
  • Lepidus was sidelined early on in the triumvirate, and Antony was eliminated in a civil war, leaving Octavian as the sole leader.

In a triumvirate, the 3rd wheel is always eliminated early on. The two left will engage in civil wars that eventually saw the triumph of one paramount leader who rules with an iron fist.

All the more reason to prevent the rise of the triumvirate and break up the incestuous cycle.

China too has its share of triumvirates. One of the most notable triumvirates formed in the history of China was by the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) statesmen Huo Guang (d. 68 BC), Jin Midi (d. 86 BC), and Shangguan Jie, following the death of Emperor Wu of Han (r. 141–87 BC) and the installation of the child emperor Zhao.

Despite the Three Excellencies—including the Chancellor, Imperial Secretary, and irregularly the Grand Commandant—representing the most senior ministerial positions of state, this triumvirate was supported by the economic technocrat and Imperial Secretary Sang Hongyang (d. 80 BC), their political lackey.

The Three Excellencies existed in Western Han (202 BC – 9 AD) as the Chancellor, Imperial Secretary, and Grand Commandant, but the Chancellor was viewed as senior to the Imperial Secretary while the post of Grand Commandant was vacant for most of the dynasty.

After Emperor Guangwu established the Eastern Han (25–220 AD), the Grand Commandant was made a permanent official while the Minister over the Masses replaced the Chancellor and the Minister of Works replaced the Imperial Secretary. Unlike the three high officials in Western Han when the Chancellor was senior to all, these new three senior officials had equal censorial and advisory powers. When a young or weak-minded emperor ascended to the throne, these Three Excellencies could dominate the affairs of state.

So we can have our pick on which triumvirate to base on. From the roman triumvirate we leant, the leader emerged supreme though wars and conspiracy and violent means. In the Chinese model, the supreme power vests with one who holds the treasury. In the eastern Han model, all three hold equal power but act in consort to retain power.

But the modern term of triumvirate can be the harbinger of ominous tidings. In Russian, the term triumvirate is known as Troika (Russian: тройка, meaning threesome). It is a committee consisting of three members. The word became notorious in the Soviet Union during the Stalinist era: troikas replaced the normal legal system for quick persecution of dissidents or anybody accused of political crimes. The troika can therefore be a threat to democracy.

Will we have our Georgy Malenkov, Lavrentiy Beria, and Vyacheslav Molotov?

Once again, argument against the incestuous cycle.

Najib is already there. Hishamuddin leads in the VP race and Mukhriz tops the nominations for Youth Head. Sakmongkol is not sure how the 2000 over UMNO delegates will map out its own future. If they want to prevent the troika, either Hishamudin or Mukhriz has to be sacrificed. But who knows what lurks in the bosom of each delegate?


Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 17:11  

Dear Datuk Sak,

May I know how does Mukhriz fits into this perceived impending triumvirate?

If Hishamuddin said to keep it in the family, does Mukhriz related to Hishamuddin and Najib as well? I'm a bit vague on the connection between those family trees.

Thank you.


sakmongkol AK47 aka Mat Tomoi 6 November 2008 at 17:22  

i meant, that each is the son of a former pm. the possible outcome is najib/president; hisham-vp; and muhkriz, the ketua pemuda.

Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 17:26  

At least Hisham and Mukhriz are nice, affable.
So is Najib too if not for his tainted image now.
Najib is quite popular due to his "liberal" lifestyle...

Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 17:28  

I still hope Khir wins. Ha Ha.

walla 6 November 2008 at 17:30  

One of Pahang's more illustrious sons should have a place, perhaps as minwoportfolio in Putrajaya.

The country needs clarity as much perspective.

Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 17:34  

Could there be a misinterpretation here regarding keeping it it the family in that Hisham meant that this is to be in the spirit of family within UMNO? You're taking this a tad too literally don't you think?


Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 17:35  

Datuk Sak,

In that case, I agree with Jed. We have to sacrifice either Hishamuddin, Mukhriz and/or Khairy as Khairy is also the son in law of the outgoing PM.

We have to vote for Dr Khir then! :)

(Menantu pun kira anak sendiri juga)

sakmongkol AK47 aka Mat Tomoi 6 November 2008 at 17:39  

i am sure hishamuddin meant it that way. i am interpreting the possible outcomes and their relationship to the expression 'keeping it in the family'.

Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 17:42  

Dear Sak,

Beautiful post sak. I keep wondering how this prince of java can break this triumvirate. May one day Indonesia declares holiday as Kenya did.


Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 17:54  


'Could there be a misinterpretation here regarding keeping it in the family in that Hisham meant that this is to be in the spirit of family within UMNO?

You mean someone else from outside umno family wants to be the president of UMNO?

maybe from Indon clan...

Kee Kee

Anonymous,  6 November 2008 at 19:00  

Dear Sak47,

There is a Chinese saying, it goes something like this.(stand to be corrected)

The 1st generation work hard to earn their keeps building an empire of fortunes and glory.

The 2nd generation stand to enjoy the fruits or labor from the 1st generation, splurge, enjoy the luxuries of being born with a silver spoon

While the 3rd generation will suffer as they have nothing left in the coffers as the 2nd generation have exhausted everything.


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