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Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The UMNO Race- Final Lap

We are about one week away from the UMNO D-day. That's the UMNO General Assembly. It is sometimes known as PAU- Persidangan Agong UMNO. The word 'pau' has its negative connotations. In sreet-speake- it also refers to fleecing of money, as in delegates asking money from candidates for some nights stay at a good hotel in KL. The fleecing can also take the form of candidates asking money from candidates for shopping expenses.

Let's not mince our words here. Delegates from Sabah for example want to be feted as special guests. They wouldn't want to if they know what the term 'special guest' meant to Aziz Ishak- a minister who served during Tengku Abdul Rahman's time. They want to be transported from the moment they touched down in limousines to their hotels. They want to stay at 5 star hotels and have money to spend. Most of the delegates don't stay at hotels assigned by their perhubungan negeri. Of course they want to partake in KL's nightlife. Hanya berapa tahun sekali ba.

Most of the time, candidates have no choice but to comply. There is a wry and rueful saying among candidates. Beri salah, tak beri kalah. Heads you lose, tails you lose too. There is a thin line distinguishing political money and money politics. Candidates ignore these pau at their peril. There is no guarantee that if one candidate refuses to entertain these pau, the others will.

So for the next few days, I will stop writing on economics. I will concentrate on political writings.

As the position of UMNO president is uncontested, there is little to be said about money politics there. UMNO people actually love to have contests. Besides the opportunities to make money either by way of political money or money politics, they loved the act of casting votes. As in the general elections, UMNO elections are also seen as a chance to exercise their democratic rights. The right to vote is seen as an irrevocable and natural right and the act of casting their vote symbolises a personal and very private ownership of a right not to be taken lightly. In that sense, by winning the post uncontested, DS Najib will never know the real extent of his support.

But we shall examine DS Najib's position some other time. As of now let us turn our attention to the number two.

For all intents and purposes, the Deputy President's post is a contest between TS Muhyidin and DS Ali Rustam. One is an economics graduate from UM, the other secured a degree through off campus study from USM. Ali Rustam made it to the papers when he completed his off campus studies. At that time he was serving as an assemblyman under TS Rahim Tamby Chik. RTC is contesting as one of the vice presidents this time. That's high and low tides of politics for you.

In this post, experience is essential but not critical. It depends on the type of experience. There is an African saying, a day in the life of a raven, is worth 100 days in the life of a leopard. The terra-firma experience of the leopard is no match with the ability to fly.

If delegates are looking at paper qualifications and experience, then TS Muhyidin has won 2-0. I am being objective and stating it as a matter of fact. A degree secured through in campus and through the conventional process is more favourably rated that a degree obtained off-campus. It's simple to differentiate and distinguish the two methods. Just look at the entry level requirements. Direct entry requires higher level entry requirements than off campus. I am discounting off whatever excuses that may be put up by the Ali Rustam camp here. Their man comes from a poor family or sacrificed to allow younger siblings to study first. Muhyiddin can also come up with the same sob story.

What about experience? Muhyiddin has the raven's to Ali Rustam's leopard experience. So, Muhyiddin still wins here.

Muhyiddin has a longer experience as an able administrator. He has served since the late 1970's as deputy minister. His contemporary at that time is Rahim Tamby Chik. In fact at that time, UMNO was watching the rise of these two. He then went on to serve in various ministerial capacities. He projects the image of a tireless worker, focused but publicity shy. He is lurking somewhere. That can also be unnerving for some people. But so far, Muhyiddin has stayed away from political controversies.

Ali Rustam's experience is noted more for his penchant of embroiling himself with controversies. That may indicate however a gung-ho approach to Malaysian politics which may endear him to supporters. But hearing him speak, one cannot help but conclude that Ali Rustam is twaddle. We don't know his thoughts or what he is saying at times. That he is not collected and focussed is the impression that he gives.

Be that as it may, Muhyiddin may have a tougher time defending his track record. He has been holding important posts in UMNO far longer than Ali Rustam. He has been vice president for UMNO for a far longer time than Ali Rustam. Indeed, he has even secured the top place in the VP race on one occasion beating even DS Najib. But it is also true at that time; his victory was tainted with accusations of blatant money politics. At the ensuing UMNO PAU, he was actually defeated.

He has also been an MB for Johore. During his watch, he was also reputed to have amassed huge amounts of wealth. The Johore water front project will remain a bugbear on his record and experience. I remember Musa Hitam used to joke around saying; the only land (tanah) that Muhyiddin hasn't sold or alienated is the land on his mother's grave.

To be continued of course.

6 comments:

Anonymous,  17 March 2009 at 09:27  

Bukannya PAU la brader tapi PAKAU...

Perhimpunan Agong Kepala Agong UMNO...

Siapa yg kena
siapa yg dikena
siapa yg mengena

siapa yg saman
siapa yg kena saman
siapa makan saman

siapa yg kekal
siapa yg cuba dikekal
siapa yg cekal

Tunggu!!!

Alfonso d aLbuqarqie

MANTRA 17 March 2009 at 10:14  

Salam Dato'

Not only UMNO members eyeing on this PAU... its a national event already.

Watch for 4pm announcement, sms and news going wild in the air since these few days... what more bloggers.

Raison D'etre 17 March 2009 at 10:16  

SM,

Normally I would steer clear from Umno election matters from the sheer distates of what it represents.

PAU is spot on.

Just some words on AR.

I was covering the Jonker Walk Heritage issue a few years back when I joined some fellow journos meeting AR.

He was a very likeable fellow. While still very much a true politician (in wanting to still tlak even though he clearly knew so little of what was coming out from his mouth) but AR came across as being quite sincere.

Head says MY should be the better candidate, but there is something about him that somehow nags me in the back of my mind.

What is your take on MY?

AR is AR. MT is a has been who is just there for the ride, but who is exactly MY?

Unlike good ol Rafidah A (just like I do TDM, I love and respect RA, god bless her) stint at MITI, MY's tenure has seen nothing major in headlines.

AR may be inexperience, but I wish for some good hearts to come into this new bunch of Umno bigwigs.

Heads rule, but hearts would put you in with the people on the ground.

If only there was no Sword of Domacles (allegations of money politics, of course: don't think AR needed to take such a course anyway, but what do I know of Umno politics), AR is still a viable DPM.

Do pen some thoughts on MY.

Anonymous,  17 March 2009 at 18:28  

Dato

Bila menulis berkenaan DS Najib itu, tolong buat analisa mengapa kesemua bahagian mencalunkan dia melainkan Gua Musang.

Tolong nyatakan kesemua sebab sebab yang mungkin. Kalau ada maklumat di sebalik tabir, lagi bagus.

Tak mungkin dia begitu popular masakan TRH telah menyatakan minat nya bertanding. Saya bukan penyokong TRH tapi saya tidak percaya hampir kesemua bahagian calunkan DS Najib kerana kebolehan nya memimpin.

lordapes 17 March 2009 at 21:12  

dan Ali Rustam gagal bertanding...

Mat Cendana 17 March 2009 at 21:48  

This initial evaluation of the two is as objective as it gets. It also reveals one embarrassing and disturbing characteristic of Umno right now - the dearth of real leadership material. Compare this to what PAS has - the latter seems to be spoilt for choice against Umno's scrapping the bottom of the barrel.

Yes, it's true that the main reason why PAS' higher hierarchy hasn't been so thoroughly tainted is due to their lack of exposure and access to power.

But then again PAS has already ruled Kelantan for 19 years... and there has been no significant scandal revealed so far. I'm quite sure the Umno people have been watching with eagle eyes, and would have been super-quick to sound the alarm.

But perhaps they are better in hiding...

BTW I'm not that naive as to conclude all the PAS officials in Kelantan are squeaky clean: one of my nephews has suddenly emerged from "sesak" (broke/hard-up) class to "nouveau rich" through the timber-concession route... and he had implied of `a few things'.

Anyway, back to Umno: To those Umno people who may follow this blog, please take note of this dilemma that we, the REAL grassroots face...

Many would love to be solidly behind Umno; given the open, bold and often dastardly challenges against against Malays and Muslims by some quarters - something that threatens the country's stability, and will result only in everyone losing...

HOWEVER, Umno is not making it easy for these patriots and nationalists by offering people of less-than-impressive qualities and records.

For how long can Umno sustain and maintain the call and plea "for Malays to lend numerical support demi bangsa, agama dan negara"; and yet providing us only with this kind of people?

The people want leaders whom we might *consider* giving our everything for... and that means someone who is trusted and loved.

Muhyidin and Ali Rustam... Anyone here with the desire to proclaim his willingness to give his life (mulut ajer lah...)to follow any of the two?...to be a loyal cadre in pursuit of a better Umno, better Malay society and better Malaysia for all?

I'd be embarrassed to do that... although I might, if they give me enough ringgit. Hey, I have to make a living too lah!

So to the people in Umno who have the power... yang ada keupayaan untuk mengubah keadaan: they might be the leaders, or next week's delegates, or future Supreme Council members, or division chiefs... or tycoons with the influence "to do things":

We hold YOU responsible... so please do what's right before Umno, Malays, Muslims and Malaysia reach that point of no return.

- Knight of the Demi Negara Order

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