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Sakmongkol ak 47

Saturday 3 January 2009

Will KTerengganu be a Dunkirk?

No: 4/2009

In a few days thousands of UMNO soldiers will converge on the battlefields of Kuala Terengganu. Their object? To help the UMNO defenders in KT. Meanwhile the UMNO soldiers in KT will dig in, their resolve steeled to win by any means necessary.

The question on every one’s mind will be, can UMNO win? The spectacle of the KT UMNO digging in, putting up a fight and the sight of thousands converging to help out the defenders, is reminiscent of the Battle at Dunkirk. Dunkirk was described as 'almost a victory' and people discuss the 'Dunkirk spirit' at great length. This 'spirit' refers to the way that a large number of civilian ships crossed the channel to Dunkirk in order to help demoralised British forces return to Britain. Undoubtedly these acts by ordinary British fishermen and sailors were heroic, undoubtedly the British retreat from Pas de Calais was a disaster.

I get amused when journalists write about politics. Something they hatched in their imagination are offered to us as a palatable menu. They read chicken entrails and elevate them to respectable prognosis. One such example, is the reporter Zubaidah A.Bakar’s take on the choice of PAS’s Abdul Wahid Endut as its parliamentary candidate. Therefore to enliven things up, I offer my take.

Whether Abdul Wahids’s choice as candidate is a reflection of a power struggle between the factions in PAS, does not influence the outcome of the elections. It does not improve UMNO’s chances. UMNO must win not because of the imagined strife within PAS but must do so despite the strife, if one does indeed exists.

You see, if you try to analyse PAS through UMNO’s eyes, you get spurious results. They don’t think as UMNO people do. They are not into whether decision A strengthens the Erdogan faction or decision B, fortifies the Ulama faction. Their principal interest will always be, will any decision A or B, further the interest of Islam? That is the final solution. They know where their loyalties lie. UMNOniks don’t.

UMNO’s decision matrix is totally different and at once at variance with PAS’s. In UMNO, they see whether decision A is good for Najib’s people, decision B good for Pak Lah’s people, decision C good for KJ or KT or MM’s interests. Compared to PAS’s denominator, all that of UMNO’s are insignificant. UMNO goes into the KT by elections as a fractious group, not PAS.

PAS people differ on appearances not on fundamentals. They may quarrel about petty issues, but everything is resolved on religious principles. On that, PAS does not quarrel. So I wouldn’t take UMNO’s imagined dissension within PAS as being crucial for their victory. In fact and on the other hand, if UMNO does that, it serves only to confirm that UMNO is weak. UMNO must win on its strengths, not on the perceived weaknesses of others. Savvy?

UMNO will never win if it doesn’t understand how a PAS operative works. Always, the common denominator is religion. That is a constant. No PAS member ever disputes if the decision taken is done according to religion. Once taken, the support for their candidate is ABSOLUTE and TOTAL. Can we say the same of UMNO’s Wan Farid? No? On that point, who wins?

The PAS candidate YB Abdul Wahab Bin Endut may be a 4 or 5 termed ADUN. Yet, he is barely known outside. Everyone was thinking it could be Mat Sabu or Syed Azman. These are well known personalities.

Pas says it sent out 72 party stalwarts to stalk the feelings of the grassroots. They finally came out with Abdul Wahid. Wahid means number one. Perhaps in the minds and hearts of the Terengganu people.

Pitted against Wan Farid, the senator, the ketua UMNO bahagian Kuala Terengganu, Wahid is a lightweight. Wan Farid is well known at national level politics.

In recent weeks, he has stormed the hustings. He has been busy campaigning, establishing relationships with the voters. One day visiting an Indian couple, the other day chatting with an elderly Malay couple. This has been possible because UMNO decide to announce his candidacy very much early on.

PAS took several weeks and decided to announce its candidate late. UMNO decided its candidate very early. What does the difference tell you?

By pitting an unknown to an UMNO heavyweight, PAS shows its VERY CONFIDENT. Why offer an unknown for national level politics? Unless PAS has done a better homework evaluating the rakyat’s feelings.

PAS has chosen its candidate meticulously. It sent out 72 pulse feelers on the ground. That should allow them to read moods better than UMNO.

UMNO’s candidacy was decided by Pak Lah. And Najib, is he says so. The Ketua Perhubungan was reported by my sources as saying even he wasn’t aware of the decision to pick Wan Farid. He would have preferred Zubir Embong, the education officer, not the other Zubir. Idris Jusoh, the other warlord wanted someone else, but he is now a nobody. Who listens to him nowadays?

It has been lean pickings for Wan Farid. Meeting up with old people and with an Indian couple, only serve to indicate that Wan Farid is facing an uphill battle.

For several reasons.

  • Wan Farid faces the wrath of Mat Said’s followers. Wan Farid has been associated with the excesses in the application of Terengganu’s compassionate money or wang ehsan. He was seen as the Trojan horse to coral Terengganu’s oil money.
  • The defeat of Wan Farid is a secret wish by many of Mat Said’s followers.
  • Idris Jusoh would like to see Wan Farid lose so that it becomes the first failure of Mat Said the man who bumped him off as the MB.
  • The choice of Wan Farid was forced from above. These people don’t vote for Wan Farid. The people of KT do. The people have spoken to the PAS 72 who went around gauging the support.

The odds appear to be in favour of PAS.But I pray, KT will not be an 'almost a victory' like Dunkirk.


Anonymous,  4 January 2009 at 00:39  

hi dato,
erm, what's new with umno.
after all it's a the ideal business model....with the highest ROI it seems...and no need so much capital to enter....

Pak Zawi 4 January 2009 at 12:36  

Dato' Sak,
Agree fully with your analysis.
KT will be the proper political grave for Wan Farid who had been directly involved in how the past decision as to how Wang Ehsan Terengganu was to be utilized.
I was smiling to myself when I heard the 'pesanan' from a Muhammad to the power of 2 telling all UMNO voters to take care of their MyKad lest they be used by others to cheat UMNO of their precious dwindling votes. What irony to hear it coming from him as if that was the reason that BN lost some states in the last GE.

Anonymous,  4 January 2009 at 13:30  

Hi Dato',
I too have done my mini surveys, and have seen that most people are going to vote opposition.
But anything is possible in politics, and if WF manages to emerge as the WAN and only, then credit should go to the setiakawans, ...

5 riders of the apocalypse faced by UMNO/BN

Political Crisis - need i say more...
Social Crisis - fabric of society is breaking at the seams
Economic Crisis - I wrote a lot about it. Has a "made in America" label but will still affect us
Leadership Crisis - at all levels of the hierarchy, with the exception of the Naib Ketua Pemuda
Administrative Crisis - Who is running the Govt? I dunno

So with those 5 riders, i would be surprised if the one who emerges is WAN, as opposed to Wahid!

Ariff Sabri 4 January 2009 at 14:15  

mr padedoh,

you see? if abdul wahid wins, its a victory for PAS not the ulama or erdogan faction. contrast this with UMNO's?..if we win, must it be classified as victory for factions within UMNO and not just UMNO?
the outcome, i am afraid, is already written in the stars- like the professor says in A Passage to India.

mekyam 4 January 2009 at 14:25  

love the play on wan and wahid, mr padedoh.

nice one! ;D

Ariff Sabri 4 January 2009 at 14:38  

jed yoong,
sad this thing is happening to a great party.


its the difference in mindset that's at play here. UMNO goes into the battlefield divided. PAS goes in as a solid battering ram.

mr padedoh,

witty response to my wahid with your WAN/ lets pray wan wins. its the battle of the 2 W's

mek yam,
i have wriiten responses to comments from sir tong kol, apocryphalist. the last one was on something you commented. its titled mek yam's uneasiness. did you miss it?

lets see how this drama in KT unfolds

Anonymous,  4 January 2009 at 20:03  

Hi Dato'
Just being a bit naughty with the setiakawan slant.

Of course it will be seen as a victory for UMNO, but would it be the best thing long term wise? Ha ha, it seems that we are the experts of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

I don't think anybody shares optimism about UMNO's performance in this next election, but a defeat can be a victory IFF serves to force some hard thinking amongst the rank and file.

That said, from a stock market point of view, things may be the most optimistic when everybody has a very negative opinion - cue Goldmans rally over the last 2 weeks even after they posted almost USD 5/share loss.

Moral of the story - what would a win for UMNO mean?
For me, I'd take it to mean to close all shorts on US Bank Stocks and start to think in the realms of the impossibilities. Reality does not matter anymore.

Yup - it would be that hollow.

nazrin 4 January 2009 at 20:13  

eh, dunkirk!
where i live right now :)

Apocryphalist 4 January 2009 at 22:18  

Dato' Sak,

Quoting Professor Godbole yer dato'. Please, in your understanding, what happened in the Marabar caves? Did Dr Aziz really rape Adele? Were her wounds self-inflicted? What happened after she blew the match out? Did she get horny after seeing all those kamasutra statues?

Sakit hati tengok citer tu sebab the author wanted us to make our own conclusions. Had an acquaintance whose mother was E.M. Forster's friend when he was still living and thats what he said about letting people make their own conclusions.


Ariff Sabri 4 January 2009 at 22:51  

haha apocryphalist,

yes i am quoting prof. godbole- played by one of my favourite actors- alec guiness. memang sakit hati tengok cerita tu-.. but i think adele got horny and availed herself to dr aziz. when she got over her lust, realised that she did it with a native, she wanted to punish her own guilt. hmm, you liked the film too ye?
you know the other quote i liked- the one by the prosecution.. it is an axioim, that darker skinned peoples will always fall the white skinned people, to which the retort came- even if the white woman is ugly...?..something like that.

mekyam 4 January 2009 at 23:43  

sakmongkol said... the last one was on something you commented. its titled mek yam's uneasiness. did you miss it?

no i didn't, tok sak. i'm really flattered you thought my comment worth singling out for treatment alongside more substantial comments from the erudite apo and sir tong.

sadly by the time i saw it, it was like 3 or 4 entries older and your new topics drew my attention away. work too has not yielded me the time to formulate a response with the kind of justice i'd like to give it.

but that is no excuse for me not to thank you for your kindness. most remiss of me. my apologies and thanks once again.

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