Friday, January 01, 2016
PM's Undemocratic Streak Sets to Continue
A Kadir Jasin
IT has been a while that I have not dedicated a posting based on the Kedai Kopi Assembly (KKA) discussions. Several coffee shop assemblies were held before, during and after the December 8-12 Umno General Assembly (PAU) involving a varied group of participants.
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We had a couple of former ministers, including (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin, Malay business executives from Prowaris, communications and journalism students of a public university and the usual likeminded bloggers.
As such this posting will be lengthy and I do not blame readers if they find it laborious and boring. But we have to put things in their proper perspectives.
The consensus among participants was that this year’s PAU was different compared to previous assemblies. The most glaring was that Muhyiddin, the party’s Deputy President, and Vice President (datuk seri) Shafie Apdal, were not allowed to address the assembly on excuse that it is not provided for in the party constitution and it is only a convention.
The two lost their Cabinet posts and the right to speak at the assembly for questioning the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Mappadulung Daeng Mattimung Karaeng Sanrobone) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak on the 1MDB scandal and the RM2.6-billion “Arab donation” in 2013 that went into his private accounts.
Participants agreed with the former Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Umno President, (Tun) Musa Hitam that barring Muhyiddin and Shafie, who were elected by members, represented the beginning of dictatorship in Umno.
He cited his own experience when he ganged up with Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to topple Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1987. They both lost. But he was allowed to address in the assembly. This time, Musa commented, members were told not to raise lMDB issue and the RM2.6-billion donation. They were only allowed to talk about party, the collaboration with PAS and to praise the President.
1. UMNO is a Malay party but as the leader of the Barisan Nasional it looks after interest of all races. But Mohd Najib's speech confined to Malay unity. This upset other races since Umno President is also BN’s Chairman and Prime Minister. This contradicted his earlier claims the he was the PM for all Malaysians. What has happened to his 1Malaysia?
2. On the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), he said we were not apologetic on the Bumiputera agenda but he never told us how long the exemption in favour of the Bumiputeras would be? He aspires to make Malaysia the top 10 most competitive nations in world by 2030 and while at the same time tells the world that we need to protect Bumiputera interest?
3. He pointed out that his subordinates were appointed to assist him run the party. But when they pointed out to him 1MDB’s issue is causing problem to government and party, he sacked them from the Cabinet. Those two were just pointing out to him that these two matters were dragging down government and the support for the party.
4. All that he wants is blind loyalty at expense of losing the support of the masses and yet he claims that he is a gentleman and does things transparently. Then secretly he created 1MDB and accepted RM2.6 billion worth of donations that nobody knew about until the Wall Street Journal newspaper exposed it. He originally denied it and some of his people claimed that he inherited it. The lies were exposed when his brothers denied the inheritance spin. When it was exposed that the money was in his personal accounts, he and his spinners started concocting all kinds of explanations, which changed from time to time. He said he would sue the WSJ but until today no such action has been taken. And until now we don't know who the donor is although the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s Chief Commissioner, (Tan Sri) Abu Kassim Mohamed, was reported to have interviewed him.
5. Mohd Najib blamed his deputy for allegedly breaching collective responsibility by asking questions about 1MDB and his RM2.6-billion. He has every right to sack them from the Cabinet and he does not have to give any reason. But he can't sack them from party so he stopped them from speaking at assembly. Why can’t the PM be a gentleman, have a big heart and be magnanimous? Is he not a WOG?
6. At end of assembly, Mohd Najib and his supporters managed to control delegates and got them to say what he wanted them to say but he did not get a true picture of support for himself and the party. Had he allowed an open debate, he would have received correct feedback and this would give him time to address issues that the Rakyat are not happy about. Instead he left the PWTC with superficial support and delegates went home with some cash and no answers about IMDB, the RM2.6-billion donation, inflation and why prices of houses are so high. Before this, Rakyat found it difficult to make ends meet but now they find it difficult to survive. To make things worse, many have lost their jobs. Before the present crisis, an income of RM3,000 monthly was barely sufficient for a family in Kuala Lumpur. Now even those earning RM5,000 can't survive.
7. He has the audacity to claim that “he made Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad the Prime Minister”. He must be a serial liar. Where was he when team A and B were holding their final campaign on the night before voting in 1987? He disappeared. He was a coward. He run away and hid with his wife somewhere in town, and later claimed credit when Dr Mahathir won.
8. He said he is a gentleman and is magnanimous. He proved it by bringing back Muhyiddin to the Cabinet. Dr Mahathir offered both Tengku Razaleigh and Musa, the rivals he defeated, to come back to the Cabinet. He also brought back Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
9. Mohd Najib is big on promises. Where are the houses he promised the 2014 flood victims? Many of his promises went undelivered. But delegates were not free to raise such touchy issues.
10. Najib wanted members to remain loyal to him and said this was Umno’s tradition. He has very short memory and he thinks he could lie to all party members. During Dato Onn's time, members went against him when they disagreed with him, and being a great man and a true democrat, he left the party. Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra was forced by Tun Abdul Razak’s supporters to retire when the party did badly in the 1969 elections. Abdullah faced same fate after the 2008 GE. Members decide when they want their leaders to quit but in the case of Mohd Najib, though he did worse than Abdullah, he is still around and there can be only one explanation that is cash is king and UMNO members who used to sacrifice their money and jewelry for party now won't support party unless they are rewarded and this can be shown from their audited account.
11. The answer is simple. Mohd Najib would make all kind of excuses and use all political, legislative and executive means to stay in power because he has so many things to hide and so many loopholes to cover. Even for his traditional year-end foreign holiday, he had to hide it from the rakyat.
FOOTNOTE: In a future installment, I hope we will be able to discuss Mohd Najib’s courting of (Datuk Seri) Abdul Hadi Awang, the PAS President.
- A KADIR JASIN
- I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).