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Friday, 30 May 2008

PITA POLITIK (31): WHY THE SARCASM AND NOT STRAIGHT TALK?


Kuala Lumpur's skyline: Aren't we indebted to Tun?
Friday May 30, 2008
Dr M: I’m out, he’s (Ezam) in

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was his usual sarcastic self when commenting on former PKR Youth leader Ezam Mohd Nor rejoining Umno.
“Saya keluar, dia masuk. Baguslah dia sayang Umno (I leave and he is back in. Good that he loves Umno),” he quipped.
The former premier and party president was asked to comment yesterday on Ezam's move to rejoin Umno this week although he had left the party to help set up what was then known as Parti Keadilan.
Ezam, who was once Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s political secretary, followed Anwar out of Umno in 1998 after the former deputy prime minister was sacked. He was also detained under the Internal Security Act for his role in the reformasi movement.
Long queue: Dr Mahathir shaking hands with one of his fans after autographing his book at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre yesterday.
However, Ezam quit Keadilan last year after a fallout with Anwar and an internal power struggle with current PKR vice-president Azmin Ali.
He then set up Gerak, a non-governmental organisation fighting against corruption and upholding judicial independence.
Dr Mahathir was speaking to reporters after autographing 100 copies of his book, Dr Mahathir's Selected Letters to World Leaders. The autograph session was organised in conjunction with the international BookFest@Malaysia 2008 exhibition.
In his posting on his blog yesterday, Dr Mahathir thanked Umno members who asked him to return to the party, but reiterated that Umno was no longer what it used to be.
He claimed he was not treated as an Umno member since Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became the president and that party leaders were also not allowed to meet him or attend his functions.
“Even the Deputy Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) was not allowed to see me until I exposed this. Some Umno leaders even suggested expelling me from the party,” he added.
“The attitude and treatment towards me after I resigned, clearly shows that not only am I not an Umno member, but I am also Umno's enemy. My leaving Umno just 'officiates' my position as a non-member.” (The Star Online, 30 May 2008)

Comment:
Why be antagonistic and sarcastic when we can go for straight talk? For once, why can't we be more down-to-earth way of making people understand without being both antagonistic and sarcastic? There are people who will say "personal differences should not take centre stage and prolong the UMNO crisis. Or shouldn't it be better if anyone who is not an UMNO member would strongly feel that "UMNO" is no more in his vocabulary."

Thursday, 29 May 2008

PITA POLITIK (30): POLITICAL OPPORTUNIST OR JUST BEING PRACTICAL?


Datuk Dr. Tan Kee Kwong: Nothing is impossible in politics, especially one sees opportunity on the grounds as against party loyalty. After all Tan is being practical

Thursday May 29, 2008
Gerakan’s Tan ‘joins’ Pakatan
By DHARMENDER SINGH and CHRISTINA TAN

SHAH ALAM: Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong became the second Gerakan leader to take up a post with an Opposition-led state government.
The Federal Territory Gerakan chief and former Deputy Land and Cooperative Development Minister was named as co-chairman of Selangor's special task force on land issues.
"Gerakan feels I have no value in terms of serving the party and the people"- DATUK DR TAN KEE KWONG
Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the other co-chairman was former Land and Cooperative Development Ministry secretary-general Prof Datuk Dr Nik Mohd Zain Nik Yusof.
The appointment of Dr Tan means he will now be working for the Pakatan Rakyat state government.
Last month, Gerakan deputy secretary-general Lee Kah Choon accepted the Penang government's offer to take up the posts of InvestPenang executive chairman and Penang Development Corporation director. Lee later quit Gerakan.
Khalid said Dr Tan and Prof Dr Nik Mohd Zain would head a six-member task force that would study the management of land in Selangor and related policies, issues and problems before submitting suggestions for improvement.
“We decided to appoint the two men for their vast experience in land management. Dr Tan served as the deputy minister from 1999 to 2004 while Prof Dr Nik Mohd Zain was secretary-general from 1996 to 2002,” he told a press conference after chairing the weekly state executive council meeting here yesterday.
Dr Tan said he would not resign from his Gerakan post after taking up the special task force co-chairman position.
He said news of his appointment was announced at 6pm yesterday, adding that no party official had called him to seek clarification over his decision to work with the Pakatan Rakyat state government.
Dr Tan said Khalid, whom he has known for more than 20 years, contacted him two weeks ago with the offer to head the committee in an area which was vital but also most lacking in terms of efficiency.
“I said yes to the offer because I joined politics to serve the people and country. The post provides me the chance to continue this work while Gerakan feels I have no value in terms of serving the party and the people,” the 61-year-old politician said when contacted last night.
He said he also had a lot of respect for the first-time mentri besar as he had highlighted and worked to solve many of the issues that many before him had failed to address.
The task force would start work in two weeks, Dr Tan said, as the other members had yet to be picked.
It will have three months to submit recommendations to the state government. (The Star Online, 29 May 2008).

Comment:
Friendship brings Tan closer to MB Selangor, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. After all Tan said," “I said yes to the offer because I joined politics to serve the people and country. The post provides me the chance to continue this work while Gerakan feels I have no value in terms of serving the party and the people,” the 61-year-old politician said when contacted last night.

Forget about party loyalty. Tan's action suggests that the blood of frienship is thicker than the blood of politics.He probably might have been singing his way to "this is my way.

PITA POLITIK (29): TUN M. CONTINUES ATTACKING PM


The Pulau Batu Puteh Saga as appeared in the news.

(Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (left) and Tun Mahathir Mohamad.
2008/05/29

Dewan Rakyat: Backbenchers: Dr M making wild accusations against Pak Lah
By : V. Vasudevan, Eileen Ng, R.S. Kamini and Joseph Sipalan

Datuk Idris Haron (left) says it is pointless to talk as Dr Mahathir is no longer prime minister, while Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin says one can never please Dr Mahathir. Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob (right) says government is not afraid of Singapore.

TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad should stop making wild accusations against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, backbenchers said.

They said losing Pedra Branca to Singapore did not mean Malaysia was afraid of the island republic.

They also said defending Abdullah did not mean Umno had stopped championing the cause of the Malays or that Umno members were preoccupied in keeping Abdullah as party president.

Dr Mahathir had, on his return from Japan on Tuesday, accused Abdullah of being ungrateful and of being afraid of Singapore.

Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Idris Haron urged Dr Mahathir to think carefully before attacking the Prime Minister.
"Dr Mahathir is no longer in power. So there is no use talking. Moreover, he is no longer an Umno member."

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said:

"The point is we have better things to do like concentrate on governing this country. You can never please Dr Mahathir. He will say anything. Let it be."

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob declared the government was not afraid of Singapore.

"No matter what Dr Mahathir says, Umno will always champion the Malay cause."

Umno information chief Senator Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib said he did not understand the former prime minister's latest outburst.

Barisan Nasional Backbencher's Club deputy head and Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Moktar Radin blamed Dr Mahathir for causing division in the party and among Malays.

Foreign Minister and Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said Malaysia did not lose Batu Puteh to Singapore because of fear.

Gua Musang Member of Parliament Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said: "We are not scared of Singapore but we should have handled the Batu Putih case better."

Jerlun Member of Parliament Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir was the only dissenting voice.

He said: "We seem to be so accommodating of Singapore... at the expense of our interest. We have to draw the line." (NST Online, 29 May 2008)

Comment:
No comment except the news reminds us of Dato' Musa Hitam's (now Tun) letter of resignation to Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad (now Tun) on 26 February 1986. The letter purpotedly said among others " saya telah menyatakan hasrat
>saya meletak jawatan di dalam percakapan kita pada 27hb. Januari, 1986,
>iaitu sebelum saya bertolak ke Davoz, Switzerland.
>Sekarang, setelah menggunakan waktu cuti saya dengan fikiran yang
>tenang, waras serta penuh keinsafan, saya dengan ini mengambil keputusan
>muktamad meletakkan jawatan saya sebagai Timbalan Perdana Menteri dan semua
>jawatan berkaitan dengannya iaitu termasuk Menteri Dalam Negeri,
>berkuatkuasa daripada 16hb. Mac, 1986. Surat rasmi saya sampaikan
>berasingan.
>Saya menulis surat ini kepada Saudara selaku Presiden UMNO berkaitan
>dengan jawatan saya selaku Timbalan Presiden.
>Berlanjutan daripada perletakan jawatan saya selaku Timbalan Perdana
>Menteri, saya dengan ini juga meletak jawatan saya selaku Timbalan Presiden
>UMNO dan semua jawatan berkaitan dengannya, iaitu berkuatkuasa daripada
>16hb. Mac, 1986.
>Sungguhpun saya tidak menghuraikan sebab-sebab saya meletak
>jawatan-jawatan berkenaan dalam surat rasmi saya kepada Saudara selaku
>Perdana Menteri, saya fikir perlu saya jelaskannya dalam surat saya ini
>kepada Saudara selaku Presiden UMNO.
>Saudara tentu ingat bahawa pada malam sebelum Perhimpunan Agong UMNO
>tahun lalu, Saudara telah membangkitkan soal bagaimana ada di kalangan
>ahli-ahli Majlis Tertinggi yang kesetiaannya kepada Saudara dipersoalkan.
>Bukan itu sahaja, berbagai-bagai cakap negatif dan tohmah telah, dikatakan
>oleh Saudara, dilemparkan ke atas Saudara sendiri. Ini semua, dikatakan oleh
>Saudara, menimbulkan keadaan tidak sihat dan berpotensi perpecahan di
>kalangan Parti kita UMNO sendiri..."
Ironically, the current UMNO crisis saw the former UMNO President, Tun Mahathir resigning from the party and not the former Deputy President (Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi).

There's yet another comment by " Liputan6.com" from Indonesia after Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahad Badawi took over the reign of the country. It said: Suksesi di Malaysia berjalan mulus. Tak ada gejolak. Mahathir Mohammad mundur setelah hampir 22 tahun berkuasa. Ia menyerahkan tampuk kepemimpinan ke pundak Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Kini putra politisi Ahmad Badawi yang biasa disapa Pak Lah resmi menjadi Perdana Menteri Malaysia yang kelima.

Pergeseran kekuasaan di Malaysia terkesan tak banyak cakap. Sebagian kalangan yakin Pak Lah adalah angin segar. Mereka percaya bekas Deputi PM Malaysia ini bisa membawa negerinya lebih demokratis, terbuka, dan menghormati hak asasi manusia. Tapi ada juga yang ragu. Pak Lah dianggap setali tiga uang dengan pendahulunya. Tak ada beda. Otoriter dan sama-sama bertangan besi.

Tak bijak memang menilai kepemimpinan Pak Lah yang masih hitungan hari. Satu yang pasti, ia telah berjanji menjalankan tugas dengan jujur. Juga ia siap mengerahkan segenap kemampuan yang dimilikinya. Nah, ini bisa dijadikan modal. Apalagi track record politisi berusia 63 tahun ini tak bisa dianggap kacangan. Berbagai jabatan strategis di Malaysia pernah mampir di pundaknya. Karier politik ayah dua anak ini dimulai pada 1969. Saat itu, ia ditunjuk menjadi Asisten Sekretaris Majelis Gerakan Negara. Dua tahun Pak Lah memangku jabatan itu.

Suami Datin Seri Endon binti Datuk Mahmud ini kemudian diangkat menjadi Asisten Sekretaris Keamanan Nasional. Bak meteor karirnya terus melesat. Ia memegang jabatan Deputi Sekretaris Jenderal Kementerian Kebudayaan, Pemuda, dan Olahraga pada periode 1974-1978. Lalu, Pak Lah diangkat menjadi Menteri Pendidikan. Dua tahun menjabat, lulusan Universitas Malaya ini dipercaya menjadi Menteri Pertahanan.

Lonjakan drastis dalam karier Pak Lah terjadi pada 1984, manakala dia diangkat menjadi Deputi Organisasi Nasional Melayu Bersatu (UMNO). Selanjutnya selama tujuh tahun, dia dipercaya menjadi Menteri Luar Negeri. Masa keemasan Pak Lah belum berhenti. Pada 1999, dia dipercaya menjadi Menteri Dalam Negeri sekaligus merangkap sebagai Deputi PM menggantikan Anwar Ibrahim yang dianggap terlalu vokal mengkritik kebijakan Mahathir.

Pengangkatan Pak Lah sebagai Deputi PM mengundang banyak tanda tanya. Adalah kalangan oposisi yang paling nyaring bersuara atas pengangkatan Pak Lah menjadi orang nomor dua di Malaysia. Menurut mereka, Pak Lah belum layak menempati posisi paling strategis tersebut--kalau langgeng jadi PM. Tapi Mahathir bergeming. Dr. M--julukan Mahathir--tetap pada pendiriannya.

Pak Lah memang "anak manis" dibanding tiga Deputi PM terdahulu--Musa Hitam (1986), Ghafar Baba (1993) maupun Anwar Ibrahim. Pak Lah lebih banyak diam. Bahkan selama dalam asuhan Dr. M, Pak Lah nyaris tak pernah mengomentari kebijakan sang bos. Dan, itu terbukti berbuah manis, kesabaran Pak Lah mendapat ganjaran setimpal. Kini Pak Lah bebas mengarahkan Semenanjung Malaysia ke arah yang dia suka.

Sekarang tinggal bagaimana Pak Lah memimpin. Di sinilah tantangan sesungguhnya buat pria yang 24 November mendatang merayakan ulang tahun ke-64. Mahathir sudah meletakkan pondasi kokoh. Terutama di bidang perekonomian. Bahkan, tak bisa disangkal, perekonomian Malaysia sekarang jauh lebih kuat dibanding negara-negara di Asia Tenggara setelah dihajar krisis pada 1997/1998. Selama 22 tahun di bawah kepemimpinan Dr. M, Malaysia juga membukukan kemajuan di sektor perbankan. Malaysia juga tercatat sebagai negara yang memiliki infrastruktur paling maju. Pendek kata, Malaysia paling siap menghadapi era globalisasi.

Memang Pak Lah sudah berjanji akan bekerja sebaik-baiknya. Tapi itu belum teruji. Soalnya Malaysia bukan negeri tanpa persoalan. Yang paling nyata adalah masalah investasi asing. Sejak 2001, investasi asing di Negeri Jiran merosot tajam setelah terjadi gelombang pengalihan modal ke Cina dan sejumlah negara tetangga seperti Thailand. Malaysia pun sempat terjangkit defisit anggaran.

Ekses kebijakan Dr. M yang mematok mata uang ringgit pada kisaran 3,80 per dolar Amerika Serikat berpotensi menimbulkan persoalan. Meski tak ada tekanan langsung, kalau dipertahankan dalam jangka waktu panjang, kebijakan ini bisa merusak kepercayaan pasar bebas Malaysia, terutama buat iklim investasi. Masalah besar lain yang menghadang adalah penyakit korupsi, kolusi, dan nepotisme yang kini berjangkit di UMNO. Sistem hubungan yang sudah berurat berakar di partai paling berkuasa di Malaysia itu sering kali melahirkan kontrak-kontrak "gelap" antara pemerintah dan pengusaha tertentu.

Belum lagi soal pemilihan umum Malaysia yang sudah di depan mata. Hubungan luar negeri Malaysia dengan negara-negara Barat dan Israel yang kian "panas". Khusus soal hubungan luar negeri, Pak Lah memang beda dengan Dr. M. yang sering bicara terbuka dan keras, malah cenderung kontroversial. Pak Lah lebih tenang dan hati-hati. Dia juga tak suka menonjolkan diri, diplomatis, dan yang paling penting sangat menjaga tutur katanya. Atas sikapnya ini, beberapa negara dan kelompok oposisi berharap Malaysia bisa menjadi lebih lunak. Tak seperti era Mahathir.

Bukan tak mungkin wajah Malaysia kelak berubah di tangan Pak Lah. Tapi rasa-rasanya kemungkinan kecil. Tengok saja pernyataan Pak Lah sepekan sebelum diangkat menjadi PM. Lelaki kelahiran Penang, 26 November 1939 ini, berjanji tak akan mengadakan perubahan kebijakan secara mendasar. Malah, ia bersumpah akan melanjutkan segala kebijakan negara untuk mencapai Visi 2020. Sinyalemen inilah yang patut dicermati.

Kalau begitu, perubahan total di Malaysia tampaknya masih jauh panggang dari api. Malah ada kemungkinan Pak Lah akan lebih dulu mengamankan posisinya. Membangun koalisi untuk menancapkan jeratnya atas UMNO, partai yang menjadi tonggak utama Barisan Nasional. Terlebih lagi dalam waktu dekat, Pak Lah membutuhkan UMNO untuk memenangkan pemilu.(ICH)

Saturday, 24 May 2008

PITA POLITIK (28): DISAPPEARING ACT OF PEDRA BRANCA


Pulau Batu Puteh in The star, 24 May 2008.

The panel of 16 ICJ judges in session at The Hague, Netherlands to decide who owns Pulau Batu Puteh.


The location of Pulau Batu Puteh off the coast of Johore in relation to The Middle Rocks and the South Ledge.

1953 Johor letter 'hands' island to Singapore
The UN’s highest court, however, gave Malaysia ownership of Middle Rocks, a smaller uninhabited outcropping.

Sovereignty over a third disputed cluster of rocks, South Ledge, is to be determined later by the countries when they sort out their territorial waters.

Malaysia had disputed Singapore’s rule of the 0.8-hectare (about the size of a football field) island listed on most maps as Pedra Branca.

The 16-member court’s final decision, by a 12-4 majority, rested largely on Singapore’s consistent conduct over the last 100 years.

Singapore had argued that it had exercised sovereign powers over the island since the Horsburgh lighthouse opened in 1851, with no protest from Malaysia until 30 years ago.

The ICJ also noted that the strength of Singapore’s claim lay in a letter sent by the state secretary of Johor in 1953 to the Singapore government where he informed that “the Johor government does not claim ownership of Pedra Branca”.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim called it a “win-win” ruling since each side won a partial victory.

“Resolving such disputes through the rule of law,” he said, “will make the world safer.”

He said the two countries would establish a committee to determine ownership of South Ledge, which lies in overlapping territorial waters. (NST Online, 24 May 2008)

Comment:
With a stroke of a pen, Johore handed the sovereignty of Pulau Batu Puteh to Singapore, the undeniable historical fact. However Malaysia does not return from The Hague empty-handed as the Middle Rocks still stands tall and saves Malaysia from further diplomatic embarassment.Now all eyes are on the South Ledge. Will it be Malaysia's or Singapore's? No more diappointment please!

PITA POLITIK (27): THE PULAU BATU PUTEH SAGA


The Star's front page, 24 May 2008.


Pulau Batu Puteh is now Singapore's.Possible reclamation (expansion) north and eastwards?


Middle Rocks remains Malaysia's. Possible reclamation (expansion) east and westwrds?


The map showing the location of Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and the South Ledge. , in relation to Singapore and Johore. Who gets South Ledge?(Source: The Star).


The island republic of Singapore seperated from Malaysia by Selat Tebrau (Johor Strait) has just won sovereignty over Pulau Batu Putih.

PULAU BATU PUTEH DECISION: Legal implications 'to be studied'
However, since the court upheld Malaysia's claim to Middle Rocks, Singapore cannot make any unilateral decision or work to reclaim land around the island republic.

Najib said the decision benefited Malaysia "on balance" as it confirmed the country's ownership of Middle Rocks and the area around it.

The marine feature, which lies south of Pulau Batu Puteh, is also important in determining maritime borders between Malaysia and Singapore.

"As far as Pulau Batu Puteh is concerned, it has always been managed by Singapore."

The committee, he said, would meet and take a few weeks to study the implications of the decision but what was important was that Malaysians accepted it.

"Of course, I do understand the importance and the symbolic nature of Pulau Batu Puteh to Malaysia and to the people of Johor.

"I can understand the disappointment but we must take it in the spirit that it was our decision to take it (the dispute) to the ICJ."

On how he personally felt about the decision, Najib said: "When you go into court you want to win the maximum.

"We did not get all that we wanted. We got some of it. It is a disappointment, but it is something that we have to accept.

"Although we were not successful in the whole claim, at least we defended half of it," Najib added. (NST Online, 24 May 2008)

Comment:

If only we jealously guarded our territorial waters and borders and strictly adhered to the sense of belongings and discarded our "tidak apa" attitude and of "taking things for granted" we would have probably won the case. The problem is we were too relaxed in our pursuit of our sovereignty. Remember what happened to our water negotiation with Singapore the moment the Water Agreement reached its expiry deadline. Did we act to renegotiate prior to the expiry date? Won't we suppose to remind ourselves about the expiry deadline. Who was the Menteri Besar of Johore then? Didn't he have the responsibility to monitor the Agreement in question. As for the Pulau Batu Putih, the least we could do then was to pretend to be active on the island long before Singapore busied itself monitoring the lighthouse.

As ICJ in its report suggested Malaysia was silence when Singapore pursued its case to claim sovereignty. As Malaysians at large sid, "Let this be a lesson to Malaysia and it sounds like sour grapes when someone mentioned that the ICJ verdict was a win-win situation for both Malaysia and Singapore." The people in the street accurately put it: "Singapore got an island, while Malaysia was just happy with a coral ridge."

Friday, 23 May 2008

PITA POLITIK (26): PERSPEKTIF BAHASA KHOO


Profesor Sejarah, Datuk Prof. (Emeritus) Dr. Khoo Kay Kim, ketika ditemu bual di Universiti Malaya, 15 November 2007.

KHOO KAY KIM: TIDAK ADA MASALAH MENGAJR DALAM BAHASA MELAYU?

Sebenarnya, saya mula mengajar dalam bahasa Melayu pada tahun 1965. Pada masa itu saya mengajar hanya kepada penuntut Sekolah Alam Shah yang menggunakan bahasa Melayu di peringkat universiti. Jadi,tak ada masalah. Tapi pada tahun 1970-1971 apabila universiti mula menerima penuntut daripada aliran Melayu saya menghadapi masalah kerana apabila saya mula memberi kuliah dalam bahasa Melayu, kebanyakan penuntut bukan Melayu tak faham. Maka buat sementara, universiti membuat keputusan supaya pensyarah macam saya memberi kuliah dalam bahasa Melayu. Pada masa yang sama saya membut terjemahan dalam bahasa Inggeris. Keadaan itu tak lama. Saya rasa tak sampai dua tahun.

Kemudian satu keputusan dibuat, iaitu kita tidk lagi membuat apa yang disebut sebagai ‘conqueror vandalism’. Kita terus mengajar dalam bahasa Melayu. Semua penuntut pun beransur-ansur menyesuaikan diri. Kita dapati penuntut bukan Melayu semakin mahir berbahasa Melayu. Maka kita tidak menghadap sebarang masalah, kecuali sesetengah pensyarah memang tak biasa menggunakan bahasa Melayu. Maka, pada peringkat awal itu, bermacam-macam kesilapan mereka buat semasa memberi kuliah. Maka di sini yang penting ialah kita perlu memperkenalkan sesuatu perubahan itu dengan beransur-ansur. Dalam masa dua tahun semua pelajar telah menggunakan bahasa Melayu.

Apakah yang menyebabkan mereka begitu cepat menguasai dan mengadaptasi kepada bahasa Melayu? Sebabnya, pertama, mereka (penuntut) tahu pada masa itu, ada pensyarah yang boleh menolong mereka kalau mereka menghadapi masalah. Kedua, walaupun kuliah diberi dalam bahasa Melayu, buku yang mereka gunakan untuk rujukan adalah dalam bahasa Inggeris. Dengan demkian keadaan menjadi seimbang. Malah bukankah ada kelebihan untuk penuntut yang menggunakan bahasa Melayu kerana mereka kena membaca dalam bahasa Inggeris. Jadi seimbanglah. (Petikan hasil temu bual dengan Datuk Khoo Kay Kim di Universiti Malaya, 15 November 2007.)

Komen:
Alangkah moleknya jika pengakuan seorang profeor sejarah seperti Datuk Prof. (Emeritus) Dr. Khoo Kay Kim ini dapat dijadikan pedoman setiap kali kita memikirkan tentang kedudukan bahasa Melayu sesuai dengan statusnya dalm Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Jika pedoman ini dipegang besar kemungkinan tidak perlu diadakan persidangan Majlis Permuafakatan Melayu di Persada Johor Bahru, 2 - 4 Mei 2008 yang lalu, atau persidangan yang serupa yang diadakan di PWTC, Kuala Lumpur sebelumnya.

Seperti komen seorang peserta majlis, "Kita mesti ingat ini adalah kehendak majoriti akar umbi. Janganlah sekali-kali menidakkan kehendak mereka. Mereka hanya mahu kerajaan terutamanya yang dipimpin oleh UMNO mengamalkan apa yang termaktub dalam Perlembagaan. Kalau kita dah sesat eloklah balik ke pangkal jalan. Bak kata orang tua-tua. Itu pun kalau kita tidak mahu sesat berterusan. Atau kita sengaja menyesatkan diri."

Thursday, 22 May 2008

PITA POLITIK (25): EZAM MOHD. NOR A NEW UMNO SENATOR?!


(Ezam Mohd. Nor (seated, left) applying to rejoin UMNO. On the rght is UMNO President, Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Thursday May 22, 2008
Ezam to rejoin Umno


Exclusive: By JOCELINE TAN
newsdesk@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: Former PKR Youth leader Ezam Mohd Nor will be rejoining Umno after receiving the green light from the top Umno leadership.

He will also cease to head the anti-corruption NGO, Gerak, from June 1 in preparation for his return to Umno. Mohd Nazree Yunus has been named to take over as chairman of Gerak.

Sources said he has met both the Umno president as well as deputy president for discussions in connection with his move.

His return to Umno is expected to be announced soon and will be seen as a blow to PKR.

Ezam, 40, was a rising star in Umno when he chose to follow Datuk Seri Anwar Irahim out of Umno after the latter’s sacking in 1998.

He was then Anwar’s political secretary and had also gone to jail under the ISA and OSA.

He resigned from PKR last year after an internal power struggle with PKR vice-president Azmin Ali. At the time of his resignation, he criticised Anwar for his “dictatorial politics” and accused Azmin of being “a schemer who dominates Anwar.”

Ezam has since concentrated on Gerak which is aimed at promoting a corruption-free culture, free media and independent judiciary.

There is some speculation about his future role in Umno including the possibility of appointing him a Senator. But the source said that he was content to be an ordinary member for a start.

Sources said the timing for his rejoining Umno could not be better given the Government’s initiative to strengthen judicial independence and the anti-corruption legislation. (Excerpt from The Star Online, 22 May 2008.)

Comment:

Aftar much speculation after Ezam quit PKR the past few years, there were hints that he would return to the UMNO fold. That being said, it is a matter of time Ezam will anounce his return and soon after receiving a green light from the UMNO Supreme Council, which happened to convene last night. His return to the familiar political environment would spark beyond doubt greater interest among UMNO members at large consiering it would be a gift to UMNO especially during this troubled time. Anybody in the party predicts Ezam is more than welcome in the party and the likelihood of him being appointed as a Senator is high.His recent activities promoting an anti-corruption culture, free media and independent judiciary come at an opportuned time when the same kind of promotions are being pursued vigorously by the present Administration.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

PITA POLITIK (24): PENYAKIT UMNO KETIKA BERUSIA 56 TAHUN

PROGRAM BICARA INSAN PEJUANG BANGSA MELAYU, ANJURAN KERAJAAN NEGERI JOHOR DAN DISELENGGARAKAN OLEH PEJABAT KETUA PENERANGAN DAN PENYELIDIKAN KERAJAAN NEGERI JOHOR, DI HOTEL PUTERI PAN PACIFIC, JOHOR BAHRU, 10 FEBRUARI 2002.

Mei depan usia UMNO genap 56 tahun. Kalaulah UMNO seorang insan yang bekerja dengan kerajaan maka ini bermakna dia telah masuk usia bersara (mengikut peraturan persaraan baru) dan secara automatik menganggotai Senior Citizen's Club. Kemudahan yang diperoleh selain wang pencen dan rawatan percuma ialah naik keretapi dengan tiket diskaun 50% dan naik pesawat MAS domestik juga dengan tiket diskaun 50%

Dalam pada itu insan yang seusia itu ada pula yang mula sakit-sakitan. Ada yang menghidap penyakit barah, sakit buah pinggang, sakit darah tinggi dan kencing manis dan bermacam-macam lagi. Seolah-olah penyakit itu datang bersama usia pencen. Yang mujur dapat bertahan hingga ke usia 70an dan 80an dan yang kurang mujur wallah-u-aklam! Itupun kerana yang bertahan itu mengamalkan makan sihat dan bersenam joging dan berolahraga barangkali . Kalau tidak sakit sengal, ada sahaja penyakit yang mula berjinak-jinak dengannya.

Demikian pulalah halnya dengan UMNO yang masuk usia persaraan ini. Ada semacam penyakit yang telah berakar umbi sehingga mula menjadi barah yang kronik. Penyakit barah itu ialah amalan politik wang, penyakit yang paling dominan ketika ini. Keputusan Lembaga Disiplin parti yang dipengerusikan Tan Sri Tengku Ahmad Rithahudeen dan dianggap doktor mengubat penyakit tahun lalu memecat beberapa ketua bahagian UMNO dan mengambil tindakan disiplin terhadap ramai yang lain seperti mengakui wujudnya penyakit ini dalam UMNO.

Keputusan Lembaga Disiplin juga menimbulkan perbincangan hangat di kalangan bukan sahaja ahli parti tetapi juga orang ramai. Malah sewaktu taklimat tertutup Presiden Parti, Dato' Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad kepada kira-kira 800 anggota perwakilan tentang isu politik wang dan pemecatan beberapa ketua bahagian tahun lalu mempunyai kesan penting. Ahli-ahli UMNO, khususnya dan orang Melayu umumnya, tidak sukar meneka apa yang dibincangkan presiden parti. Taklimat itu adalah lanjutan daripada siri rayuannya kepada semua ahli UMNO agar "mereka menjauhkan diri daripada politik wang."

Bukan tidak mungkin presiden mahu menyampaikan mesej bahawa gejala "kotor" ini harus dipertanggungjawabkan "kepada semua anggota UMNO, tidak terkecuali ahli perwakilan yang memilih pemimpin UMNO, baik di peringkat cawangan, bahagian mahupun di peringkat pusat.” Contohnya yang memilih anggota Majlis tertinggi adalah anggota perwakilan. Jadi jika ada ahli majlis tertinggi dituduh main politik wang maka yang yurut sama dipersalahkan ialah anggota perwakilan kerana mereka yang memilih. Begitu juga halnya dengan suasana dalam mesyuarat bahagian. Yang memilih ketua bahagian dan ahli-ahli jawatankuasanya ialah ahli-ahli UMNO peringkat bahagian. Jadi mahu disalahkan siapa jika ada ketua bahagian didapati bersalah mengamalkan politik wang untuk menang.

Lalu timbul pula desakan Ketua Pemuda UMNO, Datuk Hishamuddin Tun Hussein supaya UMNO turut mendakwa ahli yang menerima wang daripada mereka yang telah didapti bersalah mengamalkan politik wang. Desakan Hisahamuddin ini menarik kerana implikasinya jika UMNO melaksanakannya. Contohnya ada beberapa bahagian yang ketuanya telah dilucutkan jawatan kerana bersalah mengamalkan politik wang. UMNO boleh mendapatkan kerjasama ketua bahagian yang dipecat supaya menamakan anggota-anggota yang telah menerima sogokan daripadanya.

Jika desakan Ketua Pemuda Pemuda UMNO ini diambil kira, maka masalah penyakit ini akan menjadi bertambah mudah untuk diselesaikan. Yang dipecat dapat menunjuk orang-orang yang menerima wang daripadanya. Ini memerlukan keberanian dan komitmen serta iltizam daripada pihak yang dipecat, dan lebih penting yang dipecat itu masih sayangkan UMNO." Soalnya ialah apakah ada yang sanggup mendedahkan nama-nama orang yang menerima wang.

Lembaga Disiplin tahun lalu juga membuat keputusan yang berbeza-beza sehingga menimbulkan keresahan di kalangan ahli UMNO, Sebabnya tidak banyak maklumat diperoleh mengapa timbulnya keputusan yang berbeza-beza itu. Misalnya, Naib Presiden Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak semasa mengulas keputusan yang berbeza-beza itu mencadangkan agar Lembaga Disiplin memberikan penjelasan supaya tidak timbuul sebarang salah sangka. Umumnya reaksi daripada pelbagai kalangan dan tingkat heirarki UMNO menunjukkan wujudnya suasana yang kurang "aman" dalam UMNO. Malah bagi yang kononya menjadi "mangsa" tindakan Lembaga Disiplin, ada yang berura-ura membawa kesnya ke mahkamah, dan ada pula yang menuduh Lembaga tidak adil dan membuat keputusan yang "aneh".

Inilah skenario politik UMNO pada perhimpunan ke 55nya tahun lalu. Dan kemungkinan besar dalam perhimpunan tahun ini isu yang serupa akan timbul lagi. Skenario ini saling tak tumpah tumpah seperti seorang insan berpenyakit yang menyambut uisa bersaranya. Jika sudah demikian masalahnya maka yang perlu ditanyakan sekarang ialah bagaimana dia dapat memanfaatkan usia bersaranya yang dalam keadaan berpenyakit itu itu dalam keadaan berpenyakit. Dan UMNO, bagaikan insan berpenyakit itu perlu memikirkan cara terbaik memanfaatkan usia persaraannya. Namun dalam hal ini parti politik bukan manusia dan usia tidak semestinya menjadi penghalang untuk terus maju dan berkembang. Demikian pula UMNO, yang menjadi parti tunggak perjuangan orang Melayu. Tidak semestinya pada usia 56 tahun UMNO perlu pasrah kepada keadaan. Penyakit apapun dalam tubuh badan UMNO perlu diubati sampai sembuh. Walaupun ada kalanya ia harus menelan pil pahit.

Taklimat khas presiden tahun lalu itu boleh dijadikan titik mula untuk mengubati penyakit politik wang dalam tubuh parti. Ia boleh memberi kesedaran kepada semua anggota parti dan tentang bahayanya jika penyakit barah (politik wang) ini jika tidak dibendung. Namun ada pula yang mempersoalkan apakah kesedaran itu sudah terlalu belum terlambat kerana pelbagai reaksi yang wujud selepas tindakan Lembaga Disiplin seperti menambah runcing masalah perpaduan dalam parti. Saya tanyakan ini kerana ketua bahagian yang dipecat contohnya mempunyai penyokong-penyokongnya sendiri. Dia juga adalah orang paling berpengaruh di bahagian. Apakah tidak mungkin yang dipecat itu akan menggunakan segala cara dan tindakan demi memastikan “kerjaya piolitiknya dalam UMNO” terus bertahan. Tidak kiralah sama ada tindakan yang bakal dilakakannya akan menjejaskan perpaduan parti.

Sebagai contoh, kita lihat perkembangan di Baling yang memaksa campur tangan Menteri Besar Kedah. Masihkah kita ingat ada beberapa cawangan di bahagian itu enggan bekerjasama dengan pengganti ketua bahagian yang dipecat. Di Bahagian Muar kes pemecatan kerana politik wang ini menjadi bertambah unik. Setelah Ketua Bahagiannya dipecat, calon yang kalah diangkat menjadi pengganti dan kemudian dia juga turut menjadi mangsa pemecatan. Maka diangkat pula Timbalannya menjadi ketua. Apakah tikdak mungkin nanti ada orang mendakwa Timbalan juga mengamalkan politik wang sehingga Lembaga Disiplin bertindak ke atasnya pula. Maka cerita dakwaan dan pemecatan ini akan berterusan, tanpa diketahui bila ia akan berakhir.

Dalam hal ini timbul pertanyaan. Mana ada negara dalam dunia ini yang orang politiknya tidak mengamalkan politik wang. Ia sudah menjadi tradisi, sudah mendarah daging. Di Amerika hanya yang kaya dapat berkuasa kerana mereka gunakan wang untuk mencari kuasa. Lagipun takkanlah nak jadi pemimpin cukup dengan gusi dan lidah sahaja. Dalam pemilihan Majlis Tertinggi UMNO yang terakhir, sesetengah calon yang ingin merebut tempat dalam Majlis Tertinggi terpaksa akur dengan wujudnya amalan buruk ini. Calon-calon ini tidak berdaya menentang kekuatan tradisi ini. Baginya "Bagi salah, tak bagi kalah." Akhirnya ramai yang kecundang, walaupun ada yang ketika penamaan calon dianggap popular dan favourite.

Secara tersirat pertanyaan di atas seperti menjawab sendiri bahawa UMNO tidak dapat mengelak daripada ahli-ahlinya mengamalkan politik wang. Sebabnya, membersihkan parti daripada amalan ini bermakna pemimpin parti akan berdepan dengan susana gawat yang lebih kronik. Apakah tidak mungkin nanti UMNO kehilangan banyak ahli dan pengaruh? Apakah tidak mungkin nanti apa yang berlaku kepada penyokong bekas Timbalan Presiden Datuk Seri Anuar Ibrahim akan berlaku pula kepada semua ketua bahagian dan ahli majlis tertinggi yang dipecat kerana kesalahan demikian? Tidak mustahil keadaan begini ditunggu-tunggu oleh parti lawan untuk sekali lagi "menangguk di air keruh".

Malah sudah ada cakap-cakap di kalangan ahli politik UMNO bahawa motif pertemuan Presiden PAS, Datuk Fadzil Nor bersama dua orang pemimpin PAS yang lain dengan Menteri Luar Australia tahun lalu itu dikaitkan dengan keadaan UMNO sekarang. Jika UMNO lemah kerana faktor dalaman maka PAS menjadi semakin kuat dan berusaha menampilkan diri sebagai parti Melayu terkuat untuk menggantikan UMNO.



09 Februari 2002

PITA POLITIK (23): "THIS DURI DALAM DAGING" BUSINESS

Wednesday May 21, 2008
Expert: Dr Mahathir’s decision will hasten rise of Anwar


THE decision by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to quit Umno will catalyse the rise of PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, reported China Press.

Current affairs commentator Datuk Dr Cheah See Kian was quoted by the daily as saying that the current political scenario could pave the way for Anwar to become the next prime minister.

He believed the current “battle” between Dr Mahathir and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would certainly cause dissatisfaction among Umno leaders and members.

As such, he foresees some of them jumping ship and collaborating with Anwar, which would ultimately lead to Anwar regaining political power.

Dr Cheah said Dr Mahathir was keen to see a “reshuffle” within Umno.

He added that Dr Mahathir was hopeful that his “preferences” would move up the ranks.

Dr Cheah believed that Dr Mahathir would not like to see his nemesis Anwar rise and gain control, but at the same time, he also did not like Abdullah to be at the helm.(Excerpt from The Star Online, 21 May 2008)

Comment:
Some analysts say Tun Mahathir is very domineering. He will get what he wants no matter what. And by quitting the party he wants to show the world he means business. He does not care what people say about him, such as playing "sandiwara" or whatever. He wants the current PM out. He wants someone else to take over the UMNO leadership. Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak? He has second thought about him. Tengku Razaleigh or Tan Sri Muhyiddin? He has not said a word. Probably he has someone in mind. Nobody knows who.

Tun was the fourth UMNO president who quit the party after Dato' Onn, Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Hussein Onn. Almost all quit for personal reasons, whatever reason that might be. In her comment, Dato Seri Rafidah Aziz, The Wanita UMNO Chief said that by qitting the party Tun was being disloyal to UMNO. On the other hand, Dato' Seri Dr. Rais Yatim said the "duri dalam daging" was already out. Some analysts were not sure what Dr. Rais meant by that. If indeed it means that the thorn was already removed from the flesh, then UMNO in the hands of the present leadership would have had a smooth running on its way to recovery since here would be no more stumbling block along the way.

"Not so fast", said one UMNO veteran in Malacca. "Even though Tun's son Dato' Mokhzani has followed his dad, UMNO still has another "duri dalam daging". Remember Dato' Mukhriz, Tun's younger son who was still loyal to UMNO and majority beleives that he is now replacing his father as what Dr. Rais said the "duri dalam daging".
As for experts saying that Tun's decision would hasten Anwar's rise, this UMNO veteran was not convinced. He referred to the Selangor government's failure to act on PKR simple manifesto. Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Mohd. Khalid Ibrahim said the gvernment had insufficient budget to implement some of those promised in the manifesto, like students scholarship and tax reduction except for, of course, "you know what".

Monday, 19 May 2008

PITA POLITIK (22): MAHATHIR URGES MEMBERS TO QUIT UMNO


Some who attended the Majlis Permuafakatan Melayu in Johor Bahru, 4 May 2008.
ALOR STAR: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and veteran party man Tan Sri Sanusi Junid announced Monday that they are quitting Umno.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced this on Monday at 12.35pm, citing a lack of confidence in the current leadership.

"I am quitting Umno today," he told about 1,000 people, mostly Kedah Umno members, at a talk here on Monday.

"I will write a letter to Umno headquarters to inform that I have quit the party," he said.

He has been critical of his appointed successor Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, blaming the current Umno president for the party's disappointing performance in the 12th general election.

The ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, of which Umno is the largest component party, won the March 8 election with a simple majority, and saw four more states join Kelantan under Opposition rule.

Dr Mahathir urged other party members to quit too, as a way of pressuring Abdullah into vacating his post.

However, he advised those who do quit not to join any opposition party, adding they can all rejoin the party once there is a change in leadership.

Abdullah has so far refused all calls for him to step down, and said he would defend his presidency in the party polls in December.

Sanusi, who is a former Kedah Mentri Besar, also quit the party on Monday. (The Star Online, 19 May 2008)

Comment:
It will be quite interesting to hear what the 2000 participants who attended the Majlis Permuafakatan Melayu in Johor Bahru on 4 May 2008 would say now that Tun Mahathir had quit UMNO. Tun was indirectly blamed for the use of English in Science and Mathematic in primary schools. And will the current administration reverts to the old system of reusing Malay as the language of instruction for these two subjects? As former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Musa Hitam said, " the duri dalam daging" has already come out.

Again isn't it ironic when Deputy Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak reiterates in Egypt today that the Malay language is already enshrined in the Constitution. Nobody should doubt its importance to the nation. So why then, are we still not using the Malay language in the two subjects? Dr. Chandra Muzaffar said in a recent interview, "There are other effective ways to make students more proficient in English."

As one veteran UMNO member in KL said,"Time will tell if Tun has made a right decision to quit UMNO. After all, he is not the first UMNO President who has quit the party. He is the fourth on the list."

Friday, 16 May 2008

PITA POLITIK (21): UMNO DI USIA BERSARA?

Setelah lebih empat tahun, kita melihat kedudukan UMNO sebagai parti politik terbesar di Malaysia semakin tergugat. Pilihanraya Umum baru lalu UMNO bersama-sama rakan sebarisan kalah teruk. Malah ia tidak mampu mempertahankan dua pertiga kerusi di Parlimen, kali kedua selepas Pilihanraya Umum 1969.

Kini Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi seperti telah diberi "kata dua" oleh UMNO sendiri untuk menyerahkan kuasa kepada tokoh lain dalam UMNO. Tokoh yang memberi "kata dua' ini ialah bekas PM, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Ada pula tokoh yang mahu jawatan Presiden UMNO dipertandingkan. Maka kita pun dengar nama besar seperti Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah dan Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin mencadangkan supaya UMNO tidak perlu lagi mengikut kuota pencalonan dalam pemilihan UMNO akhir tahun ini nanti.

Di luar BN dan UMNO ada pula Pakatan Rakyat yang dipimpin penasihat Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim yang berusaha memujuk beberapa ahli Parlimen, terutama dari Sabah untuk keluar UMNO dan memasuki Pakatan. Jika ini dapat diusahakan Pakatan akan dapat menumbangkan kerajaan yang sedia ada dan berjaya membentuk kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat. Cuma yang akan menjadi masalah nanti ialah kemungkinan cita-cita Pakatan ini tidak akan kesampaian sekiranya kerajaan BN sekarang yang kekurangan majoriti di Parlimen, jika wujud nanti akan menggunakan peruntukan dalam Perlembagaan bagi menyekat penubuhan kerajaan baru oleh Pakatan. Kerajaan boleh dibubarkan jika parti yang memerintah kehilangan majoriti.

Bagaimanapun kita tunggulah apa yang akan berlaku menjelang 16 September 2008, tarikh yang dikatakan peralihan kuasa akan berlaku. Harapan Anwar dan orang yang mahu Pak Lah berundur meletakkan 16 September sebagai tarikh sakral, sekadar meminjam perkataan Prof. Madya Datuk Zainal Borhan.

Ikutilah artikel UMNO Di Usia Persaraan di bawah ini yang ditulis pada 1 Disember 2003:


UMNO Di Usia Bersara??
Oleh A.F.Yassin

Kain rentang dipasang di beberapa tempat di Pasir Mas, Kelantan oleh penyokong Dato’Ibrahim Ali. Mesej yang ingin disampaikan melalui kain rentang itu ialah Ibrahim tidak patut digugurkan sebagai ketua penaja bahagian UMNO Pasir Mas. Ibrahim salah seorang daripada empat ketua bahagian UMNO di Kelantan yang digugurkan, memberi laluan kepada muka baru. Ketua penaja bahagian UMNO Pasir Mas ialah Abdul Rahim Rahman dari Rahim & Co.

Pengerusi Perhubungan UMNO Negeri Kelantan, Dato’ pasti mempnyai rasionale untuk menggugurkan Ibrahim dan kawan-kawan. Katanya, “Semua peringkat perlu melihat perubahan itu secara positif dengan memberi tumpuan sepenuhnya kepada usaha serta persiapan parti untuk menghadapi pilihan raya.” Ertinya UMNO Kelantan membuat perubahan sedikit drastik berbanding negeri-negeri lain ketika melantik ketua penaja di semua bahagian. Perubahan ini mensasarkan satu matlamat penting: Menawan semula Kelantan.

Pemerhati politik yakin perubahan yang berlaku di Kelantan itu merupakan permulaan daripada beberapa siri perubahan yang berlaku dalam tubuh badan UMNO dari masa ke masa. Diperkirakan perubahan itu selari dengan peralihan pucuk pimpinan, iaitu jawatan presiden parti dari Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad kepada Dato’Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Mahathir pada 30 Oktober lalu menyerahkan tampuk kuasa kerajaan kepada Abdullah, sekaligus dengan tampuk kuasa parti yang memerintah. Walapupun hanya sebagai pemangku presiden dalam parti, namun Abdullah memiliki kuasa yang penuh untuk mengemudi perjalanan parti menurut “acuan dan gaya”nya tersendiri.

Dalam kota fikir Abdullah tidak ada agenda yang lebih mendesak daripada membersihkan UMNO daripada segala bentuk kelemahan dan “penyelewengan”. Tidak terkecuali politik wang yang dua tahun lalu dibincangkan secara meluas oleh pemimpin UMNO. Abdullah dianggap “Mr nice guy”. Dan sebagai pemimpin yang dianggap bersih, sudah menjadi satu tanggungjawab untuk “membersihkan” parti daripada politik wang.

Abdullah barangkali masih ingat perbincangan hangat yang diadakan menjelang Perhimpunan Agung UMNO Jun 2001 yang lalu. Ketika itu genaplah usia UMNO 55 tahun. Kalaulah UMNO seorang insan yang bekerja dengan kerajaan maka ia bermakna telah masuk usia bersara dan secara automatik menganggotai warga berusia emas (Senior Citizen's Club). Biasanya, pada usia begitu, badan sudah mula sakit-sakitan. Tanda-tanda penyakit muncul dan dikesan. Ada yang mula menghidap penyakit barah, sakit buah pinggang, sakit darah tinggi dan kencing manis. Seolah-olah penyakit itu datang bersama usia pencen. Yang mujur dapat bertahan hingga ke usia 70an dan 80an. Itupun kerana yang bertahan itu mengamalkan makan sihat dan olahraga. Kalau tidak sakit sengal, dan segala macam penyakit telah pun berjinak-jinak dengan badan pesakit.

Demikian pulalah halnya dengan UMNO ketika itu yang masuk usia 55 tahun. Ada penyakit yang telah berakar umbi sehingga menjadi barah yang kronik. Penyakit barah itu ialah amalan politik wang, dan dipercayai penyakit itu paling dominan semakin usia UMNO meningkat. Keputusan Lembaga Disiplin parti yang dipengerusikan Tan Sri Tengku Ahmad Rithahudeen pada tahun itu membuat keputusan memecat beberapa ketua bahagian UMNO dan mengambil tindakan disiplin terhadap ramai yang lain. Keputusan Lembaga ini seperti mengakui wujudnya penyakit barah dalam UMNO.

Keputusan Lembaga Disiplin juga menimbulkan perbincangan hangat sepanjang perhimpunan Jun 2001 itu. Malah sewaktu taklimat tertutp Selasa lalu oleh Presiden Parti, Dato' Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad kepada kira-kira 800 anggota perwakilan isu politik wang dan pemecatan beberapa ketua bahagian menjadi tema penting taklimat. Para pemerhati politik, khususnya parti UMNO, tidak sukar meneka apa yang ditaklimatkan presiden parti. Taklimat itu barangkali adalah lanjutan daripada rayuannya kepada perwakilan pada mesyuarat perwakilan tahun lalu agar "ahli parti menjauhkan diri daripada politik wang."

Bukan tidak mungkin presiden berkata bahawa gejala "kotor" ini harus dipertanggungjawabkan "kepada semua anggota perwakilan yang, terutama mereka yang memilih orang-orang yang dipertanggung jawabkkan memimpin UMNO. Yang memilih ahli Majlis tertinggi adalah anggota perwakilan. Jadi jika ada ahli Majlis Tertinggi dituduh main politik wang maka yang perlu dipersalahkan ialah anggota perwakilan kerana mereka yang memilih. Begitu juga halnya dengan suasana dalam mesyuarat bahagian. Yang memilih ketua bahagian dan ahli-ahli jawatankuasanya ialah ahli-ahli UMNO peringkat bahagian. Jadi mahu disalahkan siapa jika ada ketua bahagian didapati bersalah mengamalkan politik wang untuk menang.

Para pemerhati politik masih ingat desakan Ketua Pemuda UMNO, Datuk Hishamuddin Tun Hussein supaya UMNO turut mendakwa ahli yang menerima wang daripada mereka yang telah didapti bersalah mengamalkan politik wang. Desakan Hisahamuddin ini menarik kerana implikasinya jika UMNO melaksanakannya. Contohnya ada beberapa bahagian yang ketuanya telah dilucutkan jawatan kerana bersalah mengamalkan politik wang. UMNO boleh mendapatkan kerjasama ketua bahagian yang dipecat supaya menamakan anggota-anggota yang telah menerima sogokan daripadanya.

Seorang pemerhati politik berkata, "Masalah akan jadi tambah mudah jika yang dipecat dapat menunjuk orang-orang yang menerima wang daripadanya. Tetapi ia memerlukan keberanian dari pihak yang dipecat. Dan yang lebih penting jika yang dipecat masih sayangkan UMNO." Soalnya ialah siapakah yang sanggup mendedahkan nama-nama orang yang menerima wang sogokan.

Kemudian tindakan Keputusan Lembaga Disiplin juga membuat keputusan yang berbeza-beza menimbulkan keresahan di kalangan ahli. Sebabnya Lembaga Disiplin tidak membuat penjelasan terperinci kenapa keputusan harus berbeza. Naib Presiden Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak pernah mencadangkan agar Lembaga Disiplin memberikan penjelasan untuk tidak menimbulkan sebarang salah sangka.

Umumnya reaksi daripada pelbagai kalangan dan tingkat heirarki UMNO menunjukkan wujudnya suasana yang kurang "aman" dalam UMNO. Malah bagi yang kononya menjadi "mangsa" tindakan Lembaga Disiplin, ada yang berura-ura membawa kesnya ke mahkamah, dan ada pula yang menuduh Lembaga tidak adil dan membuat keputusan yang bagi mereka amat "aneh".

Inilah skenario politik UMNO pada perhimpunan ke 55 dua tahun lalu. Satu skenario yang saling tak tumpah seperti seorang insan berpenyakit yang menyambut uisa pesaraannya. Maka menjadi satu agenda penting bagi Abdullah sebagai pemangku presiden mencari jalan bagaimana UMNO dapat memanfaatkan usia emasnya untuk menjadi “lebih gagah, lebih relevan dan lebih matang” meneruskan agenda politik, sesuai dengan tuntutan masa. Dan apapun penyakit yang dihidapi, jika ada, sepatutnya disembuhkan, walaupun ia dikehendaki menelan pil pahit.

Taklimat Mahathir kepada anggota perwakilan menjelang perhimpunan dua tahun lalu itu disifatkan sebagai titik kesedaran kepada semua wakil betapa bahayanya jika penyakit politik wang tidak dibendung. Namun ada pula yang mempersoalkan apakah taklimat itu mujarab kerana tindakan Lembaga Disiplin parti menimbulkan pelbagai reaksi. Contohnya, bukan tidak mungkin ada keinginan di kalangan ketua bahagian yang dipecat itu akan membawa masalahnya ke mahkamah. Mereka ada pengaruh di kalangan akar umbi dan pemecatan mereka secara tidak langsung boleh menggugat perpaduan parti.

Beberapa peristiwa buruk berlaku selepas itu. Di Baling, Menteri Besar Kedah terpaksa campur tangan apabila ada cawangan-cawangan di bahagian itu enggan bekerjasama dengan pengganti ketua bahagian yang dipecat. Di Muar kes pemecatan menjadi tambah unik. Setelah ketua bahagiannya dipecat, calon yang kalah dalam pemilihan sebelumnya diangkat menjadi ketua bahagian. Tetapi calon ini juga turut menjadi mangsa pemecatan. Maka diangkat pula timbalannya menjasi ketua. Maka timbul persoalan. Apakah tidak mungkin nanti ada orang mendakwa timbalan ketua ini juga mengamalkan politik wang sehingga Lembaga Disiplin bertindak ke atasnya pula. Maka cerita dakwaan dan pemecatan ini akan berterusan, tanpa diketahui kesudahannya.

Dalam hal ini pertanyaan seorang pemerhati poilitik dari Johor agak menarik. "Mana ada negara dalam dunia ini yang orang politiknya tidak mengamalkan politik wang. Ia sudah menjadi tradisi, sudah mendarah daging. Di Amerika hanya yang kaya dapat berkuasa kerana mereka gunakan wang untuk mencari kuasa. Lagipun takkanlah nak jadi pemimpin cukup dengan gusi dan lidah sahaja." Dalam pemilihan UMNO yang terakhir, ada seorang calon naib presiden terpaksa akur dengan wujudnya amalan buruk ini. Calon berkenaan tidak berdaya menentang kekuatan tradisi itu sehingga calon ini dilaporkan berkata, "Bagi salah, tak bagi kalah." Akhirnya calon berkenaan kecundang, walaupun beliau dianggap calon favourite menjelang pemilihan.

Secara tersirat pertanyaan pemerhati politik itu menunjukkan bahawa UMNO tidak dapat mengelak daripada ahli-ahlinya mengamalkan politik wang. Sebabnya, membersihkan parti daripada amalan ini bermakna pemimpin parti akan berdepan dengan susana gawat yang lebih kronik. Apakah tidak mungkin nanti UMNO kehilangan banyak ahli dan pengaruh? Apakah tidak mungkin nanti apa yang berlaku kepada penyokong bekas Timbalan Presiden Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim akan berlaku pula kepada semua ketua bahagian dan ahli majlis tertinggi yang dipecat kerana kesalahan demikian? Tidak mustahil inilah yang ditunggu oleh parti lawan UMNO untuk "menangguk di air keruh".

Malah ketika Presiden PAS, Dato’ Fadzil Nor bersama dua pemimpin lain bertemu dengan Menteri Luar Australia, Alexander Downer, sejurus selepas perhimpunan Agung UMNO tahun 2001 dahulu, ada di kalangan ahli UMNO yang mengaitkannya dengan suasana dalam UMNO sekarang ini. Jika UMNO lemah kerana faktor dalaman maka PAS menjadi semakin kuat dan berusaha menampilkan diri sebagai parti Melayu terkuat untuk menggantikan UMNO.

"Kalau pun UMNO tidak lagi berpengaruh sebagai parti Melayu tunggal yang terkuat, ia bukan disebabkan oleh kekuatan parti lawan, tetapi disebabkan kelemahan UMNO akibat perpecahan di kalangan ahli-ahlinya sendiri," kata seorang veteran UMNO. "Semua anggota UMNO bertanggungjawab memelihara perpaduan parti. Ia bukan hanya tugas seorang presiden parti. Dan dalam kes amalan politik wang siapakah ahli-ahli UMNO yang benar-benar mahu bertanggungjawab membenterasnya. Siapakah yang sanggup bertanya diri sendiri secara jujur apa tujuan dia masuk UMNO?" Menurutnya, jika ada ahli UMNO yang jujur menjawab pertanyaan itu maka UMNO akan terus hidup seribu tahun lagi. Dan usia 57 tahun hanya akan dianggap sebagai tempoh mukadimmah dalam pembentukan dan kelangsungan hidup UMNO.

Inilah diperkirakan menjadi agenda utama Abdullah dalam parti. Dalam usia 60 hari beliau memegang tampuk pemerintahan, beliau telah memperlihatkan kematangannya mentadbir. Karenah birokrasi mahu dikurangkannya. Unsur rasuah mahu dibanteras dalam jabatan kerajaan. Ramai percaya, Abdullah akan melibatkan pantadbiran parti dalam usaha pembersihan. Abdullah yakin bahawa apa sahaja namanya, baik rasuah di pejabat kerajaan dan politik wang di kalangan orang parti kesannya amat “memukul” jika tidak dibendung.

Walaupun Abdullah belum menampakkan usaha dan tindakannya dalam parti, namun keberaniannya membuat perubahan di Kelantan, terutamanya adalah tanda awal bahawa UMNO tidak akan terkecuali. Dengan slogan “berkerja bersama-sama saya, bukan bekerja untuk saya” untuk menjayakan Malaysia yang stabil, kuat dan makmur, Abdullah juga akan menyerapkan slogan itu ke dalam parti yang pada hari ini belum “merasakan dirinya tergugat oleh parti lawan.” Ibrahim dan tiga ketua bahagian lain yang digugurkan di Kelantan sepatutnya menyahut seruan Abdullah untuk bekerja bersama-sama. Kata seorang pemimpin UMNO Johor, “Jika Ibrahim mahu lihat Kelantan kembali ke pangkuan Barisan Nasional, dia perlu belajar untuk mendisiplinkan diri dan mengikut kehendak majoriti dalam parti. Paling penting harap-harap Ibrahim dapat terus setia dengan UMNO. Dan sama-sama kita banteras politik wang dalam parti. Dan untuk politik wang, saya harap semua pemimpin UMNO di semua peringkat akan disiplinkan diri. Bantulah Pak Lah!” Mudah dikata, sukar dikota.

A.F.Yassin
1 Disember 2003

Thursday, 15 May 2008

PITA POLITIK (20): "NO HANKY-PANKY" SAYS DPM


Not the antique cannons of the past centuries, shown in the above picture.
On Arms Deal
The Government has never paid anyone commission for the procurement of two Scorpene submarines and 18 Sukhoi fighter jets, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. He said Malaysia had direct negotiations with the countries involved. The submarines were purchased from France and Spain and the jets from Russia.The Star Online, 15 May 2008

Comment:
In other words, Deputy Prime Minister wishes to say that there is no hanky-panky with regards to the arms deal and the government is playing by the rules. This is what we called the name game of Malayian politics.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

SEMBANG SELASA: PITA POLITIK (19)


Tun Ghafar Baba: Tun Mahathir's troubles began when he let Ghafar go. Ghafar was totally loyal.

Consider the impact Anwar had been in just the past few days:

:: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad accused Anwar of ulterior motive in releasing the cellphone video recording of V. K. Lingam allegedly brokering senior judicial appointments. Anwar, the ex-PM claimed, was trying to undermine Lingam’s credibility as a lawyer defending Dr Mahathir against Anwar’s RM100 million lawsuit;

:: Anwar dismissed Dr Mahathir’s accusations, pointing out that the Lingam video was taken in 2001 when he was still in Sungai Buloh prison;

:: Khairy Jamaludin (BN-Rembau) launched a well-prepared attack during his debate on the royal address against Anwar, slamming the ex-DPM of inflating his own importance in curbing petrol price hikes during his tenure as Finance Minister and also failing absolutely to check the 1997 financial crisis.

This Anwar-influenced conviction has permeated into the Dewan Rakyat since it commenced proceedings late last month, if you were to also add the Anwar claim that 34 Sabah BN Mps are ready to defect to Pakatan Rakyat and a BN MP who accused Anwar of fixing him when the ex-DPM was Umno deputy president.

Today was no different: Anwar’s name was bandied about in equal measures of devotion and derision, more so after he was recently adjudged to be one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world under the segments of leaders, thinkers, heroes, artists and scientists.

If you are a Parti Keadilan Rakyat MP, like N. Gobalakrishnan (PKR-Padang Serai), you will parrot Anwar’s name with the commitment of a cultist, singing praises of leadership, exultation and heroism. If you are a BN MP, like Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir (BN-Jerlun), you will disparage Anwar’s name with the conviction of a loyalist, barking condemnation of treachery, megalomania and deception.

Gobalakrishnan has been involved in most major altercations in the confrontation with BN backbenchers during the debate on the royal address but today as he held the floor, he declined to give way to BN backbenchers to seek clarification in the same manner that Khairy simply refused to budge from his no-clarification stand yesterday

Before singing praises for Anwar, Gobalakrishnan echoed the political tsunami cliché that catapulted him and a horde of opposition members as unlikely MPs while demanding the release of five members of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) detained under the ISA. For good measure, he also demanded that the ISA be abolished and still latching on the ISA, demanded that the Government pay reparations to all former ISA detainees, including Anwar Ibrahim.

All and fully expected but when Mukhriz took the floor, he meandered a bit on the mundane stuff before refocusing on the flavour of the week – a well-heeled three-point attack on Anwar.

First, Mukhriz alluded to the TIME 100 special in naming Anwar as one of its inductees for leaders and revolutionaries. Before anyone in the House thought that Mukhriz was issuing a begrudging praise, he dived into the accompanying essay lauding Anwar, penned by Paul Wolfowitz – former US Deputy Secretary of Defense and World Bank president who resigned in controversial fashion – and quickly named him as one of the people responsible for the mass murder of the Iraqi people. “Why is Anwar in cahoots with Paul Wolfowitz?” he asked in an unrushed, calm tone.

Secondly, he claimed that an article reported by the Jerusalem Post postulated that Anwar will be Malaysia’s future Prime Minister. “This proves that Israel agrees with the idea that Anwar can become prime minister of Malaysia. Why is this?”

Thirdly, Mukhriz claimed that the Foundation of the Future, a foreign organisation chaired by Anwar, received US$35 million from the United State, US$10 million from Bahrain and US$11 million from unknown sources. Mukhriz also repeated an earlier allegation that Anwar had a hand in bringing in Wolfowitz’s girlfriend Shaha Ali Riza into the foundation.

For the record, Anwar had issued a statement in May last year disputing the allegation, insisting that the Foundation obtained pledges of US$56 million only funds from Turkey, United Kingdom and Jordan, among others, but not the US. Anwar also insisted that he did not appoint Reza to the Foundation but that she was first assigned by the World Bank through the US State Department to the Foundation in late 2005 before he became Chairman.

But Mukhriz was not at all interested in Anwar’s explanation, reasoning that being the man tipped to become the next Prime Minister of Malaysia, how he can collude with a known neocon responsible for the deaths of many Iraqis.

As he concluded his debate, he declared. “Can we allow this? I will assure you that Umno will defend steadfastly against this man from becoming Prime Minister.”

There’s no escaping Anwar Ibrahim… (NST 13 May 2008)

Comments:
Must I need to comment? Roger Milton's comments in Asiaweek,30 November 2000 would suffice.In his article "Power Play" Roger wrote: "WHEN MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER Mahathir Mohamad returned from New York to Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 30, he was an unhappy man. The day before, he had addressed the 50th session of the United Nations General Assembly, an honor for any leader. It was a speech the whole world was waiting to hear, said Malaysian newspapers and TV. And it was a very good speech on one of Mahathir's favorite themes: that the U.N. must be reformed to serve all nations, not just the interests of the rich.
But few Malaysians noticed. The prime minister's hour in the international spotlight was almost totally eclipsed by the defeat that same day of a Mahathir loyalist in a party divisional election. An added sting: the election was in Kedah, the prime minister's home state. The electoral setback -- one of many in recent weeks -- sparked rumors that Mahathir, 69, was losing his grip on UMNO, the dominant party in the ruling coalition, and might soon have to relinquish control to his deputy, the dynamic finance minister Anwar Ibrahim, 48.

The PM deftly jested about it, although his face betrayed his irritation. When later asked how he would deal with the electoral rebuffs, he smiled, clenched his fist and quipped: "I will not elaborate, because now I am losing my grip." He may joke, but a growing number of serious observers and partymen are beginning to wonder if indeed that is not the case. So much so that on Oct. 2, the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange fell 1.6% to a five-month low and remained down throughout the week. Brokers attributed the drop to political uncertainties.

What -- or more to the point, who -- is behind Mahathir's troubles? Most of Malaysia's political junkies -- and that includes almost everyone from taxi drivers to tycoons to technocrats -- think they know. The talk around town is that Anwar, Mahathir's chosen successor and UMNO's brightest star, used proxies to battle -- and defeat -- his boss's candidates in the party's internal polls. The question now on everyone's lips is whether Anwar may be positioning himself to claim the top prize -- the party presidency, and with it, the premiership -- at the November 1996 party elections.

The real story, though, is more complex. To put it in perspective requires a review of past leadership battles, current generational conflicts, money politics and grassroots UMNO electioneering. It helps to get a few things straight from the start. 1) True, Anwar has effectively taken charge of UMNO at almost all levels. 2) Despite that, he is unlikely to challenge Mahathir for the party presidency next year. 3) Although he may not openly challenge Mahathir, that does not mean that he will not take over as leader in the near future.
HOW DID HE DO IT?

How did Anwar seemingly outmaneuver the man who has dominated Malaysian politics and national life as premier for 14 years, and who led his National Front government to a stunning general election victory just six months ago? Simply by concentrating on UMNO party affairs. As one of his close business associates told Asiaweek: "Forget the general election. For Anwar it's always the party, party, party." The focus has paid off. In the party's recent internal elections for the top posts in the 165 divisions around the country, Anwar's men tightened their hold, while many of the PM's top loyalists were ousted. To a man, the losers believe their downfall was engineered by Anwar's supporters.

The list of casualties reads like a Who's Who of Mahathir backers: the PM's close friend and former finance minister Daim Zainuddin, former agriculture minister Sanusi Junid, the ex-deputy premier Ghafar Baba, former chief minister of Malacca Rahim Tamby Chik, current deputy ministers Khalid Yunus and Railey Jeffrey, and the party's veteran information chief Hussein Ahmad. Said a Kuala Lumpur-based diplomat: "It looks to me like Mahathir is in trouble. What shocks me most is that UMNO men have ignored his explicit instructions to support these people."

The PM had bluntly dismissed the challenge to his friend Daim as "nonsensical," and publicly backed Sanusi, who has been one of his staunch loyalists for almost two decades. Yet both were sidelined. Daim was so humiliated by the challenge that he withdrew before the election; heavyweight Sanusi lost to his former deputy. Says political analyst Rustam Sani: "If only a few years ago the PM had said: 'I don't want you to challenge Daim,' they would all have obeyed. No question about it. Now they quite openly didn't."

That was enough to start the talk of Mahathir's demise. But what really kicked the coffeeshop talk into high gear were the vehement denials by Mahathir and Anwar that there was a split between them. In the labyrinthine world of Malaysian politics, smoke in the kitchen means there is something cooking. As Penang-based University of Science academic Ariffin Omar says: "You don't have to have the front pages of all the papers deny that there's going to be a challenge unless that is precisely what everyone thinks is going to happen." Adds Ariffin: "It is shaping up to be a real dogfight. I don't think either Mahathir or Anwar really wants it, but it is now being thrust upon them by events beyond their control."

To many, it is beginning to look like an eerie reprise of the events of 1993. At the start of that year, Anwar said that he had no intention of running for UMNO's No. 2 slot, and continued for months to deny that he would challenge the incumbent deputy president Ghafar Baba. Yet all the while, he and his supporters were working for exactly that end -- even though Mahathir had said explicitly that he wanted Ghafar to remain in his post.

Building up support from the grassroots, Anwar's backers got most of the party's divisions to nominate their man for the No. 2 slot. They then got almost all the state chief ministers to endorse Anwar, who by then issued a statement that he felt obliged to heed the party's wishes and accept the nominations. Ghafar quit in disgust soon after. The party elected Anwar deputy president in November, and a month later, Mahathir elevated him to deputy premier.

Says a business consultant in Kuala Lumpur: "This is the Malay way, the shadow play. You don't say you will challenge, you say the opposite. But you work to get the party to support you and then say that being a party loyalist you have to heed the party's wishes, even though you have nothing personally against the incumbent, whom you admire greatly. This is what Anwar did to Ghafar and what he is likely to do to Mahathir. If Anwar gives the word, the nominations will start to flood in for him for party president next year."

WILL ANWAR GIVE THE WORD?

That is the question on everyone's lips. The answer: chances are he won't. But that has not stopped speculation that the PM will step down before the nominations start coming in around June next year, in order to avoid an embarrassing defeat. However, most seasoned observers rightly scoff at this scenario. Says University of Malaya academic Jomo Sundaram: "It is not credible that the PM will stand down in the next few months." Adds banker Tan Siok Choo: "He will not stand down, he will fight. He still has an agenda." Indeed, both leaders are too savvy to let an unsavory contest ensue. Besides, nobody wants Mahathir, who is hugely popular and respected by a wide spectrum of Malaysians, to be forced out with a loss of dignity.

Still, there is no guarantee Anwar won't mount a challenge. Others have done it before. In the 1987 UMNO elections, then party deputy president Musa Hitam and former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah nearly toppled the prime minister. "Mahathir will never forget what happened," says the K.L. business consultant. "I vividly recall Mahathir and Musa Hitam embracing in November 1985. Then in early 1986, Musa split from him and contested against him. So much for loyalty."

UMNO's Zahid Hamidi agrees: "We had a very bad experience with Mahathir and Musa, and with Mahathir and Ghafar. The political balancing that Mahathir is now doing must be followed by Anwar." Maybe, but some say the balance is tilting too much Anwar's way. The root of Mahathir's problems goes back to 1993, when Anwar chose to make his move against Ghafar Baba. Says Ariffin: "Mahathir's troubles actually began when he let Ghafar go. Ghafar was totally loyal and no threat, and he looked after the party for him. Now Anwar has taken it over."

It is no secret that Anwar is in line to become premier some day. Activist and intellectual Chandra Muzaffar agrees: "Mahathir has groomed him for this role." That has been clear ever since he brought the former firebrand student leader turned social activist into government in 1982. At an UMNO Supreme Council meeting last month, Mahathir told the members "I give the party to Anwar." It was a repeat of what he told party leaders after the April general election victory: "Anwar is my heir apparent. He will take over from me." So top partymen know the score. But no one knows the timetable for the changeover, or whether Anwar and his backers accept it. Hence the worry that if the PM stays on too long, his hand may have to be forced by a contest.

UMNO is one of the most democratic parties in the world. "Too democratic," quips Youth head Nazri Aziz. Members elect divisional delegations, who every three years elect a president, deputy president and three vice-presidents. When talk of a challenge flared again last month, Mahathir repeated there would be no contest for the presidency. It provoked a backlash. Said a diplomat: "Some young Turks expressed loyalty to the PM, but said: ÔHow dare he say there won't be a contest. It's not up to him to say that. UMNO is a democratic party. If someone wants to contest for any post and gets nominated, then they can run. You can't stop them.' "

This view was aired publicly by a senior UMNO man. Said parliamentary secretary Fauzi Rahman on Oct. 3: "The view that the top two posts should not be contested must come from the divisions and not from top party leadership." In other words, if the members decide to nominate Anwar against Mahathir, there is little, technically, either man can do about it.

WHY MAHATHIR MIGHT STEP DOWN

The rapport between Mahathir and Anwar is based on trust and admiration -- in spite of ideological differences. As Anwar's closest adviser Kamarudin Jaffar says: "There is mutual respect." Yet each holds undeniably divergent views of how Malaysia should develop: Mahathir, the can-do, pro-rapid development leader who has grabbed Malaysia by the neck and thrust it into the modern world; Anwar, the social libertarian who voices concern that the welfare and social values of the people are being subverted in the rush to modernize -- the man of the common folk.

But partymen say what has caused most of the recent complaints about Mahathir, and has fueled the current crisis, is the growing perception that he is not open to renewal in cabinet and other government and party posts, that he does not promote from within the ranks but sticks with the same old guard. Said one partyman: "Every division voiced criticism, not of the PM himself, but of his style of keeping the same people. The ones who have been sitting in subordinate positions waiting for the chance to get promoted are just fed up. They see the advent of Anwar as a chance for their much delayed promotion."

Similar complaints are heard regarding the corporate sector. Politicians have long lamented that there are not enough bumis -- indigenous Malays -- in top business positions, and that the PM keeps rewarding the same coterie of trusted tycoons with government contracts. Anwar has promised to spread the wealth more widely.
Following the blatant vote-buying in the 1993 UMNO party elections, the party held a special assembly last year to clean up its act. But little changed. Says an UMNO divisional chief: "The politics of patronage is now ingrained in Malaysia." Anwar has vowed to fight this. But few believe he can do it -- and some even question his resolve, largely because his 1993 Vision Team included some of the worst perpetrators of patronage.

WHEN WILL ANWAR BECOME PM?

Some say Mahathir will resign in the next six months, that is, before party nominations come in, so as to avoid the prospect of defeat. This is possible, but extremely unlikely. Says a party strategist: "Mahathir will not step down in the next year. If he did, there would be a bloodbath for the No. 2 spot under Anwar. That will not happen."

Alternatively, nominations for Anwar may flood in, forcing him to reluctantly accept them in a replay of the Ghafar defeat in 1993. Thus he replaces Mahathir -- either after the PM resigns or is defeated at the polls. Nothing is impossible in politics, but this comes close to it. Another scenario sees partymen obeying the call not to nominate Anwar, so both top posts go uncontested and the status quo remains. However, after the events of the past weeks, no one thinks things can remain the same.

The savviest analysts believe the most likely scenario is that a deliberate signal has been sent to Mahathir showing Anwar's power in the party. The senders have also indicated that they do not want Mahathir to stay on indefinitely. They would like him to go, not immediately, and not without dignity, but relatively soon. The talk that he might stay on into the 21st century is simply not tenable anymore.
These analysts say that privately a commitment is likely to have been given and that both sides will honor it. There will be nominations for Anwar, but he will cut them off to show his power, and will unstintingly support Mahathir for the top spot. After his re-election, Mahathir, in return, is likely to say that he has been in power 15 years and it is nearing the time to pass the baton to a new man. Says the party insider: "So no challenge, no fight, no embarrassing parallel of '93, whereby the PM has to resign to avoid losing a contest. He retains his dignity, stays on -- but only for the short term. He must go between '96 and '99, and it will be sooner rather than later."

If that is the case, then all sides will be relieved. Talk of a rift will die. The succession will be handled with such sureness and lack of rancor that political stability will be ensured and the economy and stock market will be unaffected. Such a smooth transition would show the unity and political maturity of the Malaysian polity at its best."

Sunday, 11 May 2008

SEMBANG AHAD: PITA POLITIK (18)

Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has come out with the strongest indication yet that he would be contesting one of the top two positions in the December party polls. He said he had received a lot of feedback from “grassroots, advisers and proposers” who told him that it was time to move up the party hierarchy. (The Star Online, 11 May 2008)

Comment:
UMNO members are familiar with jargons like "it's the wish of the people"; "the grassroots want me in", "I receive a lot of feedback from the grassroots, advisers and proposers" or whatever. Tan Sri Muhyiddin has experienced the ups-and-downs in UMNO politics and he is highly respected and a very senior cabinet minister. he certainly would not want to be looked at as a leader without a vision.

Remember when he was once a Menteri Besar of Johor. During that he surely must have harvoured high political ambition. If not he would have reached that far, especially his urge to scale the political ladder, as high as he could make it. He must have said it's high time he makes up his mind. And he seems to think now is the right moment to push forward, presumably bearing in mind UMNO's dismal performance in the last 8 March General Elections. Also remember the recent comments on Pak Lah and Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak made by former PM, Tun Mahathr Mohamad.

Welcome Tan Sri to the world of real politics. PM Pak Lah, as UMNO President must and would be very happy to see you joining the fray. What is neede is "Give the grassroots some hints: "Is Tan Sri going just for somebody's running mate or is Tan Sri searching for a running mate? We bet Tan Sri must have "collected" enough staunch supporters among the media people, columnists and bloggers to get it spearhead the political inertia through the media.

Friday, 9 May 2008

SEMBANG JUMAAT: PITA POLITIK (17)


Ikrar menjunjung Kedaulatan Perlembagaan di Majlis Permuafakatan Melayu di Johor Bharu, 4 Mei 2008

Tee Keat: Drop the ‘ketuanan’


KUALA LUMPUR: The phrase, ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy), should not be brought up any more as it creates the impression that one race is the master while the others are slaves, MCA vice-president Datuk Ong Tee Keat said.

Ong said the phrase had nothing to do with the Federal Constitution and was not something that needed to be said any more considering the special position the Malays already have.

“For other races, ketuanan (superiority) implies the word kehambaan (slavery). The root word of ketuanan is tuan (master), and that does not give it a good meaning.

“In Malaysia, we have lived together for so long and the relationship is not the same as between a master and a slave,” he said, after launching the 6th Golden Bull Award 2008 for Malaysia’s 100 outstanding small-medium enterprises (SMEs).

Ong said Malaysians had to move forward with more respect for each other and deal with more important issues.

When asked if he was afraid of any backlash, Ong said:

“What backlash? I’m speaking the truth.”

About the Golden Bull Award, Ong said it was to recognise the contribution of SMEs to the country and that as Transport Minister, he would ensure efficient transportation services so that SMEs could flourish.

Nanyang Press Holdings Berhad executive chairman, Datuk Paul Leong, said the awards ceremony would be held in conjunction with the Global SMEs Trade Fair 2008 that would be held in Hanoi, Vietnam in November.

Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said Malaysians should not to be overly sensitive about the term ketuanan Melayu but view it positively from the angle of history and the Constitution.

He said it did not mean that Malays were the masters and non-Malays slaves.

“Let’s not politicise this until it reaches the level of a new polemics,” he told Bernama at the Parliament lobby.

He said all quarters should refer to history as the country had once been ruled by Malay Sultans and Rajas (Kings), who were the masters of the Malay lands but were willing to give up their powers to the people under the constitutional monarchy system.

According to the constitution, Ahmad Shabery said the Malay sultans and rajas were symbols of Malay supremacy in this country.

Ahmad Shabery added that Article 182 of the Federal Constitution also touched on the immunity of the Sultans and Rajas, which was an interpretation of the Malay supremacy term.(The Star Online 9 May 2008)

Comment:
It is wise that any political leaders, irrespective of their political affiliations, should understand the meaning of Malay word/term, not only literally but also culturally before commenting on any issue related to Malay customs and cultures. In this particular word "ketuanan", it has a cultural meaning deep rooted in Malay tradition and its literal meaning, too has changed much through time. So much ado about nothing!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

SEMBANG KHAMIS: PITA POLITIK (16)


The Malay Supemacy Resolutions in JB on 4 May 2008.
Thursday May 8, 2008 MYT 12:39:27 PM
Raja Petra agrees to post bail (Update)


PETALING JAYA: Raja Petra Kamaruddin has agreed to post bail after his wife Marina Lee Abdullah met him at Sg Buloh prison on Thursday.

Marina finally got to see her husband for about 10 minutes this morning, after he twice refused to meet her on Wednesday.

She said Raja Petra was fine, except for a slight back ache after spending two nights in jail.

Marina is currently at the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court to post bail for him. (The Star Online, 8 May 08)

Comments:
Wouldn't it be wiser if bloggers just play the normal game as a law-abiding citizen and not resort to sentiments and emotions when dealing with public or rakyat interest. i mean really the "rakyat" in its literal sense.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

SEMBANG SELASA: PITA POLITIK 15


Antara yang hadir membentangkan resolusi Majlis Muafakat Melayu di Johor Bahru, ialah Dato' Dr. Firdaus Abdullah dari DBP, KL.

Monday, 5 May 2008

SEMBANG SELASA: PITA POLITIK (14)


Tan Sri Ismail Hussein (kanan) dan Dato' Tengku Alauddin berbincang sebelum resolusi Majlis Permuafakatan Melayu dibentangkan, Persada Johor Bahru,4 Mei 2008

Orang Melayu tidak perlu menjerit-jerit: Ali
04-05-2008 09:36:03 PM
MELAKA: Orang Melayu tidak perlu menjerit-jerit seolah-olah hak dan kuasa mereka sudah hilang kerana semuanya masih termaktub dalam perlembagaan persekutuan yang telah dipersetujui bersama kaum lain.

Naib Presiden Umno, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam berkata apa yang perlu dilakukan sekarang ialah pihak bertanggungjawab, melaksanakan apa yang terkandung dalam dasar kerajaan dengan berkesan dan sempurna.

"Orang Melayu tidak perlu menjerit-jerit seolah-olah kita tidak ada kuasa, kita sudah ada perlembagaan, undangundang, peraturan dan dasar, jadi kita buat kerjalah," katanya kepada pemberita selepas merasmikan Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina Ek Te di Tanjung Kling dekat sini, hari ini.

Beliau mengulas laporan akhbar bahawa apa jua usaha memulihkan kembali Barisan Nasional (BN) yang ditunjangi Umno hendaklah dilakukan tanpa kompromi terhadap kuasa dan hak Melayu. (petikan The Star Online, 5 Mei 2008).

Komen:
Orang UMNO ini kembali ke perangai lamanya. Belum pun sampai dua bulan dilanda tsunami politik, seorang pemimpin kanannya masih tak serik-serik. Memperlekeh pandangan akar umbi. Mana beliau tahu yang peserta Majlis Permuafakatan Melayu di Johor Bahru "menjerit-jerit". Sebenarnya pemimpin seperti beliaulah yang tidak pernah memijak ke bumi sebaik sahaja berada di puncak. Apakah beliau faham apa yang dituntut oleh 2,100 peserta pertubuhan bukan kerajaan yang sedang menganalisis suara rakyat tanpa mengira ideologi politik.

Sebaiknya selamilah apa yang hendak disampaikan akar umbi di JB itu. Yang mereka mahu hanyalah orang Melayu terutama pemimpin, baik yang berkuasa atau tidak berkuasa memahami perlembagaan dan melaksanakannya. Itu bukan menjerit Dato' Seri. Itu tandanya pemimpin, dari UMNO, khususnya, tidak melaksanakan apa yang termaktub dalam Perlembagaan.

Lihat sahaja Perlembagaan tentang Melayu. Dalam perlembagaan nama "bahasa Melayu" tetapi ditukar "bahasa Malaysia", dalam dasar pendidikan kebangsaan sepatunya bahasa pengantar bahasa Melayu dirobah ke bahasa Inggeris untuk Sains dan Matematik. Ini baru contoh. Siapa yang memperlekeh Perlembagaan? Siapa yang mengubah seenak-enaknya nama dan istilah dalam beberapa fasal Perlembagaan. Saya rasa bukan orang dari akar umbi.

Dato' Seri kita ini ada "hati" nak beri nasihat dan nak minta orang bertanggungjawab melaksanakan apa yang terkandung dalam Perlembagaan. Tetapi, selama ini apakah orang berkuasa seperti Dato' Seri kita ini telah melaksanakan dan tidak mengubah apa yang termakstub dalam Perlembagaan itu sepenuhnya.

Adalah dikhuatiri kalau beginilah sikap pemimpin UMNO yang memperlekeh suara hati nurani akar umbi, PRU yang akan datang bukan sahaja tsunami politik akan berulang lagi, malah keputusan PRU akan datang akan merubah terus senario dan lanskap politik negara, terutama UMNO dan BN sendiri.

Kita perlu belajar dam mengambil iktibar daripada "kehakisan" Parti Kongres di India sehingga ke hari ini ia belum juga pulih-pulih dan masih gagal berkuasa semula.
Nasihat daripada akar umbi, "Janganlah terlalu memperkecil suara pertubuahan bukan kerajaan hanya kerana majlis seperti itu dikelolakan oleh persatuan penulis seperti GAPENA!
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