‘Umno’s 2004 landslide victory a curse’

Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz | March 4, 2012
Free Malaysia Today

Former Umno assemblyman Mohd Ariff Sabri discovered that much of Daim’s ‘prophecies’ remain relevant.


This article is based on a 45-minute conversation I had with former economic advisor Tun Daim Zainuddin way back in early 2009.

However, I must say this. I did not take notes while we were talking as I wanted to savour the fullness of our conversation.

But as soon as I got back, I quickly wrote notes in my own little red book on what transpired. There was never a doubt in my mind that we would be talking with candour.

I would later discover, this larger than life figure possesses a rapier sharp mind. But most of all I would be disarmed by his willingness to speak easy.

It was obvious Daim was not restrained nor constrained. And our conversation touched a range of issues.

The conversation

I began with: “Tun, I have been meaning to ask this jackpot of a question as to how, before March 2008, you cautioned the government about the trouble in five states.

“And after the elections, you were proven right. And if I remember, many political leaders were very dismissive of you”.

Yes, Daim said.

Even Khir Toyo said before the 2008 polls: “What does Daim know, he has been out of politics”.

Daim said he felt the pulse of the nation then. A lot of grievances were detected on the ground. Business people were coming to talk to him, lamenting of grouses.

There were many issues not favourable to the government.

Daim said he went to see and talked to Pak Lah (former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi).

He asked why Pak Lah wanted to call for general election when he still had time in his favour. The economy was not doing well; there were so many issues not settled – the Hindraf thing, and so on.

Pak Lah said he was confident of securing a two-third majority, added Daim.

He then went on to say that the 2004 landslide victory was actually a curse to Umno and Barisan Nasional.

It made them complacent and arrogant at the same time. That was a lethal combination.

Umno and the need for change

I then asked Daim on how saw the so called changes in Umno after the 2008 GE.

He said: “You know the Umno leaders are talking about change. But where are the changes are they talking of? Do you see any?”

Daim has been Umno treasurer for 17 years and he knows what’s going on with Umno.

Former Umno president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he said, was busy and so had left a substantial part of party matters to him (during that period).

Daim doesn’t see any substantial changes taking place in the party and he wasn’t confident of seeing any changes now either.

His opinion was that leaders are just interested in securing places in the sun for themselves.

My next question to Daim was: “Who does Umno now represent? Is it the Malays? Umno would be severely challenged at this claim”.

Daim mentioned what I have consisitently said in my blogs, that Umno has failed to secure the majority of Malay votes.

In the last elections there were 5.7 million Malay voters and Umno managed to secure somewhere in the region of two million votes.

There you are, said Daim.

Umno in a sorry state

Some 3.7 million Malays did not support Umno.

And he then quickly added “You tahu, Umno has what? Three over million members kan?

“Why did it get only two million votes? Then there are the young voters. What has Umno planned to rope these people in?

You can easily say, out of 10 young people, eight will likely vote opposition.

And here is a clincher.

Both Daim and I agreed that Umno now appears to be losing credibility. Whatever Umno says is no longer readily believable.

You have a situation where (allegedly sullied PKR de facto leader) Anwar Ibrahim, even if he were to come out and say something or anything, people will believe him.

Isn’t that an irony? Umno is in the sorriest state now.

The writer is a former Umno state assemblyman who joined DAP earlier this year. He is a FMT columnist.

  1. #1 by monsterball on Sunday, 4 March 2012 - 10:52 pm

    Why talk to a man what is right or wrong who has stole billions.

  2. #2 by cseng on Monday, 5 March 2012 - 12:46 am

    Unable to change is the curse of all curses….

  3. #3 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Monday, 5 March 2012 - 8:55 am

    The pendulum phenomenon in malaysia’s GE results insofar as the opposition’s performance is concerned for the last 50yrs seems to have been broken. 2004 was an exceptionally bad yr for the opposition. By the backswing of the pendulum 2008 became an exceptionally good yr for the opposition. Now signs on the ground quite clearly are showing that 2012/2013 could well be an even better yr for the opposition.

    What’s more, umno is presently exhibiting all the desperate antics of a dying party. Look at ibrahim bin perkasa and his swollen arteries around his neck every time he speaks. Look at the silly fool who ridiculously displayed his shoe recently in penang. Look at the pigheads incidents. The “Allah” ban. The communist fear. The muslim-to-christian conversion claims. The “christian PM” issue. And countless other senseless panic attacks suffered by umno.

    Sudahlah umno. Pordah!


  4. #4 by rockdaboat on Monday, 5 March 2012 - 1:25 pm

    They talked about changes, the need for drastic changes, changes to survive, changes to remain relevant.

    But until today, no changes has taken place because they have no clue to any changes. So they still keep on talking, including some very expensive (at the expense of the rakyat) slogans produced by the consultants!

  5. #5 by Sallang on Monday, 5 March 2012 - 2:16 pm

    If Daim is made Prime Minister, will he change the constitution so that every Malaysian is given equal rights?
    The fact is, that the rakyat is suffering, and for those leaders up there, they are spending millions of public money as if its their own.
    Their children will not get to feel what ‘hunger’ means.

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