by Jennifer Gomez
The Malaysian Insider
October 20, 2013
Umno is unable to bring change and just like the dodo bird, will soon become extinct, writes the former group chief editor of Umno-controlled New Straits Times.
The analogy of the now-extinct bird species from Mauritius is made by Datuk A. Kadir Jasin on his latest blog posting.
He writes that whether there were 2,000 or 140,000 delegates who took part in the just-concluded Umno polls, it is obvious that the party could not make the leap forward as it could not elect a fresh line-up of future leaders.
For Kadir, the only consolation in the Umno vice-presidential race is that those who accused of being involved in money politics have been rejected.
According to Kadir, while the status quo for the veep line-up was a good sign for Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the same could not be said for the party. This is because it could not vote in a new generation of leaders except for a few who made it to the supreme council.
Re-elected vice-president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s big win also puts him as the third in line to succession in Umno, after Najib and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
As such, Kadir does not want to discount the possibility that Ahmad Zahid, who is the Home Minister, could turn from being a trusted ally to challenger for the top post.
He notes that Ahmad Zahid’s stern stance on crime and national security differs from Najib’s liberal image.
Ahmad Zahid’s approach has steered clear from Najib’s liberalism, something which Malays and Umno members shun, Kadir adds.
Kadir, a loyalist of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, then takes a swipe at Najib for abolishing preventive laws such as the Internal Security Act and Emergency Ordinance, which he says resulted in a spike in crime.
He says there is the possibility of a new alliance between Ahmad Zahid and re-elected Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin to further the former’s political ambitions.
Khairy, explains Kadir, can ensure Ahmad Zahid better support being the Youth chief, adding that votes from the Youth wing would come in handy in the future.
The alliance would also be relevant given the duo’s very different backgrounds and approaches. Ahmad Zahid could be the champion of the Malays and a local hero, while Khairy could be the savvy spokesman in the international arena.
Kadir says the fact that so many ministers and deputy ministers have been elected to the supreme council line-up means that they would not be able be speak out on behalf of the Malays.
He adds that only a handful in the line-up do not have high posts. And if these individuals could be sweet-talked, it would mean a total absence of independent voices for the Malays in the supreme council.
Kadir warns that there will now be only those who act as “yes men and women” to the party president.
He laments the lack of young blood in the party line-up, and points to the negative perception of the new generation towards Umno.
This, he writes, clearly distinguishes Umno from PKR, PAS and DAP which have many young leaders as well as a second echelon who are well-grounded in research and debate. – October 20, 2013.