UMNO’s Tuah-Jebat Dilemma

by M. Bakri Musa

The furor over Tun Mahathir’s quitting UMNO cannot hide an increasingly obvious and ugly reality: Abdullah’s incompetence as Prime Minister. Ranting and raving against Mahathir will not alter this singular fact.

Only an ardent few – his family members, closest advisors, and those beholden to him – believe that Abdullah has executed the duties of his office diligently. These individuals will forever remain faithful to him even if he were to drive the country to ruins. Consider that Saddam Hussein and Shah Pahlavi still have their ardent admirers today.

For others, their only excuse for wanting Abdullah to stay is for “party unity.”

Mahathir’s poser to Abdullah’s putative successor Najib Razak on whether he is loyal to UMNO or to Abdullah is a dilemma shared by all party members. Najib as well as all UMNO members would do well to re-read our classic Hang Tuah-Hang Jebat legend, and in particular ponder the fate of not only the two protagonists but also the sultan and the Melaka sultanate.

In 1987 when UMNO was split, a consequence of the Mahathir-Razaleigh rivalry, the party was weakened but it survived because it had a strong leader. Early in its history when its first president Datuk Onn left the party, the impact was minimal as the party was strong and it had a cadre of capable young leaders like Datuk Razak. This time however, both the party and its leader are weak.

If party members were to shy away from doing the dirty but necessary job of removing Abdullah from the leadership of UMNO, and thus the Prime Minister’s office, then others would by default remove that office from him, and from UMNO. With every delay, Abdullah (and UMNO) gets weaker while Anwar Ibrahim (and his Pakatan Rakyat) becomes stronger.

Seeing Through Abdullah

Like Mahathir, most Malaysians believed in Abdullah, at least initially as evidenced by his overwhelming electoral victory in 2004. Barely four years later, they, like Mahathir, are sorely disillusioned.

Some still believe (or more correctly, hope) that Abdullah could yet salvage his leadership. This hope for a miracle is misplaced. Incompetence cannot be readily remedied, especially in someone with a demonstrated flat learning curve. Besides, the highest office in the land cannot be used as a training ground. We cannot have an “intern” Prime Minister; the stakes are just too great.

If Abdullah could not lead when he had a commanding mandate, what chance is there for him now that his hold is tenuous at best? He is already consumed with putting out political brush fires, distracting him from his most important task of leading the nation. Abdullah is now clearly damaged goods; Malaysia deserves better.

Only a tiny minority saw through Abdullah and recognized his emptiness right from the very beginning. It is more with sorrow than vindication that I admit to being in this group. I would have preferred to have been proven wrong.

I have never met Abdullah; my assessment of him is based entirely on his records and accomplishments, or lack thereof. Perhaps because of this I am not swayed by the man’s put-on piety, seeming humility, or servile loyalty. Those attributes are held in high esteem in Malay culture, which may explain why many, including the shrewd Mahathir, overestimated Abdullah’s ability.

Abdullah was a longtime civil servant rising to Deputy Secretary-General in the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports before entering elective politics. Respectable enough achievement, but then that ministry is not exactly the hotbed for super-achievers.

Before being kicked out of the cabinet in 1987, a casualty of the Mahathir-Razaleigh rivalry of the time, Abdullah had served as Minister of Education, and later, of Defense. One is hard pressed to discern his legacy in both positions. A measure of his worth was that the best he could do outside of government was as a ticket agent … in his sister-in-law’s travel agency! That was the private sector’s valuation of his talent and experience, despite having served in two most senior and prestigious portfolios.

Later when he re-ascended the UMNO hierarchy, Mahathir invited him back to serve as Foreign Minister and later, Home Affairs. In the latter position he was responsible for the police. Our current inept and corrupt-ridden police force is his legacy.

Mahathir’s Mistake

You have to give credit to Mahathir. Not only did he admit to his colossal mistake in selecting Abdullah back in 1998, he is also making a vigorous effort to undo it. Admitting to or rectifying your error is a rare attribute among leaders.

Abdullah has yet to learn this essential lesson. Merely uttering that you are taking responsibility, as Abdullah did for his party’s routing in the last election, is not enough; you have to act on it.

The current crisis in UMNO is not, as is widely commented upon, simply a battle between Abdullah and Mahathir. The fundamental issue is Abdullah’s incompetence, and its impact on the nation.

Winning an election is a partial measure of effective leadership; it is not the only or the full measure. Abdullah’s predecessors Tunku Abdul Rahman and Hussein Onn were both successful at elections, yet when their leadership was found wanting they withdrew gracefully. Britain’s Margaret Thatcher also had the grace to resign when support for her was declining even though she had led her party through three successive electoral victories.

Abdullah has neither the grace nor the competence of Thatcher. He is too syok sendiri (self indulgent) with the perks of his office, with its luxurious corporate jets and palatial mansion, to even contemplate resigning. It is easy to be stubborn in such circumstances. Like a dumb mule surrounded by lush hay, Abdullah will not move. It will continue mindlessly chewing the cud, oblivious of the turmoil it caused. It is well to remember that a mule with too much hay will inevitably succumb to lethal gas bloat.

Many consider Mahathir’s resigning from UMNO an irrational act as that would only hasten the ascent of his old nemesis, Anwar Ibrahim. To me however, Mahathir may be signaling something significant. He must believe (or have reasons to) that Anwar’s chances are real and strong. By resigning now, Mahathir would be spared the fallout from UMNO’s inevitable implosion. He could then with a satisfied smirk remind us, “I told you so, this Abdullah is a disaster!”

Many are wondering why Abdullah is not coming out swinging at his tormentor. There is a reason for Abdullah’s reticence. His entanglement in the UN’s Iraq Oil for Food Program scandal is only a hint and a glimpse.

I am reminded of J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime FBI director who was the most feared and powerful man in Washington, D.C., simply because he held so many secrets of important people. Nobody dared touch him for fear that he would spill the beans.

Mahathir was Prime Minister for over two decades. He is also a shrewd observer of human behaviors and a meticulous record keeper. Think of the many shenanigans committed at home and abroad by our sultans, ministers, and other senior officials that were simply hushed up, let alone prosecuted. Those who are tempted to sneer at the old statesman better have pristine personal and official backgrounds; otherwise they would be well advised to maintain their “elegant silence.”

Notice Mahathir’s immediate stinging riposte to Shahrir Samad and Musa Hitam recently. In so doing Mahathir sends a not-so-subtle message to his other detractors, including those on the Royal Commission on the Lingam Tape, that their stinking laundry too could be aired out for all to see and smell. As Prime Minister, Mahathir must have had more than his share of favor seekers, shameless flatterers, and the outright corrupt who groveled before him. He could easily expose them. If that is blackmail or vengeance, so be it.

I have a different take on Mahathir’s behavior. Far from being blackmail or nasty vengeance, such ugly revelations could prove to be a necessary national catharsis. Much as I hate to see what would be revealed, it would be good to have all the rot finally out in the open. The hope is that the subsequent shame will effect some change.

As a former physician Mahathir knows only too well that the best if not only remedy for a long festering abscess is to lance it wide and deep, letting all that trapped putrid pus out. Only then could the healing begin. If that were to happen, we can all thank Mahathir. The man may yet make his greatest contributions after he retired.

  1. #1 by Saint on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 10:53 am

    Dear Dr. Bakri Musa, I have always admired your wittings, but this one – is a bit “out of target”. I am not an admirer of Mahathir or Abdullah, but let us have a look at “reality on the ground”.

    In you opinion what “truely” would have happened if Abdullah had gone on a “cleaning spree,” after the previous election. My feeling, we may have had a riot (caused by Mahathir & his gang) or Abdullah would have been removed, and the country back to “square one of Mahathir’s legacy”.

    We all want a clean and progressive government. The people are the best to change it. There has been some changes, and let us give it some more time, for more changes to take place. The people blindly voted for 22 years. Many saw the light in the last elections – others are only seeing it now.

    The most important “criteria” for Malaysian politics is a “smooth transfer” of opposition power. Changes within UMNO & BN (without a change of government) is not good for the nation. My humble view & no offense meant.

  2. #2 by HJ Angus on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 11:15 am

    Whatever happens to Malaysia and UMNO, TDM’s resignation does not absolve him from the problems he created during his 22-year reign.

    In a way the cancer has been removed but major infection is still there in the nation’s being.

  3. #3 by darcwil on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 11:26 am

    Indeed Angus. And it is Abdullah’s job to do the curing now. Tun did a good enough job for leaving.

  4. #4 by kentutoyol on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 11:28 am

    The gangrene had spread and amputation will not help – thats how critical UMNO is. UMNO cannot claim to be the Malays champion anymore. The rakyat have PKR, DAP and PAS – which as pakatan rakyat will take care of all races and will replace BN anytime.

  5. #5 by Tantech on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 11:45 am

    Never trust any politicians. Even if Pakatan Rakyat takes over the govt, if they are corrupted, we will kick them out too. Malaysia has come to the age of People Power.

  6. #6 by drmaharajahrk on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 11:45 am

    everyone talking about Malay unity

    what about chinese and Indian unity ? I think all Indian reps in PKR and DAP should meet MIC and talk about Indian unity

    and all chinese reps in DAP and PKR should meet MCA and Gerakan and talk about chinese unity, while the Malays in PKR and PAS meet UMNO and talk about Malay unity…….

    As for Malaysian unity, thats secondary….. right guys ?

  7. #7 by Tantech on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 11:48 am

    Mahathir is irrelevant now. He’s no more UMNO member. He is like anyone of us who are members of no party. So he will howl like a mad dog.

  8. #8 by Tantech on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 11:52 am

    Sad, drmaharajahrk, right. For 50 years, we still see our own races important. When is Malaysia going to be Malaysians’ Malaysia?

  9. #9 by Mr Smith on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 11:56 am

    In 2004, there was a wave of support for Abdullah. Honesty, I never trusted him nor had faith in his ability to lead the country. The international media had described him then as a colourless politician.
    He never made any inspiring , earth shattering or thought provoking speeches in an international forum. He was just bland.
    I voted for the Opposition in 2004 and I told my friends that he was dua kali lima and that is leadership would not make one iota of difference to the abuse of power, corruption that was already endemic and accepted culture.
    Honestly, I can sit back in smugness for being able to see the chameleon and mule in him.

  10. #10 by drmaharajahrk on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 11:58 am

    AAB won big in 2004 cos people were fed up of Mahathir and were keen for the promises he made to change.

  11. #11 by devilmaster on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 12:07 pm

    drmaharajahrk Says:
    everyone talking about Malay unity
    what about chinese and Indian unity ? I think all Indian reps in PKR and DAP should meet MIC and talk about Indian unity

    Theoretically speaking, the chinese & indians should talk about their races’ unity as well. But if the chinese were to do that, then it will be construed as a racist agenda. All Umnoputras will start to threaten amok. As for the Indians, nobody will give a damn to them talking about unity bcoz their number is too small(the population of foreigners in this country are even larger than the Indians). I just cannot imagine what will befall Bolehland in the next 50 years.

  12. #12 by limkamput on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 12:09 pm

    I think your observation here is that Mahathir holds the trump card and his “behaviour” during last 22 years has been above board and there was nothing that others could hold against him. I think that is far from truth. He presided over the period when growth and economic transformation in Malaysia was most profound. But I doubted very much it was due to him and his vision. Far for it, this country grew because of the extraordinary favourable international environment at that time. If there is any downside, it was he who has derailed, squandered, and stifle the true potential of this country. To attribute the success of this country largely to his leadership is, to me, giving him more credit that he deserved. It was not just PM Abdullah that he claimed he had made a wrong choice. I think during his administration, he has made numerous blunders and many were due to wrong choice of people – remember Perwaja, MAS, Forex loss, Malaysian sogashosha (which I do not want to mention name), Maminco and many others. This is in addition to the stifling of judiciary, the civil service, and total consolidation of power within the PM’s department.

    Besides, as Malaysians, I think we must really find out what is Mahathir’s true agenda against PM Abdullah. What really is he fighting for now. Remember he was not pushed out of power, but resigned voluntarily. So what was he unhappy about with Malaysia today? Was he fighting for race supremacy, fearing UMNO loosing power, scenic bridge, the double tracking, which cronies to favour and protect or was he pissed off by the possibility of Anwar coming into power, the revelation of rots in the judiciary and the likelihood of investigation, the possibility of review of many of the privatisation deals sealed during his administration, and the greater degree of press freedom today? Which ever factors I mentioned here, he does not deserve our support. It was the weakness of Abdullah’s leadership that all these I mentioned are gradually allowed to unfold. Don’t you think it is a blessing? I think Mahathir should not be overly concerned with Pak Lah’s administration anymore. It is none of his business now. He should rightly be concerned with all the misdeeds, abuse and squanders committed during his administration and be ready to account for all these.

  13. #13 by Jeffrey on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 12:13 pm

    As usual a cluster of apologist arguments favouring Mahathir – ignoring the colossal faults – against his nemesis Abdullah.

    Bakri extolled Mahathir’s admission of his mistake in anointing Abdullah as successor back in 1998 as “rare attribute among leaders” forgetting that it is only because Mahathir is not admitting anything else, whether having a hand in compromising the Judiciary or that he deliberately placed Abdullah in successor position because he thought that he was (like Ghafar Baba) too mild and passive to actively covet and undermine his incumbent position that had already been challenged by three others, Musa, Ku Li and Anwar! It was more the selfish interest factor than the so-called ‘rare attribute”. If Abdullah were indeed really so incompetent a lameduck, how come his hero, Mahathir, has thus far failed to remove him?

    On Mahathir’s poser to “ putative successor Najib Razak on whether he is loyal to UMNO or to Abdullah” Bakri recommended “re-read our classic Hang Tuah-Hang Jebat legend” as it related to sultan and the Melaka sultanate. Bakri’s recommendation – the end justifies the means approach for higher good (stab your boss approach) – was the same one his idol adopted to alienate two Prime Ministers (Tunku & Hussein Onn) who left UMNO when Mahathir took the reins!

    What happened thereafter when Mahathir took over? Could Bakri give an objective account of Mahathir’s legacy?

    Bakri instead reviews Abdullah’s legacy – as usual negatively – when his tenure is still subsisting and not over yet whereas he does not review Mahathir’s legacy except to say he was a ‘meticulous record keeper’ in fashion of J. Edgar Hoover and could “easily expose” his detractors favor seekers, shameless flatterers, and the outright corrupt and that “if that is blackmail or vengeance, so be it”. However in next breath Bakri’s take (inconsistently) is that “far from being blackmail or nasty vengeance, such ugly revelations” could prove to be a necessary national catharsis to “bring rot out in the open”. However under the watch of whose administration did these detractors ‘favor seekers, shameless flatterers, and the outright corrupt’ learn their ways from? Is Mahathir now helping to “bring rot out in the open” in respect of the Judiciary? Could he afford such rot to be brought out to the open?

    Who (but Bakri) is saying anything good about Mahathir’s legacy? Of Abdullah, Bakri said only “an ardent few” believed in him just like Saddam Hussein and Shah Pahlavi quite forgetting that this is more applicable to his idol Mahathir, if the comments in this bloig and others are anything to measure by…..

    If Abdullah has nothing much he could hold claim to, at least he could at least say he helps deliver the implosion of Mahathir legacy within UMNO/BN and, wittingly or unwittingly help generate the confluence of forces of the March 8 Political Tsunami sweeping the Opposition into five states and taking away the two thirds parliamentary majority of the BN that had nurtured a political culture of unaccountability to those who voted them in.

  14. #14 by drmaharajahrk on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 12:14 pm

    Mahathir has been wanting Pak Lah to resign as early as 2005.

    Its got nothing to do with the Election results. Thats only an excuse !!

    Lets find out the root cause why Mahathir wants Pak lah out !!

  15. #15 by wongymcl on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 12:34 pm

    Mahathir was the one who choose pak lah to be the PM.
    So he should be blammed if PAH LAH has done anything which he thinks is very bad.

  16. #16 by i_love_malaysia on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 1:34 pm

    The root cause why TDM wanted AAB out is basically something to do with his family & cronies interests. After he stepped down, his family & cronies no longer enjoy the privileges that they used to e.g. billions ringgits projects awarded without tendering but “negotiated” process, his sons were getting only few hundreds APs instead of 30 thousands or more APs like before, his son didn’t get the wanted positions in UMNO, instead, AAB’s SIL & other related parties got the positions wanted in UMNO (these positions will normally lead them into Cabinet and from there on, enrich themselves with more contracts etc). His cronies’ projects were scrapped (Johor bridge) or put on hold or revived but given to AAB’s cronies!!! TDM was telling the half truth and not the whole truth as the whole truth will show that he wanted AAB out was because of his own personal interests!!! Anyway, AAB is incompetent whether TDM voiced out or not!!!

  17. #17 by i_love_malaysia on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 1:41 pm

    AAB is applying the same “tested methods” to enrich his family & cronies and he wont feel any guilt at all as he will tell you that he had learnt from TDM and he is only applying it for few years now instead of twenty over years for TDM, so why TDM is making lots of noise!!!

  18. #18 by Bigjoe on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 2:27 pm

    I don’t buy the analogy to Tuah-Jebat or medical equivalent. I also don’t think much of the analysis. The correct comparison to the current situation is probably the march of colonialism or pre-independence.

    If you compare it to onset of colonialism. With new external challanges, the Sultans did not meet the challenges but instead fought among themselves and allowed the colonisers to take advantage of them.

    If you compare it to pre-independence, the movement towards independence by the Malays never amounted to anything until external events and alliance with others build momentum for the movement.

    I rather think the comparison is basically that of onset of colonialism with Malay leaders fighting among themselves rather than face the challenge of real world changes. And the solution lies in the fact that nothing will happen until UMNO/BN is willing to make a radical change of reality and the answer is not changing of leadership. The lessons to be learned is that of Onn Bin Jaffar and Tunku in reaching out to non-Malays and negotiating with the British. Similarly, UMNO/BN need to grow up and accept once and beyond a shadow of a doubt Bangsa Malaysia and radical surgery of its right-wing in order to recover for the long term.

    Until then, the comparison is colonial…

  19. #19 by Godfather on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 2:27 pm

    “The hope is that the subsequent shame will effect some change.”

    Bakri, I am truly surprised at this statement. The word “shame” was expunged from the UMNO dictionary by non-other than Mahathir. Badawi doesn’t understand the meaning of this word; neither does KILLER.

  20. #20 by kingkenny on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 3:07 pm

    Bakri Musa,

    question to you:

    1. Are you a writer as in “writer”?

    2. And are you a political writer as in “political writer”?

    I personally think you are not even both! In fact, you are a plain, fact-less, twisted, illogical writer!

    If you intend to write about charismatic patriots, you could try your hand at some past leaders (pre-independence), and also not necessary leaders, all other Malays, Chinese, Indians, Dayaks, Ibans, Kadazans patriots too – way better than the 2 above!

    The relationship between AAB & Mamak is wholly political, bonus in between from projects, commissions from cronies and the like!

    There are absolutely no values in it whatsoever!!!

  21. #21 by devilmaster on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 3:13 pm

    Today, another Umnoputra, Abdul Latiff Ahmad(MP for Mersing) just showed the Ketuanan Melayu mentality again by not apologizing to the Dewan Rakyat.

  22. #22 by yyh on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 3:20 pm

    hmm..a bag of dirty laundry is his last ace? just wondering if mahatir countenance such immoral and corrupt behaviour during his reign to as to keep everybody in check? if so, its for all the people to judge this ex-PM, his morals and character.

  23. #23 by donng55 on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 3:52 pm

    Mahathir qua Mahathir, and Abdullay qua Abdullah, there was no way that Mahathir could have mistaken a crystal for a real gem. Abdullah had served as Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Minister of Education, Minister of Defense, Foreign Minister, and Home Affairs Minister under Mahathir before he was appointed DPM, Mahathir could not have missed the “signs.” No way. Not Mahathir, especially when it comes to picking his deputy and after his experience with Musa Hitam, Gafar Baba, and Anwar Ibrahim. And still remember Mahathir’s rebuke heard ’round the world that Badawi wasn’t his first-choice successor? Thus, without doubt, Mahathir did not overestimate Abdullah’s ability. Far from it. There must be reason(s) why Mahathir did it but he is not telling.

    Mahathir did not apologize for picking Abdullah, as far as we know. He said he made a mistake but he did not apologize for the mistake. Where was it reported that he apologized for the mistake for choosing Abdullah over others? He now admits that he made a mistake because he’s now playing a different ball game. Please do not underestimate Mahathir.

    To many of us, the bull point with Mahathir is not Abdullah’s incompetence (for he is aware of it all along), but Abdullah’s opening of “the closet.”

  24. #24 by drmaharajahrk on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 4:13 pm

    Mahathir knew and knows AAB inside out after so many years in Govt. He thought AAB was another Ghafar Baba whom he could instruct even after out of power.

    But he was shocked when AAB opened the closet and out came Khairy and the 4th floor boys !

    Thats when Mahathir had his second attack and was admitted to IJN !

  25. #25 by kingkenny on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 4:14 pm

    Dear all LKS bloggers, an interesting read for you guys, go to both links below:



    However, if you do have some substantiated articles regarding the above, please kindly do let me know, because I wish to improve my knowledge.

  26. #26 by ktteokt on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 4:26 pm

    Like I have been suggesting all these while, why don’t they change it to “UNITING MALAYS NATIONAL ORGANIZATION” – still UMNO, you know! Or do they prefer to change the initials altogether to DMNO – DISUNITED MALAYS NATIONAL ORGANIZATION.

  27. #27 by badak on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 4:33 pm

    With pak lah and Mahathir washing thier dirty laundry in public.The guy who is waiting and laughing at the sideline is Tengku Razaleigh.Imagine if Tenguku Wins the UMNO ELECTION…He will be the PM.I really hope Tengku wins..Reason I know he will kick out Najib from his cabinet.Nazri can also say bye bye.

  28. #28 by yhsiew on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 4:37 pm

    In the recent Lingam Video Clip Royal Commission of Inquiry, PL has promised to investigate the six persons (one of them is Tun M) involved in the scandal. However, so far, I have yet to see any action being taken.

    PL’s half-heartedness in solving problems has done a lot of damage to his reputation as PM.

  29. #29 by melurian on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 4:59 pm

    get real, how imcompetent AAB is still better than the current DPM. at least the SIL is graduated from oxford and sometimes talked sense. That najib (with his wife) is much worse, last time when oil price increase he’s telling ppl to change lifestyle (who is this DPM to meddle our daily affair, his job is to look after the country in macrolevel) , and now he’s telling fisherman to stay away from middle rock for weeks (has he given a thought on the fisherman’s income)….

  30. #30 by darren sky on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 6:04 pm

    Sorry I will be out of topic from this, I read from the STAR yesterday on the PSD scholarship. Really hope they be transparent on the selection process and publish the succesful applicants exam results to prove this.The PSD is keeping mum on these request. Is there something to hide ?? MERITOCRACY ???
    Dont be surprised some of those selected are children of politically connected people whose income are 7 figures (of course the income cannot be declared wan la..thats why have to apply -to be seen clean)

  31. #31 by grace on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 6:45 pm

    What Bakri Musa describe Pak Lah is very true. He really does not have the materials of a PM. Yes, in the private at best he would be made a chief clerk. Asking him to step down is very difficult in view of the perks that come with PMship. Private jet, ooficial residence and lots more.
    But for TDM, I believe he is not right if he were to keep all the rotten records without punishing those offenders. A case in point is that if he is dragged to face charges in Lingam’s tape, he would expose the wrong doings of some of the judges. He seemigly condone their action only to use it against them later on. A despicable act. I am sure he has plenty of dirts of the many ministers. In conclusion, it is no surprise that corruptions begins during his tenure as PM.

  32. #32 by Malaysian100 on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 7:08 pm

    I would like to ask Mr Bakri Musa, should Abdullah go today, does he support Najib to take over or does he have another choice? Saying Abdullah should go is one thing, offering a choice and an alternative is another. Here, you didn’t offer an alternative. So pliz, offer the replacement and not simply lash at Abdullah. While we think AAB has faile and is an inept leader, we have immense worries about others who are in the line. So, come clean on this, lest the nation pays a dear price later and we may come to appreciate the “inept” AAB.

  33. #33 by cancan on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 7:46 pm

    Football and Politics


  34. #34 by Damocles on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 9:35 pm

    The problems that we are facing in our country today is the culmination of decades of naivety on the part of the electorate coupled with the percieved lack of an alternative to the BN.
    Now that we have an alternative – the PR, let them give it their best shot.
    However, we, as voters must not slip into the stupor of the last few decades but must always remain vigilant and questioning.

  35. #35 by dawsheng on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 9:55 pm

    It is just a matter of time before PR take over then we will held Royal Commission for both Mahathir and Abdullah.

  36. #36 by blablowbla on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 10:29 pm

    aiyah,the more we know,the more that we dont know what we dont know!
    i think,next month,Euro Cup,no more comments here,and August,you know i know,everyday just WOW,WOW,WOW,world records being broken one by one…..where got time to surf internet right?

  37. #37 by donng55 on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 11:03 pm

    Absolutely! We will keep track of what each of the MPs has said, promised, and done for the Rakyat (irrespective of race & religion), and then make a final cross-check before deciding whether to vote for them or not.

    We don’t care if they are from DAP, BN, PRK, or PAS. You must be candor and transparent, and, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, “go into exile with Dante and learn how salt is the bread of others, how steep their stairs, and how real their darkness-at-noon feelings.”

    Above all, serve the Rakyat well as you said you would. A promise is a promise is a promise. And when the time comes, the Rakyat will judge and praise you, fairly and accordingly.

    That said, we must also remind our MPs that we disagree that “a cat is a good cat irrespective of its color if it can catch mouse.” We reject such political mantra. We reject it because we don’t believe “the end justifies the means.” We reject it because we do not wish to see a Tiananmen-like incident on our soil.

    To those who have the political temperament and serious intention of earning their bread by honest means, we welcome them, and will continue to work with them and support them. But to those who plan on short-changing the Rakyat, please butt out and stay out!

  38. #38 by AhPek on Monday, 26 May 2008 - 11:37 pm

    Bakri Musa,in your article,I can detect your your deep and unashamed admiration for this mamak(sorry I have to refer him as mamak but then again,isn’t he?),not that I have any respect for this Sleepy Head and in fact I share your thread in your assessment of him. But for the life of me I cannot put Mahathir in the same high pedestal as you you have done.
    His 22 years of rule has done untold damage to Malaysia …the press is gagged,the Judiciary is made subservient to the Executive,he has added more dragonian laws to the ones that have existed when he first took over,corruption has run rampant,the civil service has become predominantly a Malay civil service.This is your hero Bakri who misspells ‘piratisation’ for ‘privatisation’ of the country’s profits and for crony’s losses he simply nationalised.Eureka!!You name the ills that are afflicting this country and one can safely say he is largely responsible for them!
    The Malaysian Insider reports that on the 17th May in Johor,whilst speaking at a gathering,Mahathir referred to the Hindraf memo and said “What does it say?Malaysia for the Malaysians? This is the reality of the present situation.If we do not speak up,if we choose to keep quiet, we will lose our rights and the other races will take over.When that happen,it will be like Singapore.Do you think we will still have contro?”.
    He is traversing the country spewing his Malay Ketuanan rhetoric,using racism to save his butt.Of course he can claim he forgot that in1991 in mooting Vision 2020,he has advocated a Bangsa Malaysia.In fact Mahathir said that there can be no fully developed Malaysia until we have established a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny.Bakri, may I ask why the flip-flop by your hero?
    Bakri, between the 2 evils,I prefer the lesser one,Badawi.

  39. #39 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 - 12:37 am

    “….the shrewd Mahathir, overestimated Abdullah’s ability.” Bakri Musa

    He was counting on his annointed successor to be the foot soldier he has always been. Well, he’s wrong.

  40. #40 by monsterball on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 - 2:30 am

    Mahathir is a lousy leader…but Malays hero worship him..because of his good looks…his skills to twist and turn…his acting skills….can cry..can easily forget..can remember…like an elephant..can be serious….and can joke.
    Ah yes…he is a real big bully….behind that innocent look.
    Mahathir is a lousy leader…as proven….with 3 Deputies…he is not happy about..put one to jail…to show his true colors…when good for him…..and Musa Hitam simply need to resign…for fear of his own life.
    Now…Dollah is the pain to Mahathir’s own arse!!
    Just look at the 22 years under him..and what are been exposed now?
    Top judges on the take….police on the take…man in the give and hope there are plenty of takers….to be successful…by doing business with…who you know….not what you know.
    He was surrounded by chosen ones….by him…to do his corrupted works.
    I laughed…when he said…years ago…his children are smart..that’s why they are multi millionaires…can borrow 100 million from a bank…with no help from him.
    Come to think of it….he is damn smart…in the wrong ways……..and UMNO and BN ministers under him…..cannot believe their eyes….how easy to rape the country’s wealth.
    Mahathir days are numbered ..after the Lingam case.
    Dollah is a sad case.
    He wants to do right…but dare not act.
    He spoke so many things…nice for Malaysians to feel he is on the right track…yet……no actions.
    So…..Dollah is a weak leader…..but UMNO is weaker due to Mahathir…not Dollah.
    Mahathir is an evil man….as seen by beloved Tunku…through and through. but money is the root of all evils….and Mahathir used money…free for all….to become so powerful for 22 years.
    Dollah is sincerely fighting the evil.

  41. #41 by AhPek on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 - 7:57 am

    Correction. ‘This ,Bakri, is your hero who mispells ‘piratisation’ for ‘privatisation’
    and for crony’s losses he simply nationalised them.Eureka! He has found a formula for enriching Malays (the UMNOPUTRA type) thereby putting them on par with the rest of Malaysians.

  42. #42 by PHUAKL on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 - 8:41 am

    Looking at developments over the last few years, we are on the road to becoming a “kleptocracy” or a “failed state” (like those in Africa such as Nigeria – oil rich but riddled with corruption, Liberia, Sierra Leone etc.).

    The beginning of the journey is pervasive corruption enveloping
    the institutions of government.

    We, the citizens of Malaysia, have to prevent this!

  43. #43 by cheng on soo on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 - 9:29 am

    Sorry, Dr. Bakri Musa, Not agree with U on this TDM, he had wasted at least a hundred billion ringgit of Msian money in useless projects, If he still in power, we might have,

    a), laughing stock useless crook bridge at JB
    b) build a useless bridge to Sumatra
    c) reclaim useless islands off kedah

    Dont forget, all these will also cost billions ringgit to maintain.

    Pak Blah is no good so is TDM !

  44. #44 by taiking on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 - 10:06 am

    UMNO is a lesson for PR to learn and remember.
    During its growing years, the party was nimble and flexible.
    New ideas were more readily accepted.
    Making structural changes (and doing it quickly) to the party was a possibility.
    Adapting to new situations and challenges was easy.
    But UMNO has now grown to the size of himalaya.
    Moving it would need a great deal of effort.
    In fact an astronomical amount of effort.
    A tsunami quite clearly did not work.
    Perhaps a disastrous 10 richter scale earthquake may do the work.
    And because it has remained stationary for a long time all sorts of things can grow on it, including undesirable things like cronyism etc etc.
    Everyone in UMNO knows very well what is needed for the party to remain relevant.
    But knowledge is one thing and action that brings about desired results is another.
    Fortunately nature has a way to put things right.
    The party will rot in the natural course of events and the rot will eat away (hopefully) the unnecessary bits and pieces of the party.
    If no drastic actions are taken to arrest the rot, then even the spirit of the party will get eroded away as well.
    That is when the party would collapse and die.
    Will the country come down with it?
    No. Not Malaysia.
    We have PR, fortunately.
    Change is imminent, if I may predict.
    But please PR, put in place now an effective mechanism which will enable the party to adapt to changes and to meet challenges rapidly, properly and effectively.

  45. #45 by AhPek on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 - 11:29 am

    I reproduce below an “Open letter to Mahathir’ by Sathia.
    The Malaysian public in general and in particular the Indians must be glad to hear that you have left UMNO.Just as in the Sumerian story of King Gilgamesh who spent his life seeking in vain the secret short cut to eternal life, you spent your life seeking a short cut for the supremacy of Malays. It was a foolish, self-centred and parochial goal, ill suited for the global challenges of the present times.
    In the process you would tolerate no cherished principles of humankind to stand in your way.You would deny your Indian ancestry.You would cast yourself as a Malay in desperation to win acceptance.
    The Great Ghengis Khan turned to a life of crime, invading,looting and amassing wealth due to the internal shame of his birth. His mother was someone’s wife stolen by his father. He hid this shame by trying to be someone more powerful than anyone could be.
    You did not acknowledge your birth being born to a man of Indian descent who was a Muslim as a result of colonial Muslim power. You must have felt ashamed of your Indian bloodline.You painted yourself as a perfect Malay, a super Malay and became one of the most vociferous proponents of Ketuanan Melayu along with the likes of Tun Abdul Razak.
    In the process you turned the peaceful and friendly Malays into religious bigots,lazy and greedy. In your haste to transform them from a rural mindset, by your actions you taught them that taking money from the non-Muslims and amassing wealth in ill-gotten ways and spending it lavishly is the fastest and easiest way towards bliss.Hurting the non-Malays’ progress is the way towards enhancing the progress of the Malays.Unsupported by research data, you just prided yourself in seeing Malays are positioned everywhere.You failed to inculcate in Malays about the fundamental time-honored principles that call for sound knowledge,tolerance and skills and putting them to good use.It might take the form of courageto be able to stand on own feet despite what may come, and seek out peaceful and harmonious living with others in the country and around the world.
    You destroyed the education system in turning out morons as graduates who are ill-fitted to do anything meaningful.You have let brilliant minds among them not to flourish on account of race and religion.That resulted in an adverse cycle causing almost irreparable damage to the Malaysian public especially the Malays.
    You tempered with the judiciary, you tempered with the rights of the Sultans,you tempered with the goings on in other country on account of religion and you made many countries hate Malaysia and Malaysians.
    But there is hope. Start thinkingthat Malaysia is a place populated by human beings, and they require leaders who would help the nation grow as a whole.
    For change, you can be an Indian for a while so that you can appreciate how it feels to be an Indian living under the legacy of your government. Be a Chinese for a while, and try to understand how the Chinese are treated by the legacy of your government.
    The public has spoken.In fact they have been speaking for a long time-only that their voices were not heard by the likes of you.In Peninsular Malaysia, how many race-based parties have come into being since Independence?Gerakan is a multi-racial party too, failed badly despite being in power but in practice it turned out to be a mono-racial party.
    The best option now is for Barisan National to do away with all of its component parties and instead be a single party.Any elected representative should be able to represent anyone from any of the racial groupngs.Failing which the prospects of a genuinelymulti-racial party taking over power from Barisan National is very real indeed.Let anyone who is capable lead the nation, be he a man or woman or of any race and religion.

  46. #46 by JeyS on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 - 12:49 pm

    Agree with most of you but we are just going around the mulberry bush!

    Both Abdullah and Mahathir have flaws.and boy DO THEY HAVE MANY!

    They were supposedly elected by ‘US’ the rakyat for our country! However they have sidelined everything and nothing came out of it safe except for cronies, umnoputras, 4th floor, KJ, you name it la they have it!

    Even if PR or Anwar comes into power…you think it will be different? Er..duh NO!

    We have been screwed and double screwed many times….so, as much as we say here, they will do what they want. We have just to bite our tongue and pray like crazy, that these nut cases who are running our country (which they easily dubbed as their country) has some sense of decency to run it with fairness. (I know…this is a wishful thinking that may never see the light!)



    So Mahathir, Abdullah if you guys read this blog….go mess up your lives but leave ours out of it! We have to pay and are paying heavily for the price we picked you jokers to government!

  47. #47 by HJ Angus on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 - 9:04 pm

    just want to correct one word in Sathia’s letter:

    The word “tempered” should be replaced with “tampered” for the correct meaning.

  48. #48 by AhPek on Thursday, 29 May 2008 - 12:09 am

    Spot on, HJ Angus. It’s my mistake and not Sathia’s.Many thanks for pointing that out.

  49. #49 by ktteokt on Friday, 30 May 2008 - 10:19 am

    I think Mahathir is the one and only PM of Malaysia who had 4 deputies during his term of office. Why the frequent change of deputies? From Musa Hitam to Ghafar Baba to Anwar Ibrahim to AAB? All because he has in him FEAR! The fear of being overthrown by his deputy! He simply cannot trust any of them, that’s why the frequent change. But the lucky chap is AAB who finally “inherited” his position as PM. In fact, you think Mahathir favoured AAB to be his successor? From day 1 AAB took over office, Mahathir felt sore!

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