M vs Pak Lah (Round 2) – Mahathirism vindicated, set to be dominant force in Najib premiership

Although Mahathir triumphalism was checked in Round One of the “M vs Pak Lah” battle in the elections for Umno Youth and Wanita leaders on Thursday, with the outgoing Prime Minister getting the upperhand, Round Two of the “M vs Pak Lah” battle for the top Umno posts yesterday saw Mahathirism vindicated and set to be the dominant force in the new Najib premiership.

With Abdullah’s proxy, Mohd Ali Rustam disqualified from the contest, Muhyiddin Yassin was elected Umno Deputy President with 1,575 votes, defeating Muhammad Muhammad Taib with 916 votes.

The three elected Umno Vice Presidents are Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (1,592 votes), Hishammuddin Husein (1,515 votes) and Mohd Shafie Apdal (1,445 votes).

Abdullah’s farewell speech to wean UMNO from the scourge of money politics and corruption did not go down well at all with the Umno delegates, as he was repeatedly booed when he spoke against “greedy and avaricious” Umno members who created “the negative perception that Umno is a corrupt party” and Umno members who “expect positions and projects”, “titles and awards”, “material fulfillment” while “the spirit of sacrifice, the spirit of struggle, the spirit of serving the people and country is fast fading away”!

The UMNO Supreme Council elections have also chalked up a notorious record, justifying the following caustic comment by Malaysian Insider’s “Winners and Losers, Day 2”:

“Malaysians – What else can you do besides shrug your shoulders and wonder what is going in Umno when three of the most obnoxious MPs – Datuk Bung Mokthar Radin, Datuk Puad Zarkashi and Datuk Tajudin Rahman – get elected to the most powerful decision-making body in the party.”

The following article is also recommended:

A glimpse of what could have been – The Malaysian Insider

MARCH 26 – This was the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who once had an approval rating of more than 90 per cent among Malaysians.

This was the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who went missing for long periods between 2005 and 2008.

In 4,000 words, Abdullah reminded many Malaysians why they invested so much hope in him when he became the prime minister in October 2003. In 4,000 words, he also gave a cameo performance of why his administration will be remembered with regret, disappointment and frustration by many Malaysians.

If only – those two words were on the lips of many at the end of his speech at the opening of the party assembly.
During the one-hour speech, Malaysians had a glimpse of Abdullah the:

• Magnanimous – He had been bludgeoned by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad since 2005; called unflattering names by the former prime minister and shamed in public.

Yet today before the whole country (the speech was telecast “live”), he thanked Dr Mahathir for appointing him as the DPM in 1999 and then making way for him in October 2003. “Thank you, Tun, ‘’ he said.

Many in the hall enjoyed the moment but his supporters said that his magnanimity and inability to kill off opponents sowed the seeds of his downfall in Umno. The party loved him but they never feared him.

• Ultimate party loyalist – He took party delegates down memory lane today, speaking about his love and devotion for Umno, the party his grandfather, father and mother served with distinction.

He took a stab at the critics within the party who humiliated him since Election 2008 but pointed out that never once did he consider damaging the party or quitting Umno.

He spoke with pride about the party which united the Malays, fought for independence, built a country. Sadly, the party which he was speaking about in glowing terms bore little resemblance to the one today.

• Reformer – In Umno circles, they blame Abdullah for allowing the culture of criticism in Malaysia to prosper and for not using the sledgehammer approach to bring the media and Opposition into line. They want a return to the old days when newspapers shut out the Opposition completely and when fear coursed through the veins of many Malaysians. Abdullah said that going back was not an option. Never could be.

“There are those who believe that Umno will return to winning ways if we go back to the old ways, to the old order and by stifling people…If we take that old path, I believe we are selecting the wrong path…I fear that this path will speed the demise of Umno,” he said.

Is his plea going to make any headway with his party leaders or members? Little chance. They forced him out because they want a return to the old days.

• Leader of all Malaysians – Too little, too late, but only a sprinkling of Umno leaders today would be prepared to go before the party assembly and urge them to keep their natural instinct in check. Abdullah cautioned Umno against becoming racial and religious extremists and urged them to always offer an umbrella of protection to all Malaysians.

Nice words but it is unlikely that a political party which has become more inward-looking since Election 2008 will be moved by words. He could have done much more to resolve the knot of issues between the races or find a new platform of cooperation for Barisan Nasional. His party’s failure to make Malaysia a hospitable place for all is his failure.

• The meek – Warts and all, Malaysians, especially in rural Malaysia, embraced him as prime minister because of his soft demeanour, his willingness to show his human side. Today, he conceded that he did not manage to fulfill all his promises and acknowledged that he had made mistakes.

“I apologise for my shortcomings and weaknesses,” he said, concluding a speech which said much about the man and his party.

They gave him a standing ovation but, like many elements in his speech, perhaps it was too little, too late. If only…

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Friday, 27 March 2009 - 9:21 am

    The delegates rejected Mahathir but not Mahathirism. What it is they want largesse to be spread further down the grassroot and cut out the middle man of money politics. If Najib make the mistake of thinking the delegates want the end of money politics he will be in big trouble. Ali Rustam was leading, Taib got huge number of votes. All the UMNO Youth leaders are into money politics and KJ is accused to be the biggest one although that also could be doubtful.

    You are going to see Najib doing mega-programs instead of mega projects – like National Service that spreads a lot of smaller contracts around. Instead of building high-ways, they will have more rural and state roads. Instead of mega-dams, many smaller dams and power proejcts. He is going to keep a tighter rein on corruption among his closest team members and make sure they spread things around further… He has a track record of doing it in the defense ministry, while education minister etc.

    Welcome to Najibism – money politics directly to the grassroot…

  2. #2 by year of snake on Friday, 27 March 2009 - 9:40 am

    I can’t believe that the racist Bung Mokthar is elected to the Supreme Council. This clearly shows that the majority of the UMNO delegates approves of such racist and at the back of their mind the attitudes towards the non-Malays.

  3. #3 by OrangRojak on Friday, 27 March 2009 - 9:50 am

    as he was repeatedly booed
    Are you sure? My funny foreign attitude towards Malaysians is hardening to a stereotype where they have perfected the art of smiling at you while wishing you a terrible death, if they’re not actively working on it. This challenges my prejudice to the core!

  4. #4 by Godfather on Friday, 27 March 2009 - 10:37 am

    What is clear is that a large number of UMNO delegates hanker for the return of Mahathirism – the doctrine of “we know what is best, and those who disagree with us can leave the country or go to jail”. However, Najib has to steer a middle path, at least for the time being. The alternative media has to be the watchdog to ensure that Najib does not go overboard with his “get-rich-quick” schemes.

    It will be a lot clearer once the new cabinet is announced. The jury is still out.

  5. #5 by Godfather on Friday, 27 March 2009 - 10:39 am

    Already there are calls for Mukhriz and KJ to be part of Najib’s cabinet, and also for Toyo to be nominated to the Supreme Council. It’s good news for PR if this were to happen. Maybe they are still thinking that there are 4 years left to divide the loot, which is shrinking by the day with the recession.

  6. #6 by wanderer on Friday, 27 March 2009 - 11:15 am

    From a pile of dung, they naturally have to vote in an uncultured and foul mouth biggest dung of all, in DUNG Mokthar Radin to the most powerful decision-making body in the party. hahaha
    A ‘transformed OMO’?… not in my life time!

  7. #7 by HJ Angus on Friday, 27 March 2009 - 11:24 am

    In order for UMNO not to be thrashed in the next GE they will need to work really hard to win back their lost support which may even be gone forever.
    Maybe UMNO will be able to reform better once it sits in the Opposition? That would be OK if we all really want to establish a good 2-party system for Malaysia.


  8. #8 by ALLAN THAM on Friday, 27 March 2009 - 11:28 am

    The only celebration is botak has lost

  9. #9 by OrangRojak on Friday, 27 March 2009 - 11:44 am

    once it sits in the Opposition
    I would normally feel as though I had fairly well-developed imagining skills, but I struggle to bring this scenario to mind. I can easily imagine (like just before lunchtime I can imagine a pork pie, crunchy salad and a half pint of foaming Mild) the majority of Malaysians voting for PR at the next GE. But UMNO in Opposition? Cannot! My mind is blank! I can imagine individuals – like Badawi in Opposition – I think he would make a popular Opposition politican. Maybe Nazri too. Even KJ, who for all his drawbacks, strikes me as not actually lethal. Maybe you could imagine one or two more.

    It appears to my funny foreign point of view – from the information desert that is Port Dickson – that UMNO owns Malaysia. I’m sure PR could win the popular vote at the counter of a well-known chain of pizza purveyors on a ‘more cheese’ ticket, but would that mean they’d be in control of the toppings?

  10. #10 by monsterball on Friday, 27 March 2009 - 11:45 am

    UMNO is and always will be a racist party.
    They put all Malaysians in defensive moods in the past…which gives them to twist we are racists. Just look at Mahathir recent remarks about Chinese schools.
    That sickening old man….the mastermind to divide races and encourage all Malays to think like Malays and not as Malaysians…before his son lost the UMNO Youth election.
    All counties will encourage citizens to defend the country and King…but here…UMNO needs defending from harmless MINORITIES Malaysians. Go and try to think like an UMNO person….you will vomit blood.
    So relax…let those clowns keep fooling his own race and see how far they can go on with such long out-dated race and religion unholy…inhuman ..slave driving…dirty politics….a style practiced by the British long long ago.
    UMNO can never change….because UMNO cannot find an equally smart man like Mahathir….just the opposite of a devil…to turn around things.
    What do you expect from taxi drivers…farmers…low class teachers….all dressed up with false titles…filthy rich…to make sure Malaysians kowtow to their masters.
    In any case..we have enough of UMNO.
    They have succeed to fool certain muslim Malaysians for so long…ruling the country…you want them to change? How? Vast majority enjoy easy life ……so wealthy. How to change?
    Change means admitting PR is right…so who will Malaysians vote?
    Already so many UMNO members are against UMNO…change spells certain death. Now at least…got change To be worthy opposition after 13th GE.
    So we wait…relax and be clam.
    I hope Anwar and LKS…do not fall into UMNO’s traps.
    Stay cool. Only Anwar’s court case on sodomy can spoilt his chance for 13th GE…but wife is standing by….and plenty can speak well..as good as Anwar now.
    Know your advantages..hold on to them.
    Malaysians keep disobeying UMNO…with smiles and non violence.
    I have the gut feeling….all will be well. UMNO will not dare to go overboard to the extreme…..to shut every Malaysians mouth.
    They simply cannot brainwash huge majority against them
    All they can do…is find ways and means to make Malaysians happy…forget about Mongolia..Anwar…Karpal…LKS…hoping Malaysians are greedy and selfish.

  11. #11 by shah pinang on Friday, 27 March 2009 - 12:09 pm

    “• Reformer – In Umno circles, they blame Abdullah for allowing the culture of criticism in Malaysia to prosper and for not using the sledgehammer approach to bring the media and Opposition into line. They want a return to the old days when newspapers shut out the Opposition completely and when fear coursed through the veins of many Malaysians.Abdullah said that going back was not an option. Never could be.”

    He wanted reform, but lack the ‘sledgehammer’ to reform. As Oliver Cromwell said during his execution of King Charles I of England and his subsequent speech to the parliment- its “cruel necessity” and “necessity hath no law.”

    Personally I would have wanted Pak Lah to have embrace the ‘return to the old days’ mantra, fear coursing the veins of many Malaysians.

    Why? simply because it has become A NECESSITY to end this cancer of corruption in UMNO/BN. A necessity to end the oppression of the poor regardless of races. A necessity to uphold the Constitution.A necessity to heal the differences between the races and instilling the pride to be a Malaysian. A necessity to bring forth the much needed transformation for good governance and people centric policies. A necessity to have leaders who can protect and uphold the interest of its people and lead this country towards achieving its Vision. A NECESSITY to prevent racist politicians such as Bung and Tajuddin and whoever else regardless of race from EVER being elected to the seats of power and destroying this beautiful and blessed country our.

  12. #12 by shah pinang on Friday, 27 March 2009 - 12:31 pm

    correction, blessed country of ours.

    monsterball Says:
    Today at 11: 45.28 (24 minutes ago)

    UMNO is and always will be a racist party.

    UMNO and the component parties in BN a.k.a. lap dogs of UMNO resistance to change and reform have caused them to become racist. I think it would be an insult to equate our founding fathers, be it in UMNO,MCA,MIC,Parti Negara etc of racism when they had to make do with a ‘divide and rule’ system espoused by the British to achieve independence. And such institutionalized ‘race-based’ policies were at the time might have been necessary to achieve the stability that we are enjoying now. So, is this instance in my opinion monsterball, IS / IS ALWAYS would not be appropriate -but IS NOW a much more accurate description of UMNO atthis moment in time

  13. #13 by taiking on Friday, 27 March 2009 - 1:07 pm

    I quote this from somewhere in the article above:

    “Nice words but it is unlikely that a political party which has become more inward-looking since Election 2008 will be moved by words. He could have done much more to resolve the knot of issues between the races or find a new platform of cooperation for Barisan Nasional. His party’s failure to make Malaysia a hospitable place for all is his failure.”

    From mahathir’s time till now, they are all the same. They speak of the need to change umno, to weed money politics, to protect malay rights, to eradicate corruption etc etc. All of them would score them high marks in moral study. Emotions are inevitably high. Tears flowed and flowed and flowed. Wet noses all over. Huggings and huggings and more huggings.

    Right. Show’s over. Curtain’s down. Back to work as usual. That means back to old ways.

  14. #14 by Godfather on Friday, 27 March 2009 - 3:15 pm

    Chedet will now declare that he is not interested in rejoining UMNO because his preferred candidates didn’t get elected. Instead, proven rubbish like Bung Mokhtar and JJ get elected just because they are close to Najib. Proven rubbish in the UMNO Supreme Council.

  15. #15 by frankyapp on Friday, 27 March 2009 - 4:29 pm

    Malaysia is a wide country,divided by two sectments,just as umno is divided by two packs or groups. Pack one is a wild and dangerous and pack two is conservative and moderate. Unfortunately,the wild and dangerous bunch won the battle .Badies like BMokhtar,P zarkashi and T rahman obviously won cos they are in the W n D group. Surprisingly Mike T. didn’t win despite a badie. TDM vindicated ?. No where guys,cos two wrongs will not make one right. The NR wild n dangerous pack may give him temperary asylum and TDM as a squattor will not dare to bark loud and clear,cos he knows,if he did,he will be driven out just like those invaders.But old habit dies hard and like TDM,in on time he will be kick out of the W n D ugly pack. TDM is a kind of guy I know.Do any of you guys out here or there know his famous ” swim or sink ” promise to party berjaya in Sabah some ten’s of years ago.Another of his famous habit is ” friend today,foe tomorrow or foe today,friend tomorrow “.These have proven that TDM is untrustworthy and dangerous and a very mean guy as well. NR and all of his horses and all of his queen’s men will not let go of TDM unscathe if and when he applied these two tactics.Whenever I see or bump into TDM I smell the rotten rat.I got the gut feeling his’s political days are number by NR and will be gone pretty soon.

  16. #16 by lopez on Saturday, 28 March 2009 - 6:38 pm

    no matter who get what , all is doomed, when buffaloes clashes
    why ….
    when malaysians choose to be so damn dependent on decisions and mercilessly wait for affirmations of the so called $MPee ..for what ….to either obtain or buy contracts or renew licenses or Ap or waivers ….or beg for pardon for problems that ought not to have happen in the first place.

    Change ….in what sense…generic change ….or fundamental change or preferential change

    dont talk ^)#* , it is who gets tired down first…

    heading aimlessly into the unknown with with mindset of feudalism

  17. #17 by Taxidriver on Sunday, 29 March 2009 - 2:05 am

    Now we see three powerful warlords in UMNO-Najib, Abdullah and Mahatir-each trying to finish off the other. Those of you who have not yet read the Chinese novel ‘The Three Kingdoms’, never mind. Just watch the plots unfold in UMNO from now on. It’s an re-enactment of ‘The Three Kingdoms’

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