- The wheel has turned for Khairy
- Uneasy times for DAP
- What I fear about DAP is this…
- Anti-TPPA: Debunking the misconceptions
- What Asians did without Obama
Posted: 13 Oct 2013 06:26 PM PDT
Khairy Jamaluddin's ability to take on the tsunami politics of the last few years was a major reason for the sweeping vote of confidence in him to continue as Umno Youth leader.
Joceline Tan, The Star
KHAIRY Jamaluddin showed little emotion even as the feedback from his boys on the ground showed that he was going to win big on Saturday night.
The SMSes were beeping in fast and furious and lots of calls were coming in.
Every single one of the messages and calls conveyed positive news on his bid for a second term as Umno Youth leader.
But he kept his composure.
There were no celebratory gestures or show of elation, even as the numbers edged past the target of 175 divisions that his team had set out to achieve.
His team could hardly contain their excitement when the dozen or so divisions they had considered as less than friendly to Khairy also gave him their votes.
That was when they realised that Khairy was speeding towards what they thought was the impossible – a perfect sweep of all 191 divisions, leaving his four challengers in the zero zone.
It was only when he arrived at the PWTC at about 10pm, wearing the white-and-red Umno Youth baju Melayu, that he had relaxed enough to smile and wave at those calling out to him.
His mother Datuk Rahmah Hamid and wife Nori Abdullah were with him.
Datuk Alwi Che Ahmad, the former political secretary to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, was in Mecca when he heard about Khairy's win.
His immediate reaction was: "Wow! Overwhelming support."
Alwi had watched how Khairy struggled in his first term as Umno Youth chief because he was regarded as a "minority leader" after securing only slightly more than a third of the votes in the three-way fight in 2009.
But he is now the clear-cut choice of the Youth delegates and the big winner among the three wings.
Wanita Umno's power woman Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil also crushed her competitors but had to concede five divisions to one of her challengers – Datuk Maznah Mazlan.
But, said Alwi, a big win also comes with high expectations and big responsibilities.
"He has a lot to do, to carry out what is expected of him. But it is very important that he should not become proud or acquire airs. Humility is important when they give you so much support," said Alwi.
The humility thing aside, the big win will give Khairy the clout to push through the ideas and plans he has for the Youth wing, that is, to groom new leaders in the wing, win over fence-sitters and ensure that young Malay voters remain with Umno.
Moments after acknowledging that he had won, he said it meant that the grassroots were ready to go along with his progressive and liberal agenda.
Khairy will add energy and dynamism to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's team.
He has shown that he is not afraid of challenges and he dares to tackle the Opposition. Najib can rely on him to play that role.
The wheel has turned for Khairy. During an interview with The Star shortly before the campaign started, he described what he had gone through in politics as a wheel – sometimes up, sometimes down.
His first victory as Youth chief was followed by one of the lowest points in his political career.
He said he had spent the last four years trying to rehabilitate his career and admitted that there had been a point when he thought of calling it quits.
His father-in-law and former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who had his share of political ups and downs, advised him to be patient, persevere and stay relevant.
"I've learnt that you have to roll with the punches. You need to be patient because when you are down, it's not easy to be patient. You've got nothing - no influence, no friends, no future.
"You have to wait for the wheel to turn again.
"Sometimes, it turns quickly, sometimes it takes years and in politics, a week is a long time," he said.
There was so much scepticism about Khairy when he took over the wing in 2009.
But he has shown his party that he can survive the tsunami politics of the last five years and the sweeping win is basically about the Youth wing telling him that he has proven himself and deserves their full support.
Besides, Malay politics is such that there is often a reluctance to support a candidate who is sure to lose and that was how the Youth delegates viewed Khairy's challengers.
After a brief press conference at the media centre, he gathered his team around him to thank them and even exchanged man-hugs with a few of them.
That was when they knew that the pressure of the race had lifted because Khairy is not a touchy-feely person.
In fact, he can be quite aloof and some friends even say that he is actually a rather shy person who is not very good at making small talk.
That may be one area he will have to work on if he is to make further progress in the grassroots politics of Umno.
The Khairy team then went down to the fourth floor of the PWTC where the portrait gallery of Umno leaders is located.
On the way down, they came across Shahrizat's team and also the new Puteri Umno chief Mas Ermieyati Samsudin.
That was when the celebratory mood kicked in for them and there was a lot of laughter and cheering as they posed for one photo after another.
But the last and most important photo shot for Khairy was him posing against the backdrop of the former prime minister whose advice had helped him to persevere and wait patiently for the wheel to turn.
Posted: 13 Oct 2013 06:19 PM PDT
Baradan Kuppusamy, The Star
Trouble is brewing in the DAP on several fronts - in Johor, Kedah, Sabah and Malacca and even in Perak – as the party prepares to hold state elections in December where opportunities arise for the central leadership to engineer the replacement of state leaders seen as recalcitrant.
This move to exert greater central control is causing friction with the respective state leaders who have become used to the leeway they always have to administer their respective states.
In Perak, another long-standing feud again erupted between proxies of Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran and state chairman Ngeh Koo Ham and secretary Nga Kor Ming with a DAP member's Facebook posting alleging the cousins were "lining their pockets."Nga denied the allegations but the political damage was done.
Dr Boo had also questioned party policies like the Malaysian Dream movement and other policies and had skipped a meeting with Guan Eng and others in Sungei Renggam, Johor, on Saturday night to discuss his grouses.
A text message that he had a "throbbing headache" was sent to Guan Eng.Clearly Dr Boo was unhappy with the recent developments in the party, especially the central leadership takeover of the Kedah state committee and he fears that the same could happen in Johor.
"His position as Johor DAP chairman is now at risk," said a DAP veteran branch secretary adding if it can happen in Kedah it can happen to other states as well.
In Kedah, the CEC suspended the state committee and appointed Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari as caretaker Kedah chairman replacing a democratically-elected committee, as was said by the former chairman Lee Guan Aik.
While some in the DAP see Dr Boo's suggestion to form an independent panel as a rebellion against the central leadership, Dr Boo's supporters said he was merely suggesting a better mechanism to resolve the Kedah crisis.
"The era of state warlords is over," said another member who is a supporter of the central leadership.
"We have to work as a team and ensure that the team comes out tops… not the individual. This is the corporate culture the world over," he said.
He said this is also what the delegates want and as proof pointed to the recent CEC election on Sept 29 where all the state warlords were either at the bottom of the list or were defeated.
The rise in infighting between state leaders and central leadership is also a sign that the party was in a quandary, political analysts said.
"The DAP is a political success but it has big problems managing success especially the rise of young professionals and their movement to occupy important party posts," said a political veteran.
"This has upset the old guards like Dr Boo who was used to having his way in Johor," he said.
The same kind of dynamics is taking place in other states where the old guard has to deal with the young Turks, causing uneasiness in Kedah, Johor and Malacca and elsewhere.
Posted: 13 Oct 2013 05:47 PM PDT
The recently held DAP CEC re-election reminds me of the 'bisa diatur' Umno's party elections.
CT Ali, FMT
Sweet and sour oranges look the same from the outside. It is only after you peel off the skin and taste the fruit will you be able to know if they are sweet or sour. Many a dishonest hawker have profited by selling sour oranges as being sweet and juicy!
The same with Umno and DAP. For me DAP and Umno are one and the same thing in how they project a sweet public persona and yet conduct their party affairs in a sour manner that fool so many of us.
DAP has achieved much in the last two general elections – achieved through great discipline, hard work and entrenched Chinese support. It has gone from strength to strength winning from a low of nine parliamentary seats won in the 1995 general election to garnering 38 seats in the last general election.
If truth be told they can lay claim to be the leader within the Pakatan Rakyat coalition by virtue of their electoral gains – an additional 10 seats between the 12th and 13th general elections – a feat no other member of the coalition was able to match. But what are they really like?
It took half a century for the rakyat to finally wake up to the arrogance, nepotism and corruption within Umno and when they did, the punishment meted out to Umno during the 12th and 13th general elections was a political disaster for Umno.
I predict that with DAP, the social media will quicken the process many times over.
Politicians who lie for short-term advantage are par for the course. Those who lie when caught between a rock and a hard place are harder to forgive but their supporters may still find enough compassion in their hearts to forgive, but maybe not to forget.
But politician who goes down the sordid avenue of hypocrisy risks more than just their integrity (if there were any in the first place!) and any reserve of goodwill they may have amongst those who are prepared to give them a chance at governing.
Truth is the recognition of realities. It is time we begin to see the DAP for what it is. Hypocrites!
Let us take their latest spate with the Registrar of Societies. All guns (at least those belonging to Lim Kit Siang, Karpal Singh, Lim Guan Eng and their cohorts) are trained at ROS for being the running dogs of the Barisan Nasional government in harassing DAP in the manner they conduct their party polls.
Let us get one thing crystal clear. ROS is not bothered about the result of the polls but they are bothered in the manner DAP did not adhere to their own constitution when conducting the polls.
That all DAP branches must be given 10 week notice is the requirement in DAP's constitution, not a requirement of the ROS. And if this recent party polls did not follow that same 10-week notice requirement to be made to all DAP branches – guess what ROS are going to do again?
Just address the problem
So please DAP stop beating the drums to tells ROS and the BN government that the Chinese within DAP are restless. Why not just address the problem?
Surely party secretary-general Guan Eng must not think that:
Not bloody likely!
Yes PKR has its problems but PKR wears its heart on its sleeves. They had problems with Zaid Ibrahim and it was out there for us to see.
Azmin Ali had problems with Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Nurul Izzah, again out there for us to see. Anwar Ibrahim cannot tell Azmin what to do? Once again we saw it all unfold in real time.
I say I am more comfortable with the PKR devil that I know than a DAP devil that I don't!
What I fear about DAP is this – what we see is not what it is! The recently held party CEC re-election reminds me of the "bisa diatur" Umno's party elections – done to maintain the CEC status quo.
More truthfully, it was done to enshrined Guan Eng's people within the party CEC so as to enable easy passage of Guan Eng's political agenda to make DAP into his image – a Chinese one.
That RM64 million for the Jabatan Agama Pulau Pinang is just a smokescreen to pacify the Malays.
I am no racist but if you are Chinese, then you must be comfortable with DAP and the direction it is travelling to.
The Malays and the other races have their own take on the situation but then why should Kit Siang and Guan Eng be bothered about what they think. For now multi-racism be dammed.
Posted: 13 Oct 2013 05:34 PM PDT
The writer debunks some of the myths about TPPA, and why the opposition to it serves beyond, if at all, the purpose of only these various special interest groups.
By Anas Alam Faizli, FMT
Bantah TPPA, the largest single voice yet far in the ongoing battle against TPPA, has made significant inroads into increasing public awareness and engaging various stakeholders, industry experts, as well as the government to address the potential harms of the TPPA onto ordinary Malaysians at large.
Posted: 13 Oct 2013 08:57 AM PDT
More difficult, but notable would be for American negotiating tactics on the TPP agreement to be balanced, to allow Asian partners to feel more like partners.
More attention was given to United States President Barack Obama's late decision to cancel his trip to Asia than to what the region did without him. This is testimony to America's enduring power and the President's prestige.
Focus intensified also because of the circumstances that triggered the cancellation — dysfunctional Beltway politics that has brought the world's largest economy to the edge of default.
Continuing market concerns about the debt ceiling crisis may validate the decision to prioritise domestic concerns. But that does not mean — as some in America think — that there was little cost for the cancellation or that Asians did not move ahead on their own agenda.
What China did received much attention, but it is wrong to see Beijing's gains as being at America's expense. The new Chinese leadership always planned to make an early and strong impression across the region.
Visiting Malaysia and Indonesia, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to accelerate trade and investment — much welcomed as growth is slowing. In Jakarta, he became the first foreign leader to address parliament in the region's largest democracy and also provided a safety net for the weakening rupiah with a currency swap worth some US$16 billion (S$20 billion).
Attending the wider summits, Premier Li Keqiang set a new context for ties with ASEAN. China now aims to make the South China Sea a "sea of peace" and calm the disputes that have bedevilled relations. No claims were retracted, but concrete next steps identified are to establish communication hotlines, search and rescue cooperation, and an informal dialogue amongst defence ministers.
Beijing will also upgrade the free trade agreement with ASEAN, with ambitious trade and investment targets. The Philippines — vocal disputants over maritime issues — will not be pacified. But with others, these Chinese efforts can be persuasive.
ASEAN MOVES BEAR WATCHING
One is the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund that will soon commence lending. While this begins with only US$1 billion, the fund, supported by the Asian Development Bank, can gather momentum to support connectivity needs.
Another initiative is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to tie together ASEAN's free-trade agreements, from Japan to India, and down to New Zealand.
The first RCEP Ministerial Meeting was held in Brunei this year and the effort, which excludes the US, bears watching in relation to the Obama-endorsed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
A third notable decision taken by ASEAN was the adoption of the Sub-Regional Haze Monitoring System. Normally the domain of environment ministers, the fact that leaders signed off shows escalating concern over fires in Indonesia that this year severely impacted not just local communities, but also Singapore and Malaysia. This demonstrates that even sensitive issues of sovereignty are being addressed among Asians.
These are just some of the long list of items on ASEAN's agenda and each may not rank as urgent or earth-shattering. But taken together, they add up to an important signal: Asian regionalism is thickening to develop detailed and real measures.
'ASIA ALONE' REGIONALISM
Mr Obama's absence did not derail this. It only raises issues about whether the Americans want and can be present to participate, or if it will just become an occasional if honoured visitor.
Back in 1998, amidst the Asian crisis, another US President skipped a visit to the region. While Presidents Bill Clinton and then George W Bush did subsequently visit key countries in the region, that incident sparked the sense that Asia should deepen regional cooperation amongst themselves, excluding America.
Following that, the first summit among East Asians was held and, over the next decade, China's influence and ties grew exponentially.
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