Posted: 15 Oct 2013 05:26 PM PDT
Umno delegates here have sent a clear message to the new leadership of the Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings of Umno to put up a strong front for the coming 14th general election.
The election results of the three wings last Saturday showed delegates chose a combination of experienced leaders and new faces and not mere weekend representatives.
Pengkalan Chepa Youth head Mohamad Rizal Razali said his team would start working much earlier so that the community can identify and trust them as being capable leaders who can fight for the people's interest.
A political observer, Professor Abdul Halim Sidek said the new leadership, which is a combination of old and new faces, could energise and power Kelantan Umno to seize the state from the PAS administration during the 14th general election.
"I can see a good shift in the new leadership of the three Umno wings in Kelantan. The injection of new blood into Umno would be a major impact for the party's struggles to regain the state," he said.
He said on the whole, delegates were satisfied with the election process brought about by the political transformation introduced by the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who is also Umno president, for greater democracy and transparency in the election.
"The new leadership, a combination of old and new faces, is a positive development for the party to face its future challenges," he said.
Posted: 15 Oct 2013 05:17 PM PDT
How is it possible that a man with such a racist mental orientation can be pushed to the forefront of national leadership?
Koon Yew Yin, FMT
The last few weeks have seen the Umno vice president candidate Ahmad Zahid Hamidi pull out all the stops to endear himself to the Malay heartland. His campaign tactics have included:
The Tiga Line is believed to have links with Malay NGO Pertubuhan Kebajikan dan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Pekida), which in turn is strongly linked with Umno. The group is alleged to be involved in drug distribution, car-jacking and night-club protection.
Columnists from the mainstream media have tried to downplay his irresponsible and inflammatory and racially divisive speeches, claiming that he is simply burnishing his "tough-guy image" and linking his comments to the ongoing leadership campaign for the three vice president positions in the party.
As articulated by The Star's main political writer, "[a]fter all, Umno is the abbreviation for United Malays National Organisation. Its members are essentially Malay nationalists, patriotic to king and country and bound together by the religion".
Should we Malaysians accept this rationalisation for some of the most rabid public speeches ever made by a senior government minister?
Should we see it as just 'halal' or 'kosher' political talk and agree that there is nothing wrong with such talk because Zahid is a Malay nationalist?
Should we simply shrug our shoulders and accept that what Zahid and his supporters, and similar contenders for other positions, are sprouting is simply campaign talk – a position which The Star would prefer its readers to accept?
Political behaviour in Malaysia
In most other democratic countries of the world, guilty politicians making such utterances – when exposed – would be forced to commit political hara kiri.
Zahid's defence of extra-judicial killings is especially contemptuous. Make no doubt about it – it is a tacit invitation to the police to engage in killings whenever they feel remotely threatened.
Any other politicians with any sense of personal honour would resign or would be compelled by his superior – in this case, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak – to leave office.
In any other multi-racial society, the public shame and odium of these racist views would condemn the miscreant to resign and retire from public office and politics.
But not in Malaysia where they get away scot-free with the connivance of the mainstream media which not only looks the other way but also makes excuses for them. As the cynics put it, "Malaysia Boleh!"
Far from being chastised or publicly shamed, Zahid and his supporters now think of him as the 'chosen one". Most polls have him as the front runner amongst the vice president candidates and presumably in the running for the country's top position in the foreseeable future.
To me the accolades and support that Zahid is gathering from Umno members is symptomatic of what is wrong with the party. How is it possible that a man with such a racist mental orientation can be pushed to the forefront of national leadership?
This is not to forget his violent behaviour which would have likely put him behind bars if we had an impartial and non-partisan police. This happened when as Defence Minister in 2010 he was alleged to have bashed up his daughter's boyfriend so badly that the man had to be hospitalised.
Let's also not forget his chequered past when he was an ally of Anwar Ibrahim but was welcomed back into the Umno fold for stating that Anwar had put him up to raising allegations of cronyism and nepotism during Dr Mahathir's time, and that Anwar had also abused his position as Finance Minister to direct business opportunities to him.
Can such a man be trusted? Apparently Umno supporters and rank and file seem to think so. The results of the race for vice president will soon be out.
Meanwhile the mainstream mass media is trumpeting the election of Khairy Jamaluddin and Shahrizat Abdul Jalil as proof of the triumph of the liberal and progressive faction in Umno.
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