"THERE IS SOMETHING ROTTEN IN THE STATE"
...of Malaysia", was how ex-Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad described the status of the country, adapting a quote from Shakespeare's "HAMLET", replacing "Denmark" with NegaraKu, which is not a pleasant sobriquet coming from a former UMNO leader who handed over the reins of power to a new captain about four years ago. After a 22-year rule. Much water has flowed under the bridge. Straight, crooked, built or imagined. The ever-cynical but humourous -- or sarcastic is the better word? -- former CEO who steered the ship for 22 years, controversially said the current situation is so bad that a group of concerned Malaysians have rallied around to find ways and means to "check" the smell of the rotting state of affairs. Calling themselces MAJLIS PRIHATIN MALAYSIA or Prima -- no, not the milk brand! as Dr Mahathir wise-cracked -- the group organised a dialogue with some 250 to 300 people (Desi's estimate-lah), comprising members of NGOs and Bloggers mainly, hosted by Dr Mahathir at his spacious Perdana Leadership Foundation office in Putrajaya. "If we were to believe the mainstream media, the State of Malaysia is in fine shape, and it's fragrance surrounding the air in the fields of the economy, politics and social aspects affecting the rakyat," Dr Mahathir wryly summarised. ASIDE: Readers of my report today, done as closely following the ground rules of the press as a journalist could try,must be cautioned that the audience present at the packed auditorium could view the sprightly 82-year-old's body language, and so must work their grey cells a little to se if the former PM was saying things in half-jest. (As is wont to do by some Bloggers, including Desi hear, th elder statesman chose his words pretty double-edged, so one had to be discerning to know who the barbs of sarcasm were meant for.) So while I give you one account, it's best you also surf to Raja Petra Kamaruddin's famous site to view the video as Dr Mahathr's body language -- especially his wordsmithry as baffling as Desi's sometimes -- could leve the inattentive listener wondering whither his targets were, and a journalist might even interpret wrongly and earn the elder statesman's ire. As I had observed in my earlier posts, it's a case of either you love the guy, or you hate him, seldom in between. But as newsmen's copy depends on colouful subjects, Dr Mahathir never fails in delivering, so the newshound in Desi was pleasantly entertained. The state of Denamrk now transferred to NegaraKu that was rottening include the following areas, my paraphrase: * Crimes are now rising, including violent ones, compared to his times (1981-2003), and the people don't feel secure or safe, hesitant to venture out from their homes; * If one believes the MSM -- mainstream press, the economiy is doing fine. But the Rakay on the ground say they don't see anything "happening". * Yes, the Government keeps announcing mega-mega projects, running into tens of billion, "Yet they canclled several of my mega-projects running into few billions, citing that the coffers have run dry, with the double-tracking rail project cancelled within two weeks of my stepping down". * Now the Government is announcing all sorts of corrdiors up north, down south, eastwards, but were the contracts awarded in any transparent manner after getting the GLCs to oversee these projects? Dr Mahthair's numerous questions directed of course to the nation's new CEO. * Dr Mahathir reiterated about Singapore's status of needing to be consulted before Malaysia could embark of certain projects; the old sand and water at 3sen per 100 gallons thingy still lend some smell to the Malaysian air-space, expected to linger for a while. Desi managed to squeeze in a knotty question during Q and A, with a rambling preface-lah, showing that I was no ordinary journo, as I showed I did some home-work, yet I was apprehsensive as the former PM occasinally had voiced some less than favourable statements about the Fourth Estate. (He recalled a difficult time with malaysiakini.com (hey, when George Soros-Rogue traders issue was hot then, I was da nu'es editor, if I am not mistaken...) But I was happy to hear that he now considers Bloggers as a voice of influence to right the many wrongs and ills besetting Denmark ala NegaraKu. Hey, maybe I should turn Desi's Place commercial with his clarion call for rousing support among the people to speak boldly; otherwise, the nation is heading towards the Abyss (Dr Mahathir did not use the Abyss word, mine as I had been saying often we are indeed heading over the cliff...they mean the same thing, I think.) Back from digression, I prefaced my concern on PETRONAS by saying that I as a commoner didn't get to taste any of Petronas sweet fragrance despite it reporting rising net profits every year. From RM35.5buillion to RM43.6billion to RM54.4billion in the last FYE March 31, 2007; yet the pump oil prices keep rising. Where have the funds gone. I asked Dr Mahathir coyly by stating I was THINKING ALOUD -- sdr jeffooi's mantra I follow often! -- -- did the national oil corporation syphon off its profits elsewhere? Did the largest and most profitable entity in Malaysian under-report its revenues? Dr Mahathir said half in jest, or was he awe serious? THAT HE WAS A MALAY ADVISER, NOT A BRITISH ADVISER. The brits had authroity and their advice was followed by the locals. As Petronas as well as Proton's adviser, he was expected to maintain "eloquent silence" (He did not use the two words this time around), my inference okay! "When I stepped down, they canclled the double-tracking rail project. Someone said I had dried up all of the public coffers," Dr Mahathir recalled. But now they are building super-mega projects -- north, south and eastern corridors, and yes, Petronas was indeed gaining lots of revenues the last three years, he affirmed. But he could not tell Desi if the oil corp was under-reporting its profits as well was advised to remain a silent Malay adviser, not a questioning British adviser. "But I know we need not borrow funds from China to build the second Penang bridge as Petronas profits could many many Twin Towers and many more brridges, yet..." I apologise my short-hand was not catching up with the former PM's quick wits, So I refrain quoting further on pain I misquote and get a love-letter via Sufi Yusof. Yes, journalism has many occupational hazards, also some fringe benefits-lah like a tea reception and tehtarik by Blogger-mates. IF I wrote out of turn, Sufi, explain to your Boss that sometimes newshounds over-dozed/overdozed on tehtarik -- I had five cuppa over the four-hour I was covering this Putrajaya event, gratis.I mean the five cpuua came gratis, as for reporting, I am trying to negotiate with a foreign wire. Lines crossed as I dialled... ONE gem I think was vintage Mahathir was his reply to an attendee's query about a Star reporter's comparision of Khairy more than Mukhriz, as a copy to the young Dr Mahathir, and his quick repartee was to the effect -- Yes, like me as a dictator,and other not nice or complimentary traits, so I won't re-state here on pain of mis-quoting as my steno-sexcretary did not accompany Desi. Neither did mGf zorro-unmsak bring along Cathy Z Jones who I heard 'rides pretty well. And Bid Dog did not bring his tape-recorder althought DR Mahathir recoognised he was a Big Man around blogsosphere. Hey, Bloggers are getting due respect hear! Come join ALL BLOGS, rockybru and I are adjoining for tehtarik cum SBrunch where I can negogaite my 30sen if I can convert more Malaysians to blog responsibly like him and Desi. Off course there are always some nasties showing their foul tongues and damaging rumours. Less rmouring, more humouring please, you blardy writers. Don't hide behind covers of anonymity -- my advice, not Tun Dr Mahathir. He just wants more Malaysians to be concerned about the rotting (fish-?) head -- that's another metaphor I think came from another retired Minister. I wonder if he could be recalled to do National Serice by saving the monster of a White Elephant in the Port Klang area. I understand wan Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy is having a nigtmare even during daytime in hot equatorial zone. Let's see whether the aura emitted from the Port is smelly or fragrant. I hear the Bard also said: A rose by any other name smells just as sweet. The trouble is Most Malaysian MPs don't even know that Shakespeare wrote Hamlet or Julius Caesar. Some might even think Caesar was a Russian emperor who fought Genghiz Khan, do you think so? Maybe Dr Mahathir's former Deputy DS Anwar Ibrahim should be sent as Tutor to that august House to teach the inmates -- some rude Malaysians call them monkeys -- some poetry. I don't mind being an intern-tutor -- 20million anyone?
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
We Agree to be Agreeable in our Disagreement
That's the motto to conduct rational discourse in Civil Society, and Sdr Din Merican was often practising in our banters -- yes, we even traded barbs with him defending former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and Desi quite vociferous in challenging his defence -- and we never were ever disrespectful to each other. In his latest post at bakrimusa.com reporting on BERSIH's historic "V" rally on November 10,2007, Din again promoted this ethos of civil discourse when responding to a Commenter, generally sharing his thoughts on WHY he joined the PKR vehicle under former DPM Sdr Anwar Ibrahim as a "political activist", whatever that means. I would have thrown some rotten eggs had he fronted himself as a "social actvist" chauffered around in a Merdes, caliming himself as The Face of National Service, but waiving responsibility for the deaths that occurred among the trainees -- Sack the DG, he cried -- but taking high credit for its so-called successes. Maybe TanSi LLT's working extra hard creeping onto more boards of blue-chip listed Companies in the steal of the night. Also fighting for national interest to get that tonnesheep -- oops, TUNship.Sorry folks for the digression. I just need to get that off my chest because the MSM giveth him daily coverage and traets him as Lord of all Issues, including new shares of laughing stocks on Bursaa Malaysiaa, but they were blind to 40,000-60,000 Malaysians marching for Free and Fair Elections, and Justice.Back to Sdr Din, now Programme Director at Sdr Anwar Ibrahim's Office, and VVe rendeswooed halfway round the VVorld in the USA, guests of the good doctor Sdr Bakri Musa:
"Din Merican Says: November 12th, 2007 at 4:08 am I am not a politician in the true sense of the word. I have entered the world of political activism, whatever that term means. In doing so, I have cast my lot with Anwar Ibrahim and KeADILan. My own professor of Rural Sociology at University of Malaya, Prof. Dr. Syed Husin Ali is with the party too. I feel good about reuniting with this unassuming gentleman and intellectual because I yet to meet another human being who is more dedicated than he in the service of his fellow Malaysians and the cause of justice and equity. I feel a man must be driven by an ennobling mission and high ideals. Prof. Dr Syed Hussin is one such person.It is not my purpose here to change your views about anything.
But I would like to say here that Anwar has not said any unkind word about former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir to me even in his most unguarded moment. I think we all at KeADILan respect the Tun has a one of an unusual kind national leader with lots of guts and intellectual power. Some of my colleagues may disagree with the Tun and his politics, but they are never disrespectful. The Tun would be a formidable competitor, if he was still in office.We cannot say the same about the present lot of UMNO leaders and opportunists who have ignored the Tun. Perhaps, it is because he cannot give them any more contracts.Anwar himself never denied that he was able to rise in UMNO to the status of Deputy President and in government as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance largely because of the Tun.
One day we will know just yet what actually happened between them during the period 1997-1998. In the meantime, there is lots of speculation and stories about it.I remain respectful of the Tun and am saddened that the people in the Badawi Administration are trying to blow out the former Prime Minister’s candle to make their man’s look bright. Let me say to you that even a thousand candles cannot help Badawi. They will, in fact, make him look more inept, dysfunctional and deceitful. Badawi pales in comparison to Anwar and that is a fact. I believe Anwar is the best Malay leader of his generation just as Tun Mahathir is the shining star of his. It is a sad accident of history that Anwar did (Desi inserts here a key word inadvertenly left out by Din -- "not")have the chance to succeed him as Prime Minister. But he may yet be, God willing, by sheer grit, hard work and good strategy. My colleagues and I are working to make it happen.Yes, we agree to disagree and I will defend your right to speak and express yourself freely ala ***Voltaire."
DESIDERATA: After much rumination,I will be the first to take on Din's take, and I won't allow hisconstantKopi-O kau-kau at Subang Jaya make me any less dilute in my rebuttal, because I will placate him with goblets of tehtarik afterwords.:)In the same spirit expressed by Din, in similar vein of ***Voltaire's ethos:"I may disagree with what you say but I will defend, to the death, your right to say it."~~ Voltaire:I continue.Dr Mahathir might have performed remarkably in the first decade of his administration, I have always saluted that. But it must also be noted that from the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis onwards, Malaysia saw some heart-breaking events as many of the businessmen who became victims of the crisis, marked by extrme falls in the then Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, were also cronies of several of the BN ministers. BAILOUTS were then the order of the day, but I won't detail them except cite the cases of Dr Mahathir's own son hit in a "slghtly biger than small" way -- the MISC debacle, remember? -- and the then MCA chief's own son, also hit in a "slightly bigger than small" way -- the youngest-billionaire-at-27, don't you remember? "Small" used in the context of billion-dollar losses, as Zakaria Mad Deros eloquently used as a benchmark to describe his RM7mil-10mil palace in Port Klang a decade later.But gostan to another decade before that, the 1988 sacking of LOrd President Tun Salleh Abas, and suspension of five senior judges, events well documented by my fellow writer KIM QUEK - that truly started the emasculaion of the Judiciary.The Lingam video tape scandal still in progress was an event that took place in 2002, almost a year plus before Dr Mahathir handed over the premiership in November 2003 to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. So brother Din, the culpability of the former UMNO president is just a difference in degrees from his successor who many enjoy lambasting as "sleepy-eyed", even catching 80 winks while standing with other national leaders at a regional event. If you are nice to RPK, he may point you to the hoto in his archives. Desi is technology-deficient, won't render this service for free. Indeed, I learnt from organising last year's BUM2007 thingy there is no such sure thing as a constant freelunch.So while Sdr Anwar has been diplomatic to Din -- a newbie into PKR which is to be welcomed!:)-- in not criticising his mentor Dr Mahathir, it remains a "fact" that the same bastardised Judiciary whose rot started a deacde earlier (when Anwar was himself a member in Tun Mahathir's Cabinet...) caused his (Anwar's) downfall.All in all, I would think Dr Mahathir would have been recorded in Malaysian history had he not overstayed by some 10 years. Malaysians like Desi would have judged him more kindly. But I believe he's making some amends -- indeed Blogsworld agrees with him when he concluded that the only media in NegaraKu that can report with facts and responsibility today is the infant and emerging Fifth Estate. I was happy I heard it from the horse's mouth one eventfulorning in Putrajaya.We all are human -- and "To Err is Human, To Forgive Divine" -- and we are hearened by Dr Mahathir's takes on some of the "rotten" things befalling the State of Malaysia-ala-Denmark, paraphrasing someone claimed to be the greatest writer born on this goode earthe. By the way, Dr Mahathir, Anwar and Desi share something in common -- we constantly quote the Bard. That's how some writHers achieve "greatnurse" by aRssocoiation. For badder or worse.The lust byte is abusing Poetic licence, in the tradition of one William Shakespeare.Din, I offer thee one golden goblet of tehtarik for listening so patiently. With Miss Sunthi if you like. Some arSENic for voyeurs hear?
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Dr Mahathir's gambit -- from an MSM vantage
Desiderata will feature only two news reports on the main protagonists in the next scene of the Sandiwara on the PWTC Stage. The final curtains are ready to fall.On other accounts, please invest RM1.20 on The People's Paper which must be selling better in view of the March 8 political Tsunami, and now the after-shocks.Tuesday May 20, 2008Dr M quits UmnoALOR STAR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has announced he is quitting Umno, in what is seen as his final push to force Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step down as Prime Minister and party president.His wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali has also quit, according to his website www.chedet.comDr Mahathir also called on Umno members to join him in this radical move, which he likened to “removing gangrene” in order for the party to survive.Except for two party veterans and one branch in the Merbok division, there were no other takers.Fans gather: Several people surrounding Dr Mahathir (centre) as he leaves the forum venue after announcing he was quitting Umno in Alor Star Monday.Abdullah, who expressed shock at Dr Mahathir's decision, however, reiterated that he would not give in to the pressure from the former premier.Party deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak offered to meet Dr Mahathir to “discuss the decision” to quit.Dr Mahathir has been on the warpath against Abdullah since 2004, claiming his successor was unfit for the job and has stepped up his attacks after Barisan Nasional's disastrous results in the March 8 general election.Related Stories:(Which Desi won't LINK as he does not wish to make any ER a lazy BUMmer like him. One is more than enough at Desi's Place!:): But to show I am democratic in Blogospheric overage, even on UMNO affairs, I gift my ER the Dr Mahathir's target's views after this! -- YL Chong*********************************************Dr M cuts ties with UmnoPM refuses to be cowed by ‘shocking’ decisionPAS man lit the ‘resignation’ fuseNajib: I’m willing to meet Dr MA desperate plea to UmnoReconsider decision, Ka Chuan urges MahathirUmno leaders shocked at moveKu Li: I’ll stay to fight AbdullahMahathir’s decision a blessing, says Musa Dissatisfaction against leadershipA contest of wills and wilesNik Aziz happy with Dr M’s move300 Merbok branch members take the cue from Dr MahathirTun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's journey in Umno**************************************************Tuesday May 20, 2008PM refuses to be cowed by ‘shocking’ decisionKUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he will not bow to pressure from former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to resign as prime minister and Umno president.He said he was “shocked and surprised” over Dr Mahathir’s sudden decision to quit Umno, calling the move a drastic action.He also said the resignation and call to other members to quit would not shatter the party as Umno had over three million members.“Maybe some will leave but I believe most of them still love Umno. I don’t know what Umno members are going to do but I would like to believe that the members will not leave,” he said.He urged Umno members to be taat setia (loyal) to the party and stay strong to continue the party’s struggle just like when it was first founded, adding that Umno’s existence was due to member loyalty.“I, as an Umno member, from the beginning until now, have never left the party and I will continue to fight for the party.“Umno has contributed much to the country and the people of all races, and we want Umno to continue the struggle,” he said after meeting party vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam here yesterday.Abdullah hoped that Umno members would think carefully before making any decision.He believed that the majority of party members would stay true to Umno.“Leaving Umno means leaving Barisan Nasional, that’s what it is,” he said, adding that he also believed that those who were likely to quit would not be among the MPs.He said this when asked to comment on whether the resignation of Umno MPs would reduce the number of Barisan MPs in Parliament.Abdullah also said he did not see why he should quit as Umno president and prime minister, as he “still had work to do”.On whether he would meet Dr Mahathir personally to advise him against his decision, he said: “Don’t ask me that question.”He also refused to comment on Dr Mahathir’s statement that the latter would only return to the party when Abdullah steps down from his party and government positions.PS: I spend quite some time -- "quite" here can mean either "a little", "substantial", or "a lot" your pick! as I often say, I am pretty democratic wit' my ER who have a SENse of humour buying Desi tehtari'! -- surfing Blogs, and at rockybru's just now, I spied a Commenter's comment (what else you ask!) which I find worthwhile to reproduce here.I tried to get the Commenter's permission as I seldom reprise other Comments at mGf's blogs -- but this one calls for exception, as inlife, one cannot be absolutely stickily inflexible. But when I mouse-d on ,it led to a non-active blogsite...or rather access is not open to BUMmers like Desi, I dunno y!:("Dear MarGeeMar if you are reading this by 1-1,000 chance: emailme via firstname.lastname@example.org and I buy thee tehtari', even lamb,, at Lingam's,kambing?"***************************************************MarGeeMar said...Malaysiakini reported today that former PM Mahathir has quit Umno. It also reported that former Kedah MB and former Agriculture Minister Sanusi Junid has also quit. It appears to me that Mahathir is trying to use Kurt Lewins philosophy of change management by asking Umno members to leave Umno now but rejoin it after Badawi 'has left the building'. This is akin to Lewins’ Freeze-Change-Unfreeze mechanism in Managing Change.The only problem here is that the Umno members by now wouldn’t want to gamble with their political careers but would be pretty enticing and justifiable for them to be Independent MP’s, meaning they are neither BN or Pakatan Rakyat (PR). When this happens, we would actually have an interesting scenario where Pakatan Rakyat will come to power by default without even needing the ‘kataks’ (frogs) as PR will be able to form a minority Government with BN fragmented.Why to do think former DPM Musa Hitam’s protégé Shahrir Samad is talking about a possible snap election? These UMNO racists will try anything now just to stay in power, as they know their days are numbered. The greatest fear the BN/UMNO politicians and their benefactors have is that when PR comes to power, you can just imagine the amount of dirt the new Pakatan Rakyat government will expose for all to see. You can expect even Bukit Aman to be turned inside out. Even IGP Musa Hassan’s toilet will not be spared. Say your prayers folks, for the Day of Judgement is at hand for BN/Umno and their cronies!As for Mahathir’s use of Kurt Lewin’s Change Model for Umno, I’m afraid Mamak Tongkang’s plan will only backfire. You see, Umno, Gapena, Majlis Pemuafakatan Melayu must come to a realization that communal politics in Malaysia is history. No amount of Keris rattling is going to bring Malay support back to Umno. The same goes to non-Malay support for non-Malay BN component parties. Today, a new dawn has come to Malaysia. Today, we call ourselves as Bangsa Malaysia. Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans, Eurasians don’t exist in this country any more. It only exists in our DNA. We are Malaysians for Ketuanan Rakyat! We are Bangsa Malaysia! Hidup Malaysia!11:01 PMDESIDERATA salutes the last point I highlighted, thus:"... Today, we call ourselves as Bangsa Malaysia. Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans, Eurasians don’t exist in this country any more. It only exists in our DNA. We are Malaysians for Ketuanan Rakyat! We are Bangsa Malaysia! Hidup Malaysia!"
Monday, May 19, 2008
Dr Mahathir De News-maker, Aweways
I am C&Ping from the NST Online a news development that's historic because of the Player involved -- Yes, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who ruled NegaraKu for 22 long years with an iron fist.The former Prime Minister who handed over the reins of power to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in November 2003 willingly now acknowledges he has made a BIG mistake in picking Mr Nice Guy as his successor.My picking up this report is mainly FOR THE RECORD, this being Wesak Day holiday I had not planned to write anything, but leisurely surfing for past one hour saw Dr Mahathir's latest "move" totally IN CHARACTER with the person/personality I know as a journalist tracking the ex-PM's acts and scenes on the UMNO Stage.I have said often you either like Dr M or you hate him -- seldom there's the shades of love-hate inbetweens. But one thing all newhounds like about him-- Dr M never fails in giving the press contents for GOOD COPIES!So here's another one, and before September 16, 2008, expect at least ONE MORE NEWS-BREAKING -- or is it NERVE-CRACKING? -- MOVE!2008/05/19Dr M quits Umno after accepting ‘dare’ to be first to resignBy : Noor Adzman Baharuddin & Adib Povera ALOR STAR, Mon:After goading Umno members today to temporarily resign from Umno as a sign of protest against the party president, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad took up a “dare” to take the lead by resigning from the party he had been a founding member of since 1946. However, he implored Umno members taking up his challenge not to join any other party and remain independent, at least until the Umno leadership was determined (after the December party elections). He indicated that he will only rejoin the party when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi steps down as Umno president. Dr Mahathir, an Umno life member, was answering questions from the floor after giving a talk at a forum entitled 'Future of the Malays after the 12th General Election' at the Star City Hotel in Alor Star, organised by the Kedah Malay Assembly Hall, when a member of the audience asked him if he would take the lead in quitting Umno.Identifying himself as Ismail Jaziz, he asked Dr Mahathir if he would take the lead since he had mooted the idea. To this, Dr Mahathir, in a serious tone said: “Waa, saya di cabar ni…(looks like I have been dared). Yes, I will leave Umno...until the party leadership is determined. Other Umno members should follow me.”Loud cheers erupted from the 1,500 attendees, which included assembly chairman Tan Sri Khalid Ahmad, Jerlun Umno division chairman Datuk Abdul Rahman Ariffin, State Assemblyman for Kuala Nerang Datuk Syed Sobri Syed Hashim, State Assemblywoman for Sungai Tiang Suraya Yaacob and former Kedah Menteri Besar Tan Sri Sanusi Junid."Malays, Umno members and many other people have sent Abdullah messages to express dissatisfaction with his leadership, especially after the March 8 general election but he remains unaffected. We have to be radical and brave and this is the only way to bring him down," he said.It is not immediately clear if his son, Datuk Mukhriz, also the MP for Jerlun and an Umno Youth Exco member, would follow suit. Another of Dr Mahathir’s son, Datuk Mokhzani, was reported as saying that his father's decision was a “sign of no confidence” in Abdullah’s leadership.Abdullah, in an immediate reaction, expressed shock at Dr Mahathir's resignation, saying" I didn't expect him to leave but I will continue to fight for the party."One notable Umno leader who has apparently took on Dr Mahathir's call to resign is Sanusi, who said he will release an official statement later.However, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, once Dr Mahathir's greatest foe but now seen as a key ally, dismissed expectations that he too would quit Umno, saying that he will continue with his bid to challenge Abdullah for the party presidency in the December party elections.Datuk Shahrir Samad, an Umno supreme council member and Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, was quoted by AFP as saying that Dr Mahathir's resignation may precipitate a general election."The shock resignation may compel many Umkno members, especially MPs, to quit Umno, thus forcing the Prime Minister to form a new Government or call for a snap election," Shahrir was quoted as saying.The former Prime Minister's announcement also caught his aides by surprise.Dr Mahathir explained that this was not the first time he was out of Umno. “Between 1969 and 1970, I was expelled from Umno but later, when many Malays and Umno members still supported me, I re-entered Umno. There was no problem. Just don’t join other parties.”At a Press conference later, Dr Mahathir said he will submit his resignation from Umno as soon as possible.He explained that that he decided to leave Umno because he felt the party could no longer serve as a genuine political party to protect Malay rights and interests, Umno's founding objectives.Dr Mahathir claimed Umno had now been made a party to only recognise Abdullah as Umno president and accord importance to the prime minister's family interests, with the nation's welfare taking a backseat. "I can list out the things that Abdullah had done to the detriment of our nation's interests," he said. "The Umno of today no longer holds to the party's founding goals when it was formed 62 years ago. That is why I have no hesitation whatsoever to leave the party," he said.Dr Mahathir said it was high time for Umno members who love the party to be bold for the future of Malays and that such a move would not cause the Malays to lose their political power."The Malays would not lose their political power. They want to correct things not because they simply want to leave. If they are brave to safeguard the party and the Malay struggles, then they must also be brave to take actions. However, we find that many Umno members can't even attend certain gatherings...division chairmen also cannot attend...what is this?"Dr Mahathir said when Tengku Razaleigh opposed him in 1988, former prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman had thrown his support for his opponent but he had never stopped any member to campaign against him (Dr Mahathir)."Now, we cannot say anything against the prime minister or the party president. This is not Umno," he said.Asked if Umno state assemblymen and MPs should also quit the party, he said they should if they truly love the party.Asked if his call and decision could be construed as him giving up on Umno, Dr Mahathir said he would not ask others to follow him if he himself was afraid to do so. Asked if his call would give added pressure for Abdullah to resign from his posts soon, Mahathir said: "I don't know about pressure. This man could not understand anything."Dr Mahathir insisted that his resignation had nothing to do with the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam video clip. "That is a court matter and I go to the courts. If they make allegations against me, I could also do the same and if I am found guilty, they can put me in jail but if I am not guilty, please don't arrest me anyway," he said. “I am just protesting against the Abdullah’s leadership of Umno and country."In their report leaked to the Press, the Commission of Inquiry named Dr Mahathir, lawyer Datuk V. K. Lingam, former chief justices Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and Tun Eusoff Chin, tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan and former tourism minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor, for conspiring to fix the appointments and promotions of judges.The government's then instructed the Attorney-General to begin investigations into the six figures named but Dr Mahathir responded by claiming that he would "not settle for less" than his day in court so that he could defend himself against allegations that he was at the centre of a judicial appointments scandal in 2001.Dr Mahathir had hoped that when investigations into the conspiracy were completed, he would be charged so that he can reveal what really went on behind the scenes at the time, including instances of judges lobbying him for promotions.Mahathir’s resignation was a culmination of two years of vitriolic criticisms against Abdullah. Dr Mahathir began finding fault with Abdullah after the latter cancelled several mega projects initiated by the ex-PM, notably the new bridge that would link Singapore with Johor Baru.In an immediate reaction, former Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat said Dr Mahathir is was the only leader who left Umno, pointing to Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Hussein Onn who never returned to Umno.“Yet, they were founding fathers of the party. They never return to the party after retiring so there is nothing unusual about his resignation. It has happened in the past and it happens now. It is unfortunate that after making so much noise, he is leaving the party. “His leaving would not have a serious effect to the party and I do not think that his action will be heeded by other members as they still love the party. After the last general election, Umno members have reflected deeply on what they should do to revive and revitalise Umno. They would not desert the party.”MCA vice president Datuk Ong Tee Keat said the resignation came as a shock to him because he never expected Dr Mahathir to do it. “Not at this juncture. At the moment, I am not sure what sort of effect or ripples it will cause BN and MCA. But I am convinced Umno, as an established party within the BN coalition, would have sufficient experience and maturity in resolving such problem. What is more important now is for BN to stay firmly together”. Gerakan secretary general Datuk Seri Chia Kwang Chye expressed shock at Dr Mahathir’s resignation. “This is shocking, it’s hard to believe. I hope this will not bring further instability to Barisan Nasional. I also hope things will settle down and the matter resolved in a calm manner.”MIC secretary-general Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said it was unfortunate for Dr Mahathir to resign from the party which he had been a president for a long time. “His instigating others to follow suit in light of the current problems faced by the party, will further weaken it. We hope other members will be clear-headed in this matter.”Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee said Dr Mahathir’s resignation sent shock waves because of his immense influence among Umno grassroots.” I think the nation is in for some exciting politics,” he said.Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) president Datuk Liew Vui Keong said Dr Mahathir’s decision should be respected and accepted by all concerned. “I can only wish him the best. His resignation may cause a ripple, but how far it will have an effect is best left to the party.”Sabah Umno liaison committee secretary Datuk Yahya Hussin described the resignation as “very unfortunate” because he was “our president.”PS:I found this peace of flotsam along Sungei Ujong late this evening -- I didn't know there were swans in Seremban Ribber. Are we now twoinned wit' Perth, Capt Yu...The Great White is kambing!Monday, May 19, 2008Swan SongPicturise the picture that thetsunami swept away!:((Source: Malaysiakini)The silver Swan, who living had no Note, when Death approached, unlocked her silent throat. Leaning her breast against the reedy shore, thus sang her first and last, and sang no more: "Farewell, all joys! O Death, come close mine eyes! "More Geese than Swans now live, more Fools than Wise" - Orlando Gibbons, The Silver SwanIn a breaking news, Malaysiakini reports, here, that former UMNO president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today announced that he was quitting UMNO with immediate effect and urged other members to emulate him. "I will only come back to the party when there is a change in leadership," the ex-premier said. However, he asked these members not to join other political parties.Well, he has jumped ship, which is clearly sinking into murky waters and hoping that his other misguided and delusional ship mates will join him. Lets hope the sharks don't get him first.He also probably must have thought that this was going to be his last hurrah, but it may just turn out to be his swan song instead.Logged by The Ancient Mariner at 16:37
posted by desiderata at 6:37 PM