Is there a power play behind all these ?

I have suspected that this is the case. Now a writer in Malaysian Insider has voiced out my suspicion.

I will post the article here:

When Umno sneezes we catch a cold
By Baradan Kuppusamy

SEPT 13 ~ History is repeating itself with the ISA blitz on Friday but not necessarily in the same manner or order as in 1987.

While before Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was fighting for his political life with Tengku Razaleih Hamzah, this time the Umno situation is more complicated with the political careers of several powerful individuals at issue.

There is Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, who has – after succumbing to great pressure – consented to hand over the reins power to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak in June 2010.

But that timetable is unacceptable to others who want him to leave before the Umno polls in December.As things stand now Abdullah is fighting a “do or die” battle to stay alive. It would be a miracle if he survives past December as Umno president.His fate will be decided during the Umno divisional elections beginning in October.Abdullah’s political weakness is contributing to the tensions in Umno and the country and giving grounds for others to play the tough guy on the Umno stage making possible such events as Friday’s scary arrests.Abdullah last contested in an Umno election as a vice-president in 1996. Since then he has never contested but favourable alignment of forces ensured he was returned unopposed as deputy in 1999 and later as president when Dr Mahathir retired.

Now as an incumbent president he is facing a possible challenge he has to fend off. In October he needs to get at least 58 Umno divisions to endorse him before he qualifies to contest.

It is a sign of the times that the chosen successor and Umno president since 2004 is beholden to his deputy Najib to secure the nominations he needs to stay in the ring.

Otherwise he will go the way of Ghafar Baba who as incumbent deputy president in 1993 failed to get the required nomination and had to give way to Anwar Ibrahim.


Early this year Najib had promised, on his father’s memory, to sink or swim with Abdullah but his tone has shifted in recent weeks. He now feels the transition plan that is under attack from many including vice-president Tan Sri Muyhiddin Yasain, has to be decided by the Umno divisions and not just by the supreme council.

Under the old deal Najib would help Abdullah get the nominations and through the December polls without problems and in return Abdullah would hand over to Najib in June 2010.

But that deal appears to be falling apart after Muhyiddin, as the point man, requested Abdullah’s early departure, preferably by December. The request has sparked a fiery tussle in Umno that adds to the political uncertainties.

Muhyiddin’s plan is for Abdullah to be gone by December for Najib to take over and for him to ride pillion as deputy.

Unlike in 1987 the current Umno power play is playing out in a politically charged atmosphere with Anwar Ibrahim stirring the nation with his Sept 16 attempt to take power.

That is clearly not going to happen. It never had a chance in the first place because its flaw is that it assumes that the enemy – who is armed with all the coercive laws and the means to enforce – would sit back and let the coup happen.

It’s like a child trying to snatch the banana from a gorilla. You could end up with your face torn off.

The gloves are now off going by Friday’s blitz, not just for political opponents but also for the newly liberated media with the show-cause letters given to The Sun, Sin Chew and Berita Keadilan.

It’s still early days for the Umno power alignment to clarify itself especially on the critical question of where Najib stands with the October nominations approaching.

But a massive and debilitating power play is already under way in Umno. Prepare for a wayang performance on the grand scale that would make Friday’s arrests pale in comparison.

It is because of this Umno dynamic, last seen in awesome display in 1987, that the ISA has come into play again, and newspapers are threatened and reporters and MPs arrested.

It reflects badly on the authorities that a reporter who simply did her job and reported a story, and just four paragraphs long, had to be detained without trial for no reason ~ an absolutely tragic outcome for the profession.

Public anger over her arrest is clear and it would be prudent for the government to release her immediately without any conditions.

One of the most hardworking MPs ever ~ Teresa Kok ~ has to be jailed because she is somehow connected to a petition asking mosques to lower the sound of their prayer broadcast ~ something she has repeatedly denied and her colleagues in PAS have even lodged a police report in her defence.

The reasons given, thus far, for her detention is far-fetched and unacceptable.

Still she was arrested along with the feisty Malaysia Today blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin who has been baiting Umno leaders and the police for a long time in his determination to make Anwar Ibrahim prime minister by Sept 16.

It’s another irrational sign of the times that individual bloggers believe they can determine the fate of a nation.

Nevertheless three persons have been arrested and jailed ~ ordered by Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar at a time when Umno and the “ketuanan Melayu” (Malay supremacy) political ideology is under attack and in retreat.

The move will win applause in all the right circles not just in Umno and BN but also among the uniformed authorities who recently voiced their “serious concern” over what they say is deteriorating race relations in the country.

It is significant too that Syed Hamid is occupying a powerful post with vast powers to arrest individuals, suspend or close newspapers and take other measures to curb legitimate dissent.

He is the son of Tan Sri Syed Jaafar Albar, the Lion of Umno, who is credited with leading the “Malay struggle” and winning against the likes of Lee Kuan Yew and others who were fighting for a “Malaysia for Malaysians”.

It is ironic that 40 years on, that struggle is now being led by a Malay in the person of Anwar Ibrahim.

A key question now is how hard the reactions will be from Pakatan Rakyat, the human rights NGOs and the international community.

The reactions and counter reactions will eventually shift the nation’s focus away from power play in Umno towards curbing opposition excesses.


22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. romerz
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 16:30:08

  2. romerz
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 16:41:21

  3. A true Malaysian
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 17:04:04

    Lacking in transparency in a system is the key problem Umno is facing now. This lack in transparency and non-competitive rules in an organization hierarchy has resulting in the arrangement of the so-called ‘power transition’ in Umno top leadership and its Wanita wing.

    At the end of the day, Umno grassroots are not getting a leader that they want. Just because Umno President is also traditionally our Prime Minister, other Malaysian at large suffers as well under such lacking in transparency and competitiveness in Umno.

    In hindsight, Lee Kuan Yew is right in fighting for a “Malaysia for Malaysians”. In other words, we Malaysia has wasted 51 years of nationhood.

    So, are we going to waste another half a century?


  4. jamesloh
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 17:48:50

    i wont live another 50 it now !


  5. veonszu
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 17:51:14

  6. Looking for Hockey players for TVC
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 18:31:55

    “In hindsight, Lee Kuan Yew is right in fighting for a ‘Malaysia for Malaysians’. In other words, we Malaysia has wasted 51 years of nationhood.

    Better late than never, for Malaysian Malaysia


  7. LHHeng
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 18:50:16

    We really have a pea brain clown running the country security.

    When someone threatens the life of a reporter, knowing full well who has made the threat, arrest the reporter and inflict untold amount of anxiety; fear and grieve to her family members while letting the culprit looms free. What logic??????
    Why dont he call his most “efficient” polce force to arrest the would be killers instead?
    I am sure he will know who these would be killer/s are. Its amazing.
    Our respectable Teresa Kok was arrested based on a report by this “pendatang” ex-MB. This showed how “fair” and “efficient” is our police force under this clown. That “pendatang” arsehole should be arrested instead.
    As for Theresa Kok, even the mosque officials have vouched for her. What are they doing!!!


  8. Kenny Gan
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 19:23:13

    The article is a good read but it doesn’t tell us who is behind the arrests and why. RPK I can understand but what would Badawi gain by flexing his strength on a lady reporter and a lady MP?

    If his shoring up his position his target should be the ones in Umno opposed to him and the racist Ahmad Ismail comes to mind. This guy is obviously trying to pull him down so who better to make an example of? What about Khir Toyo who has been vocal in demanding his resignation and actually the real culprit inciting the Malays over the mosque non-issue?

    OK, Teresa Kok may be to warn off the opposition but stopping at one doesn’t do the job. Ms Tan was obviously a bad mistake.

    It still doesn’t make sense to me.


  9. clearwater
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 20:30:22

    You cannot fathom UMNO leaders’ reasoning by the standards of a sane, logical and fairly intelligent man. You have to judge them by the standards of a failing, corrupt, greedy despot. Since we are not such, we fail to understand the many cross currents within UMNO and its leaders response to threats to its survival. Why, what, whom will be revealed in days to come when the power play progresses. In the meantime, Malaysia and its denizens suffer.


  10. Kenny Gan
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 20:36:44

    Gerakan Statement
    The police should not have arrested Tan Hoon Cheng under ISA as she is only a carrying out her duty.

    I urge the PM to release her and Raja Petra (RPK) or put them to trial.

    Their arrest has upset many people and gives the perception of unfair prosecution and double standards.

    Gerakan reiterates our stand against applying ISA on journalist.

    Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon
    Acting President PGRM

    Chua Jui Meng
    “Why then is this poor 33-year-old girl being detained under the most draconian of laws in Malaysia where she cannot even claim trial? It is blatant discrimination that the man who made seditious statements still walks free while the person who reported him is disproportionately and inappropriately punished,” said MCA leader Chua Jui Meng.

    “Rather than closing an embarrassing chapter we have now exacerbated the situation,” Chua added.

    Samy Vellu
    “I have spoken to the prime minister on the phone today urging him to request Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar to immediately release her,” said S Samy Vellu, MIC president.

    I’m no fan of Chua Jui Meng or Samy Vellu, both of them fall short in my books but compared to Koh Tsu Koon’s insipid statement…..Koh falls far, far shorter as a leader. I have no adjective to describe him.


  11. klm
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 21:09:02

    Hi Kenny

    How about bottom crawling invertebrate to describe our friend.


  12. A true Malaysian
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 21:20:49

    The lesson that we learned from this episode of detaining the Sin Chew Daily reporter is that, if the person implicated in the report apologize by saying a simple ‘sorry’, then things supposed to be a lot simpler than what we witnessed.

    If Ahmad Ismail could say a simple ‘sorry’ before that, he and Umno will gain extra mileage for himself and his party.

    The situation somehow back to square again as reason given by Syed Hamid Albar that the reporter was arrested under ISA was to protect her safety did not convince Malaysians at all.

    Perhaps a simple ‘sorry’ can solve all these confusions created.

    So, just learn how to say ‘sorry’ if we committed any wrong, mistake and insult. This will bring you extra mileage in one’s goodwill.


  13. Justin Choo
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 21:29:48

    Kenny Gan,

    All these “statements” by the had-been parties are stale meat.

    Enough of all these nonsense.

    We MUST change the HOPELESS government NOW!!


  14. annoyed
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 21:48:49

    Sound Advice to Che Det

    Very good article in Din Merican’s blog by JD Lovrenciear

    Another example for people who never how to say a simple ‘sorry’.


  15. chaptokam
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 22:14:43

    Justin Choo

    We MUST change the HOPELESS government NOW!!

    As easy as changing car tyres .

    Wonder where were you when the has beens parties were demonstrating in front of the Penang Police HQ last night ! probably at a karaoke joint singing away ! What a joke from this arm chair blogger or just another Anwarista !


  16. Kenny Gan
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 22:38:01

    Here’s a very insightful article from the Malaysian Insider. I’m pasting it in full here for convenience. A must read.

    The lonely world of Umno

    KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 – The crisis that Malaysia”s United Malays National Organisation (Umno) is now in has two correlated sources. First, its hold on power has always depended on it being at the head of a coalition. Second, it has always been a party given to internal strife.

    The party was after all formed defensively in 1946 by a broad spectrum of Malay leaders bent on quashing British post-war plans to simplify the governance of its peninsular colonies. The Malays feared that the British were playing them out and that they were in danger of being permanently disadvantaged vis-a-vis non-Malay colonial subjects.

    It was only after its second president, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, took over in 1951 that Umno became a party that was on the offensive. It adopted a positive goal full independence for Malaya.

    However, it was not a strong party in itself. Although the Tunku worked the ground very thoroughly in the beginning and read the situation correctly, it would take him a while to whip up support for the new direction along which he would take the party.

    What proved a decisive moment and one in which he was not involved was when an electoral coalition was worked out in February 1952 between the Selangor branch of the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) and Umno”s Kuala Lumpur Division. This experiment proved highly successful in ensuing local elections, catching many, including the Tunku, by surprise.

    One whole year would pass before a national network of Umno-MCA liaison committees was finally set up. This took place on March 16, 1953, and with that, the Alliance was established. The Malayan Indian Congress (MIC) would join in April 1954 to make the picture perfect.

    What this short history reveals is that it is coalitions that rule Malaysia, not parties. And for that to be possible, each race-based party in the coalition must enjoy the trust of its community.

    Umno”s strength has always been directly tied to the support and strength of its non-Malay allies. Conversely, its crises are also tied to their crises. Umno could never, and can never, rule alone, or even act as if it did or does.

    When the MCA lost Chinese support in 1969, the Alliance went into crisis. Now, when the MIC is abandoned by Indian voters and the Parti Gerakan Rakyat by Chinese voters, the Barisan Nasional (BN) suffers the same fate.

    So, how could so hegemonic a system as the BN end up in such a predicament? To get the answer, one needs to understand the balance that Umno, the dominant party, has to maintain between the support it can enjoy from its allies and the strength that these allies must retain in order to survive.

    The two are symbiotically connected. Since the strength of a race-based party depends on it being seen by its community to be standing up for its collective interests, a coalition of race-based parties must play an intricate game where the strong limits itself so that the weak are not neutered.

    Everyone must be seen to be strong.

    This seemed too tall an order for a party as strong as Umno to keep. It saw itself grow from strength to strength over the years, and saw how its allies grew more and more compliant.

    It was easy for Umno”s leaders and members to forget how necessary the aforementioned tactical balance was to the well being of the BN.

    The leader of its Youth wing began waving an unsheathed keris at the party”s general assemblies, and even the president of the party, and Prime Minister of the country at that, received the gift of the National Flag taken up into space by the first Malaysian sent there, as head of the party, and not as head of the country.

    Double standards favouring Umno members became a common occurrence, and a blind eye was turned only when it suited party members.

    What such acts by Umno and its members accomplished was to show the general public that the mutual aid principle that the BN relied upon was dead.

    Once this became clear to voters, the rational choice open to them was to abandon the coalition. This was made easier by the fact that the opposition parties managed to provide what appeared a viable alternative.

    Umno”s hubris grew from it forgetting that it stood on the shoulders of the BN, and that it had never been, and can never be, powerful enough to rule by itself.

    Through prolonged lack of training, it lost the strategic skills that the system depended upon. The negotiating attitude that race-based parties need, not as a matter of good manners but as a matter of good tactic, in order to function as a coalition was forgotten.

    But as so many porcelain shops teach us, -once broken, considered sold-.

    Once hubris has set in, there is no turning back. – TODAY


  17. Justin Choo
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 23:35:57


    I am no monsterball. And I won’t waste another second on you. Dr Hsu’s blog is for us to voice our opinion. You are entitled to yours and so am I. Don’t bother to post a counter comment for I shall not respond.


  18. monsterball
    Sep 14, 2008 @ 08:12:05

    Smart man…..Justin!
    I am reading more than posting …so you are next.
    Freedom of speeches have it’s weaknesses in blogging. It depends alot on the blog owner to indentify….who is trying to trying to be too smart.. with whom. Again great smart reply!!
    I am actually more concern about those who are holding candle light virgils.
    All blogs are talking same subject.
    Be active Justin!


  19. chaptokam
    Sep 14, 2008 @ 19:45:50

    Justin Choo

    I hit the nail on the head ! As RPK says the TRUTH HURTS . Just imagine a bunch of unmentionable people roaming the blogs and preaching your gospel of changing the govt . Ya thats easy , like changing car tyres !! . You have turned a neutral blog into a anti-govt propaganda blog asking to change the Hopeless govt.
    You are right Dr Hsu’s blog is for everyone to voice their opinion , however what you are doing is beyond opinion .


  20. chaptokam
    Sep 14, 2008 @ 19:57:41

    Smart man….monsterball

    I am actually more concern about those who are holding candle light virgils.
    All blogs are talking same subject.

    hope to see you there !! I think you’ll make a very good virgil keeper . Same here except we don’t announced ourselves . Tonight see you monsterball ! in front of Bukit Aman main gate .


  21. Dr Hsu
    Sep 14, 2008 @ 20:16:52

    I am Justin is only voicing out his opinion. I hope we can agree to disagree, without ridiculing other people’s views.

    I appeal to all of you , please do not target your comments against fellow commentators.


  22. monsterball
    Sep 14, 2008 @ 21:51:30

    Doc..You go and judge who is insulting who..under the disguise of how to agree to disagree.
    Justin have spoken.
    He will not response.
    He is such a fine Buddhist. But I will response…only if the message is worth responding. right now.controlling …to respect you.
    Like I said….actions speak louder than words.
    So many haver seen me in action.
    One who keep.. talking cock and bull…have yet to get bloggers confirming …seeing him in action.
    But then….in blogging…thick skinned ghost riders …plenty.
    Your blog..your guests….who are good ..who are hypocrites…who are crazy..who are trying to be wise guys….smart to judge others….you should know.
    Most important…you blog should bloom to have more and more new visitors and commentators putting out.. smart comments…as time goes by.
    Are you seeing it happening now?
    All the best.


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