Friday, July 27, 2012

Kedah: Losers and victors — Sakmongkol AK47

Kedah: Losers and victors — Sakmongkol AK47

July 26, 2012
Malaysian Insider
JULY 26 — The Umno strategists in its war room deserved to get Oscars for their clowning performance. We are kept hilariously amused. A few years ago, it was the 1 finger in everything — 1 Malaysia, 1 Klinik, Kedai 1 Malaysia, etc. Earlier on, Malaysians puked at the alphabet soup — NKRA, ETP, PDP, GTP. Then it was one million dreams, one thousand hopes leading to “Janji ditepati”.

A few days ago, I wrote, the PM doesn’t have to play hide and seek whether a bonus for civil servants is expected. I said it will definitely come. So it did, but when I heard the PM say “kita nak bonus raya ketidak”, expecting a rapturous response like a cheerleader does. That shows he has no class at all.

But then that is expected of someone who solves problems by paying his way through. Can we stomach his indulgent ways? After announcing the bonus, he says, expectedly, this is proof of the government’s sincerity. Then, likewise the Selangor government proves its sincerity by giving water free up to a certain level, is more sincere in refusing to let Syabas fleece the people, sincere in also giving Selangor civil servants bonuses. That is also further proof that if you manage the finances carefully, state governments can give bonuses. Let’s see if any BN-managed states can give its civil servants bonuses.

We can go on. The ability of the Penang state government in allocating RM62 million a year for Islam in that state must be proof of the state government’s sincerity. Correspondingly, the Negri Sembilan’s ability to provide only RM10 million a year proves its insincerity. The Kedah government’s ability to increase revenue from the timber and forestry sector must be proof of its efficiency and corruption-free government. The Kelantan government’s achievement in repaying all federal debts must be proof of its financial probity as opposed to Umno’s profligacy.

After pulling all the stops, scare mongering and other alarming and ominous stories what do they resort to? Got to have some intellectual respectability to its now fast disappearing legitimacy. It has called in some academicians to bolster its standing. On one fine day, the professors are assembled and directed to give good accreditations to Umno. What a pathetic move.

One associate professor says BN has a chance to recapture Kedah and among three research subjects, Mukhriz son of Mahathir is the preferred choice as Kedah MB. Who are the research subjects? All three are Umno personalities — Mukhriz who can’t even compete with a lamp-post in terms of personality, Ahmad Bashah whose highest qualification is that he is an old friend of Najib and one who doesn’t even have MCE qualifications, and the former MB of Kedah who forfeited much larger revenue from the state’s timber industry when he led the state. Hello, you confine your choice among the three and ask respondents to identify whom they liked. Of course they will prefer Mukhriz who is young.

We must congratulate BN for its unbounded optimism. How did they come to that spurious conclusion?
It seems the Umno held a roundtable discussion or forum and to arrive at that conclusion, they called in tenured professors from public universities. One professor, reported as a distinguished media practitioner (how come we never get to read professors write blogs so that maybe we can spar with them?), produced the conclusion that BN will recapture these two states. He said that BN has carried so many initiatives under the exemplar leadership of the bodek-days-are-over PM.

Before we go on, can Malaysians believe bodek days are over? Najib can’t sleep if he doesn’t get adulations and ululations. He is an aristocrat for God sake; bodeking is his nectar of life.

Obviously, this professor has never been a member of any political organisation and by the way he came out with his prognosis has never indulged directly in the thrust and parry of real world politics. So we can only attach some academic curiosity as to his conclusions.

Since Kedah was mentioned as one of the two states BN is said to be able to recapture, let’s humour this good professor. Inadvertently, BN has resigned to the fact that it can never capture Penang and Kelantan. There goes the PM’s boast of making it a 14-0 win.

When Dr Mahathir went to Kedah a few months back, the good doctor invited Kedah Umno chiefs to attend. He was asking the chiefs to support his son’s bid to become the next MB. Not all came and those who didn’t come were furious, demanding to know who is this guy Mahathir trying to throw his weight around? That indicates the likelihood of internal strife that can only weaken Umno. The PM’s man in Kedah, his old friend Datuk Basah, wasn’t amused at being bypassed and so we can expect the usual backstabbing and betrayals from Umno cliques in the state.

Where will Mukhriz stand as ADUN? It does not matter as he will have to vacate his parliamentary seat of Jerlun and a new person will stand as parliamentary candidate. Once he vacates his seat, Umno will lose that seat. Mukhriz won in 2008 because the father came along and the PAS people held back from unleashing everything they got out of respect for a former PM. Umno? They didn’t respect Mahathir as he was not able to even become a delegate in his Umno division. That’s how the cookie crumbles in Umno.

If either Mahfuz or PKR’s Saifudin stand in Pokok Sena, Umno is doomed. In Kuala Kedah, Umno is likely to offer the affable Lat Shahriman as candidate. He had better watch out for the Umno Brutuses in the division. Umno’s hold in that seat is tenuous and a five per cent vote swing is all that is needed to ensure defeat for Lat Shahriman. Umno’s only remaining stronghold is Langkawi.

What was Kedah’s vote swing to the opposition in 2008? It was around 12 per cent. Let’s grant Umno a regain of 5 per cent. That still leaves Pakatan with a 7 per cent credit. Umno is left most probably with one singe parliamentary seat and maybe that’s in Langkawi.

Why should the good people of Kedah give the state to BN only to be faced with the prospects of battling a new government in Putrajaya? They are more practical than the simpletons Umno sees them as. —

* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. He was Pulau Manis assemblyman (2004-2008).

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