Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Who Is Najib's Ketua Pemuda - Malaysiakini

THE few articles I wrote about the Ketua Pemuda race.gave rise to very intense feelings. Those not for KJ, were very vociferous in their objections. I too wasn't spared from being vilified. There was even one fellow who said KJ and I have no business being in UMNO. Another questioned my consistent cynicism towards Malay nationalism. There was one commentator who said no wonder Sakmongkol is on KJ's blogroll, insinuating that I am a hired gun for KJ. I can assure readers, KJ and I have never met.

Those for KJ are contented to assess the man on the basis of WYSIWYG- what you see is what you get. Most of the times, he appears to be very intelligent, articulate and intense. He is attractive to the younger generation. It has not gone unnoticed that lately; KJ has changed his demeanor and exterior bearings. He doesn't seem to be that brash and cocky young man. As older people, we can discount that once-upon-a-time behavior as a product of youthful hormonal rampage. In years to come, KJ will likely conform to the demands of his environment.

It was interesting to note that in the interview with Off the Edge recently, KJ mentioned his gratitude at DS Najib's neutrality in the issue of the Ketua Pemuda. The typical stance of DS Najib, given the little advantage I have of knowing him at close quarters, is- all these guys are my men. He can't afford to take sides given that his own position hasn't been officially made certain. Perhaps people may accuse, justifiably, that DS Najib is playing politics. Najib is a political Switzerland, inscrutable to most but the trained observer.

Who does DS Najib prefer? He must be feeling very uneasy. He must have felt like King Henry in Shakespeare's:

Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy reposeTo the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,And in the calmest and most stillest night,With all appliances and means to boot,Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

Henry The Fourth, Part 2 Act 3, scene 1, 26–31Political Expediency is the name of the game.
How will Dato Najib play it so that he will find it easy to wear the crown of PM? There are 3 contestants for the Ketua Pemuda post. I remember I wrote an article projecting on who will get the nomination for Ketua Pemuda in Pekan. Pekan is the parliamentary seat of Dato Najib. Whoever gets the nomination from Pekan can always draw a strong inference that securing a nomination there is equivalent to getting an endorsement from DS Najib. Nowadays, everyone wants to secure nominations from Pekan.

I predicted at that time, Mukhriz would get the nomination. Among the 3, Mukhriz would be first placed, Khir Toyo would be second and KJ would be third. It turned out to be exactly that. Needless to say, I received a very uncomplimentary remark from KJ's people.

I have my reasons though. At that time, I was reading the temperature of the Pemuda delegates in Pekan. They do read the papers, read in between the lines, sufficient to enable them to perceive what seems to be going around. They huddle together in numerous nocturnal tete-a-tetes, listen to gossips and rumors and formed opinions. The stories and insinuations going around then, were not favourable to KJ.

I have said as it was. What seemed to be going around at that time was a universally accepted opinion that KJ is the source of many of DS Najib's problems. The air was thick with rumors and innuendos that KJ was conspiring with politicians at large to ensure that Najib will not become PM after Pak Lah.

All these were translated into perceived comfort level with DS Najib. Delegates decided on the basis of who they perceived Dato Najib is most comfortable with. And so, at that time, the Pekan delegates consider Mukhriz as the person whom Najib is most comfortable with. Plus other things which they think Mukhriz can bring to Najib, like the father's endorsement. In other words, who the Pekan delegates nominated at that time was solely judged on account of offering DS Najib the biggest of advantages.

But general level perception is seldom similar to particular perception. DS Najib has particular and specific considerations. He actually sent words he wanted the nomination to go to KJ. Unfortunately his particular perception formed by better information and practical political considerations, was not the same as general perception held by the Pekan youth delegates.That was then. But now, the fate of the ketua pemuda will be decided by 4 delegates from each division. The playing field as it were, is smaller and more controllable. We may assume that those delegates that go on to the PWTC this march 09, represent the more promising of the youth leaders. Accordingly, it is safe to assume that they are better able to read the subtle messages from top leadership.

In particular they will be looking at the messages, both spoken and unspoken, from DS Najib. Who among the ketua pemuda candidates is perceived to be most useful to Najib?. It is to this aspect that now, we turn our attention to.

DS Najib's guiding principle now will be expediency. He will be looking BEYOND UMNO. With an UMNO in tatters, Najib will be looking at any resource that will not only rejuvenate UMNO but increases its prospects of winning the future. And the future belongs to the younger generation with leavening influence from progressive UMNO leadership. Najib will be a dud if he does not recognize the future of UMNO is being determined also by who he endorses as ketua pemuda.

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