Monday, July 12, 2010

Sak Mongkol: Is KJ the Tonto to Najib’s Lone Ranger?

DS Najib is a Lone Ranger on many issues. I have touched about this in a previous article. The Lone Ranger has a Tonto. And on many issues, Najib's Tonto seems to be his Ketua Pemuda. 

My friend Aspan Alias through his blog has written something unpleasant about Khairy Jamaluddin (KJ) - the ketua Pemuda UMNO. Until today, Aspan has always been fair to KJ. He asked the same question that I have often asked. How do we reconcile the fact that the UMNO KP hasn't been appointed to any post in the government. There is a glaring blot in the power structure. The MCA Youth Head, the MCA wanita previously, the deputy KP of UMNO were all given posts. But until today, KJ hasn't got anything yet. 

You want him to enter the battle fields, but you encumber his arsenal. He hasn't got sufficient tools to battle. 

Aspan's sore point is his perception that KJ hasn't matured all round. His conclusion rests on KJ's clash with Ibrahim Ali on a number of issues. He thinks it better if KJ focuses on meatier issues such as Malay economic interests.

But I would like to look at the subtle messages that Aspan has written. The two top UMNO leaders are speaking at cross purposes. Najib is speaking as a liberal. He is perceived to be all things to all people. He needs the Chinese votes and he needs the Indian votes. otherwise his 1Malaysian concept is hollow. Muhyidin on the other hand is championing Malay causes. He is more in tandem with Ibrahim Al's Perkasa and by extension to what Dr Mahathir is espousing. I am not surprised , despite the public endorsements to Najib's administration, Dr Mahathir finds a better soul mate in Muhyidin than Najib.

Thus Najib has to be careful here. He has to strike a balance between pursuing his vision of 1Malaysia and Dr Mahathir's trenchant criticism in waiting. I say in waiting because sooner or later, the bubble will burst. 

Where does KJ fit into the whole scheme of things? He appears to be the only UMNO leader championing what Najib is thinking of. I am told that PM Najib isn't that too enthusiastic that Perkasa is stealing his thunder. I hear he would encourage the emergence of Malay NGOs to counter balance Ibrahim' Perkasa. But as I have written, that would be too late as the horses have already bolted. Thus he has no other choice but to rely on internal resources to contain Ibrahim's growing credence among the Malays. Left unchecked, Perkasa's inroad into the Malay heartland with Ibrahim's brand of right wing politics will undermine Najib's 1 Malaysia. 

We have to ask then, what motivates KJ to enter into skirmishes with Ibrahim and used Ibrahim, as Aspan said, as the standard measure of everything that is at odds with Najib?

The only possible reason to explain KJ's emboldened approach in dealing with Ibrahim is, that this is what Najib actually wants. If KJ was the only one responding correctly to Najib's messages, then I say, this is to KJ's credit. 

In my experience as a former ADUN and Ketua Penerangan UMNO Pekan, the KP sits in the powerful UMNO political bureau. PM Najib may have expressed misgivings about what Perkasa has been doing and by doing so must have hoped that his able committee members would pick up the cudgels and bludgeon Ibrahim Ali.

As an important member of the bureau, KJ must have read the signals from Najib to put a damper on Ibrahim's unsolicited championing of the Malay cause. Ibrahim Ali is not an UMNO member and his Perkasa appears to be a magnet for any disgruntled UMNO persons. This is probably the sore point of many loyal UMNO leaders and Ketua Bahagians who would welcome a strong and firm rebuke from UMNO.

I would interpret what KJ has done by crossing swords with Ibrahim Ali and the recently free agent of an MP of Wangsa Maju, as interpreting what the UMNO president actually wants. That would make KJ as more perceptive than the other dull Janes and Jacks in UMNO. 

Muhyiddin isn't seen to be in sync with Najib, the 3 VPs are immersed in their own politics, the wanita leader is thinking of getting a legitimate elected seat. So KJ picks up the cudgels to do battle with Ibrahim and Ibrahim's equivalents.

What KJ has done will not be interpreted as immature if the UMNO president himself lends his weight on KJ. I am puzzled that between his own KP and the strident voices emanating from Ibrahim's quarters, UMNO President Najib hasn't shown his clear hand. 

He should be supporting his KP. Once he does that, I assure you all the UMNO people will be saying well done KJ. I know because that's the UMNO culture.

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