Monday, August 4, 2008

THE PERMATANG PAUH BY-ELECTION: A POLITICAL DISTRACTION - A NON-EVENT - WHY UMNO MEMBERS MUST FOCUS ON PARTY ELECTIONS AND NOT ON ANWAR IBRAHIM

Matthias Chang
Future FastForward, Sunday, 03 August 2008 11:28

Political Distraction – All Thunder, But No Rain!

Annuar Musa, the UMNO Warlord from Kelantan is not a politician that I pay much attention, but his recent statement to “boycott” the Permatang Pauh By-Election makes good sense.

I had intended to write an article to UMNO members to ignore Anwar, but I was in Penang on Saturday and could not do so till Sunday.

However, my reasons for UMNO and the Barisan Nasional to ignore the theatrics of Anwar are different from Annuar Musa, but I have grave doubts that Badawi and Najib would adhere to my call to ignore Anwar Ibrahim and let him be elected unopposed.

What are my reasons for ignoring Anwar?

Firstly, UMNO is now fighting for its very political life and members must not be distracted from addressing urgent issues – the priority being the selection of new leaders to replace Badawi and Najib if UMNO is to survive beyond 2010.

Branch elections have commenced and the grassroots (the backbone of any political party) are being mobilized to save the party. If this process of renewal and rejuvenation is derailed for selfish, power-centred interests by a few UMNO leaders, I dare say that UMNO will be totally rejected by the rakyat, specifically the Malays in the next general elections.

But there is time enough to make the changes and prepare for the Final Battle if the two top leaders are replaced. The Branch members must, by their ballot and resolutions passed at their AGM, make it plain and direct that Badawi and Najib are the millstones around the neck of UMNO and must be discarded.

Secondly, UMNO must not play into the hands of Anwar by diverting precious party resources for a battle which will have no significance on the future direction of UMNO.

Who in UMNO would gain most from this distraction?

The two top leaders, who are burdened by scandals are the key beneficiaries. It is a no-brainer that Badawi and Najib will attempt to use this opportunity to rally the members to support their “leadership” to defeat Anwar Ibrahim in Permatang Pauh.

I don’t foresee UMNO being able to defeat Anwar, but in the unlikely event that Anwar is denied the political prize, what is the big deal? Anwar Ibrahim can still turn such a defeat to his advantage by prolonging the theatrics and casting more allegations against the Barisan Nasional. UMNO will be engaged in a war of attrition with no end in sight.

The Pakatan Rakyat will still be in control of the five critical states of Kelantan, Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor.

Let Anwar have Permatang Pauh and then ambush him in Parliament!

Thirdly, as the global financial crisis deepens and takes its toll on the Malaysian economy, the opposition state governments will get away with their mismanagement of the respective state economies by simply asserting that the Federal Government withheld critical allocations and abandoned strategic projects identified in the 9th Malaysia Plan.

The Barisan Nasional will bear the brunt of the criticisms when the economy turns ugly.

Badawi is so power hungry that he will do anything to divert the people’s attention from his failings to Anwar’s theatrics. And if UMNO plunges into the trap of the By-Election, the mass media will inevitably focus on the slug-fest, and the lies and disinformation being churned out by their respective spin doctors.

In the meantime, the country is on auto-pilot and soon the economy will go into a tailspin.

I dare say that when that happens, people will take to the streets to hunt down UMNO leaders who have let them down.

Fourthly, other component parties of the Barisan Nasional are caught up with their own problems and need to address and resolve them quickly as well. When the leaders of these component parties are fighting for survival, their hearts and soul will not be ready for such a battle.

They are still smarting from the grievous wounds suffered in March and it is down right stupid to ask them to go to battle when they are not fit and ready. Additionally, the rank and file believe (rightly or wrongly and it matters not what UMNO thinks) that UMNO was to a large extent responsible for their defeat and humiliation at the recent general elections.

Fifthly, the principal issue facing UMNO and its survival as a political party is not Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Rakyat for the people did not vote for PKR, DAP and PAS because they believe in their policies and their leaders. It was a protest vote principally against Badawi and Khairy and the scandals and stupid antics of Najib, Nazri and Hishamuddin.

To put it bluntly, what we have at the present moment is a Strategic Stalemate between the Barisan Nasional and the Pakatan Rakyat, the former controlling the Federal Government, while the latter controls the five critical states that constitute 70% of the national economy.

But with each passing day of “auto-pilot” leadership and a faction-ridden Cabinet, the balance slowly tilts in favour of the Opposition.

And unless UMNO undergoes major surgery by the replacement of the two top leaders, UMNO leaders – not tainted and or associated with the Badawi regime and his principal parasites (Kamaluddin Badawi and Khairy Jamaluddin) – will not have the time and resources to mount a successful counter-attack in the next General Elections.

Sixthly, Anwar wants this fight, not so much to distract the people from the sodomy allegation (he has already won the psychological warfare, as most people believe his innocence), but to shield the Pakatan Rakyat’s mismanagement of the five states in the coming months when our economy goes into a tailspin.

Since the March elections, the Barisan Nasional has been merely reacting to Anwar’s taunts and has not been pro-active at all! This agony will continue so long as Badawi remains as the Prime Minister and President of UMNO.

Appeal to UMNO

Replace Badawi as Prime Minister first and do this now in the month of August by demanding his resignation as Prime Minister during the Branch AGM and elections. Then throw him out in December by denying him any nominations for the post of President, if he fails to resign as President.

For fifty years, UMNO has been given the mandate to elect the Prime Minister from among its ranks. UMNO will forfeit this “right” if it fails to do what is right and required under the present dire circumstances.

And don’t you dare blame others for taking power to lead the country out of this sordid mess, a mess of your own creation, should UMNO fail to do what is required.

FORGET PERMATANG PAUH.

FOCUS ON THE REMOVAL OF BADAWI AND REJUVENATE THE PARTY.

PERMATANG PAUH IS A NECESSARY NUISANCE, BUT UMNO NEED NOT GET CAUGHT IN THIS NON-EVENT.

WHY GIVE ANWAR IBRAHIM FREE PUBLICITY AND A POLITICAL PLATFORM TO ADVERTISE HIS OUT-DATED POLITICAL WARES?

I DARE GUARANTEE UMNO, THAT IF BADAWI IS REPLACED NOW, BARISAN NASIONAL WILL REGAIN THE FIVE STATES AND 2/3 MAJORITY, EVEN BEFORE THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTIONS.

I HAVE THE NECESSARY STRATEGY AND I AM WILLING TO SHARE THIS STRATEGY IF BADAWI IS NO LONGER PRIME MINISTER AND PRESIDENT OF UMNO.

DO NOT TAKE THIS CHALLENGE LIGHTLY.

SHOULD YOU DISMISS ME AND WHAT I CAN CONTRIBUTE, YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN PERIL!

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