First of all, I must justify the positioning of the two flags above. In my book, the Johor State flag flies higher then any other but is on equal level only with the Malaysian flag on Johor soil, quite like the Texan flag in the U.S.
Having said that, I don’t believe that allegiance to the State means we have to support all the running candidates from Johor vying for the various posts in the UMNO Supreme Council. Political candidates should be voted in based on their service to the Party and the people at large, depending if the election is at the Party or General level. For instance, if all of them from the State have served the Party well and better than the rest, then they all deserve to win. However we must be weary of some who were undeservingly appointed at the government level and are trying to use their positions and the strength of UMNO Johor’s reputation to power their way in. Let us hope the buck stops here for these people. For UMNO to survive and remain relevant, we must choose only the best.
In Part One, we will briefly introduce candidates from Johor for the positions of UMNO Deputy President and Vice Presidents.
Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Hj Muhyiddin b Hj Mohd Yassin
He is the former Menteri Besar of Johor and served through the Constitutional crisis. Born in 1947 in Muar, he is currently the Pagoh UMNO Division Chief , UMNO Vice President and Minister of International Trade and Industries. He has served with full colours in several other ministries including the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture. He was elected to the Supreme Council for the first time in 1985 and Vice President in 1993.
He is a rare breed in UMNO, one who dares go against the grain in order to do the right thing. While holding the post of Menteri Besar, he stood his ground against the much feared Johor Royal Palace during the Constitutional crisis and recently conveyed to the UMNO President repeatedly of what the general sentiments were of him on the ground with respect to the grassroots while the others kept on providing the President with false confidence. Having exhausted almost all resources, the latter finally succumbed and decided not to run for office and withdraw as Prime Minister in March 2009.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin is a very deserving candidate and should win if he can improve on his public relation skills. He has proven his worth, but it wouldn’t hurt to smile a bit more. At the very least the grassroots should remember his sacrifice for being their voice in the Supreme Council at the high risk of losing his lucrative Government job. If Malay culture is upheld amongst the UMNO delegates, then they should be grateful enough to elect him as Deputy President in March. His action has also accelerated Dato’ Sri Najib’s advancement as President of UMNO.
FOR VICE PRESIDENT
Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khaled is currently the Minister of Higher Education. Like Muhyiddin and many other great leaders from Johor, he too was born in Muar. He is the UMNO head for Pasir Gudang and was political Secretary to Dato’ Shahrir when he was the Minister for Wilayah Persekutuan in the 80s. He started off as a Legal Officer in Petronas before entering politics. He could’ve risen much quicker having been in the party youth mainstream since his early 20s if not for an unfair advantage given to an outsider who was an untested political novice by the former Prime Minister. He is now the Deputy Chairman of the Johor UMNO Liaison Committee.
Previous to this, he was also Minister of Entrepreneurial Development & Corporatives. He is a stand up gentleman and a cool politician who rose through the ranks. He is not greedy neither is he impatient, and is one who says very little but performs well not having to backtrack and cover any damage like the person he was put on hold to give way to when he was younger.
Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khaled is experience enough and is a deserving candidate for the post of UMNO Vice President. His service to the Malays in particular is well known. He is an exceptional Minister and a splendid UMNO leader. Like Shahrir, his name is synonymous with Johor UMNO.
DATO' SERI SYED HAMID ALBAR
Datuk Seri Syed Hamid was born in 1944 to a much feared senior politician, Tan Sri Syed Jaafar Albar. He is currently the head of the Kota Tinggi UMNO Division and is holding the third most powerful position in the Cabinet after the Prime Minister and his Deputy, as Minister of Home Affairs (in charge of Internal Security and Immigration). The last time a non PM or Deputy PM held this powerful position could be as far back as the seventies when Tun Ghazali Shafie was the Minister.
He has been a minister for more than 20 years holding positions in various Ministries from Defense to Law to Foreign Affairs, the latter being the longest for 9 years. He is very easy to speak to and listens to opinions both pro and contra but is very much firm in making his own decisions.
He was having slight problems in his Division because of his hectic schedule during his tenure as Foreign Minister and the lack of united support from his close allies in his absence. Now that his feet are firmly on national soil, he visits his constituency and division on a weekly basis. He garnered one of the highest winning majority votes in BN in the last General Elections refuting claims that he is unpopular in his constituency.
Civil disobedience which has been a crying nuisance for the general public has reduced remarkably ever since he took the office of Home Minister and his deft handling of Domestic affairs, including the reintroduction of active use of the ISA has appeased the silent majority. Many outlaws too have been either arrested or terminated in action indicating future reduction in crime, translating into savings for taxpayers having to feed and house these criminals, enriching only the lawyers defending them.
Datuk Seri Syed Hamid, with his vast experience and very powerful position in the government should be a definite yes for Vice President. At 64, he would be able to guide the relatively young field vying for the same position. The rest are all in their late forties and early fifties.
FOR VICE PRESIDENT
DATO' SRI HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN
Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin was born into a very prominent family in 1961. His grandfather was Dato Onn Jaafar, the founder and first President of UMNO, and father was the third Prime Minister of Malaysia and forth President of UMNO. His cousin is currently the President Elect of UMNO. He is the head of the Semberong UMNO Division, the National Youth Chief and Minister of Education. He was previously Minister for Youth and Sports. He has been a Minister for 9 years beginning at a relatively young age of 38. Before that he rapidly rose through the ranks from parliamentary secretary to Deputy Minister then Minister thanks to the former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed.
He was Member of Parliament since 1995 and has been Acting or Actual Chairman of the UMNO Youth Wing for more than 8 years. He did a very good job of uniting a divided youth wing during the sacking of the then Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. Then when he became powerful within the wing, the struggle became downhill when we started witnessing efforts made to help and defend faraway causes such as Palestine when domestically, very little was done when our national and ethnic honour was at stake.
His worse mistake was how he handled the Keris issue. After giving out extra allocations to Chinese schools thinking that the MCA entourage led by its Youth Chief Datuk Liow Tiong Lai would let bygones be bygones, Hishammuddin still received continuous pressure to apologize until after the recent elections were over. He finally succumbed at a time when it didn’t matter or even mean a thing, which was after the general elections. With his action, he disappointed millions of Malays who thought then that being a person who couldn’t defend his own heritage and the symbol of his people, he has no business being an UMNO leader. This article from BigDogDotCom says it all at http://malaysianpolitics.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/umno-hishammuddins-keris-apology-is-sign-of-weakness/
Furthermore, many people think his lack of action in defense of Datuk Ahmad Ismail from Penang and his lack of strong action in offence to the GERAKAN Wanita Chief, MCA Deputy President and Wanita Chief’s statements on the Malays as UMNO Youth Chief shows that he is no longer serious to work for the benefit or defense of the Malays.
He may be an exceptional orator and an outstanding Minister, but as the UMNO Youth Chief, members can no longer ignore the gap between reality and the promise. He left far too much to be desired. Contesting for Vice President of a Malay Party, he may need to fall back on his bloodline if that is of any use in addition to his Ministerial skills to win, because he won’t be voted in for his Malay struggle for sure. If he doesn’t make it, we hope he will be retained as Minister. We may not miss him in UMNO but we might miss him as a very capable Cabinet member.
Part Two will see a run down on Supreme Council Candidates from Johor.
What is written is not meant to be deemed as gospel but merely a matter of opinion in the hope that we can discuss the merits of each candidate nationwide before finally making the best decision in March based on the information gathered from our discussions in this forum.
Please do participate. I thank you.