Umno Wanita chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil must take the high moral ground and offer her departure, otherwise Umno will also depart, says Daim Zainuddin.
It was my Saturday with the Oracle of Syed Putra. Incidentally he’s the alter ego of former Economic Advisor Tun Daim Zainuddin.
Our conversations were wide ranging and although I directed my questions to the Oracle, readers must assume they are directed to and answered by Daim himself.
I list below his responses to some of my questions.
Question: How is the health of Umno really?
Answer: It’s a 50:50 possibility. Its touch and go for both sides. If the BN (Barisan Nasional) performs worse in this outing than what they got in 2008, Najib (Tun Razak) will be out.
The Umno people will not forgive him for failing to resuscitate Umno.
But isn’t he doing very well? He’s going around Santa Clausing giving money like water? He is Ajib Gor on Facebook and he tweets. He goes on his walkabouts pressing palms, kissing babies, engaging in small talks and sweet nothings?
He is working on the script written by his phalanx of advisors. Nothing more. This isn’t the US-style presidential elections. Once, he was speaking at Oxford with students. He was asked some questions and he couldn’t answer, because it wasn’t in the script. What does that tell you? Most of the time, Najib is play acting. He and Anwar (Ibrahim) are cut from the same cloth.
So is Anwar better than Najib?
Anwar isn’t that bright either. He is the great communicator and functions supremely well in bringing crowds. That’s his forte and in elections, crowds do matter. But in substance Anwar is short. He makes up for the deficiency however by having good people around him. These are committed and are politically sharp people. People like Rafizi Ramli (who exposed National Feedlot Corporation scandal) and Nik Nazmi (Nik Ahmad, Seri Setia assemblyman) are intelligent people. There are others too.
Age of money
What about the advisors around Najib?
They give good working papers without the political smarts. Najib fails to apply political experience to the papers given to him. The bigger problem with Umno is that it doesn’t have leaders now. Najib isn’t made in the mould of (Tun) Dr Mahathir. Mahathir who while is not always right but makes firm decision. People, especially Malays, need that form of leadership. Najib is ….every day is shuffling.
What about the money?
You know, the age where everything is solved by giving money is over. People take the money but without the reciprocal assurance of you getting their votes. What do people want now? People are asking where are you taking this country to. You must engage the people as thinking human beings nowadays. They don’t take kindly being treated as digits. So many numbers receiving BR1M. So many receiving RM200.
What about (Umno Women chief) Shahrizat (Abdul Jalil)?
You know, this NFC (National Feedlot Center) thing is only the tip of the iceberg. Sooner or later more dirt is coming out. Its imbecilic to assert that a grant or loan given for specific purpose can be freely applied by the recipient as he or she wishes. But the bigger question is, when spending that are out of the terms of reference were made, how come auditors didn’t censure them? Where were the internal controls?
So what is the politically correct thing for Shahrizat to do?
She must take the high moral ground and offer her departure. Otherwise, Umno will also depart.
Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz
The writer is a former Umno state assemblyman and has now joined DAP.