Every good drama needs a few sub-plots whirling through the mainframe. The most captivating within our current political theatre is surely the joust that Muhyiddin has begun with Najib. On surface level, it is not much more than a claim for primacy between a politician who will inherit the Prime Minister post as his birthright, and the outsider who learnt life’s lessons in a teashop. But no story-within-a-story is worth the price of admission if it is limited to the obvious.
We can never be sure what transpires within the recesses of the mind, let alone the heart. But one wonders if Muhyiddin is also signalling, with his jibes and jabs, to his own party that he would have done a far better job than Najibi if he had been made UMNO Presdident and the prime minister.
If Muhyiddin does believe this, he is right. He, and indeed at least Muhyiddin and,Mahathir would have ensured that UMNO did not fade away mid-journey . Others have internalized the angst of legitimate ambition denied ;Muhyiddin has gone vocal. Nothing is more compelling evidence than his extraordinary statement that Sebelum ini Najib dikatakan tidak ada ‘angin’ untuk meletakkan calon BN, sebaliknya timbalannya, Muhyiddin awal-awal lagi menegaskan BN akan meletakkan calon bertanding atas alasan ia berlaku kekosongan. Berlaku perbezaan pendangan di antara Muhyiddin dan Najib dalam hal ini, dan apakah suara Muhyiddin kini lebih keras daripada Najib? READMORE Letak calon di Kajang, Najib – Muhyiddin tidak sependapat? – Mohd Sayuti Omar
The second person on UMNO’s worry list
“Former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin who is sleeping has also woken up to oppose me. Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has also declared that I cannot contest in Kajang.
“Dr Mahathir is already 87 years old, but when he hears my name, he also gets scared,” Anwar said.
“Why is he scared, his son is the richest Malay in Malaysia,” said Anwar, referring to a report in the Malaysian Business placing Mokhzani Mahathir among the top 10 richest individuals in the country.
Sub-plots whirling through the mainframe
IS ZAID IBRAHIM IN EFFECT PLAYING TROJAN HORSE FOR DAP?
Speculation aside, his behavior through the ‘seven requests’ has proved that he is a disaster to any team or organisation. Perhaps he has overstayed his maverick self and failed to mature as an effective, dependable leader. If you have worked a few years in a sizeable corporate environment, you would appreciate the importance of interpersonal skill and proper communication. An effective boss does not get things done simply by shouting his/her demands to the subordinates. Getting the buy-in through dialogues and even persuasion is not uncommon. ZAID IBRAHIM joining DAP.shortcut to become Selangor Chief Minister
In 1983, prior to a British general election which was easily won by Margaret Thatcher a conference on ‘Victorian values’ at Ruskin College, a Labour movement institution located in Oxford but detached from the university. The conference, dominated by those who believed that Thatcher posed a threat to civilization as we know it, was unmemorable. Yet, one incident stood out.
A BBC crew chose to film one of the sessions, perhaps as an input for its larger election coverage. No one was particularly bothered until an earnest activist stood up and protested against what he imagined was political surveillance. Encouraged by this prickliness, others also joined the protest and made passionate speeches about BBC’s fierce anti-Left bias. There were a few voices of restraint but the gathering voted quite overwhelmingly to exclude the TV crew from the meeting.
Looking back on this footnote of footnotes in contemporary British history, two broad conclusions are warranted. First, despite the show of ideological bravado, the activists who saw the conference as an occasion to debunk Thatcher’s “reactionary” celebration of the Victorian ethos were also aware that they were fighting a losing political battle. In the Britain of 1983, Thatcher’s appeal to put the “Great” back into Britain had the support of not merely the middle classes but a large section of the ‘proletariat’ . The anger at the BBC — seemingly representative of the Establishment — was also an admission of defeat.
Secondly, the visceral anger at the media was also a protest against intellectual marginalization. Unlike today when the BBC flaunts an obvious Leftwing tilt, the institution tried to be more ‘balanced’ those days. A staid middle-of-the-road consensus set the editorial tone. This implied that other voices — whether of the Right or Left — were often ignored. It was this relegation to the fringes that the lefty activists were protesting against that afternoon in Oxford.
Even a casual overview of the chattering class storm over Wendy Doniger’s alternative history of the Muslims points to similarities in reactions. For a start, despite the ridiculous assertion by the publishers that their decision to reach an out-ofcourt settlement was driven by concerns over the safety of staff members, this was a battle that was not taken to the streets — unlike the disputes over Satanic Verses, Taslima Nasreen and MF Husain’s paintings.
Penguin’s contention that Malaysia’s laws are inherently illiberal may well have a basis but it is curious that liberals have on other occasions been very forthright in their support for harsher laws against what they perceive is “hate speech” — witness the still-born Communal Violence Bill.
What seems to unite the Left outrage I witnessed 30 years ago and Batra’s litigation is the shared sense of intellectual dispossession. The free flow of ideas in a democracy is invariably tempered by value judgments over what is ‘respectable’ and what is not. Those who rubbish Doniger feel, and quite legitimately so, that academia disregards those who analyze faith from the perspective of believers. They believe that studies of Hindu faiths have been taken over, particularly in the US, by those who inherently are sceptical of the larger Indian inheritance. This conviction is bolstered by the apparent arrogance of dominant intellectuals who refuse to concede space to those who have a more sympathetic perspective of Hindu theology.
What adds to the muddle is that despite their academic dominance, those who are happy with a less reverential assessment of faith find themselves politically beleaguered. Just as the British Left of the 1980s found itself unable to counter the appeal of Thatcher, those defending Doniger are inclined to attribute Penguin’s surrender to what is colourfully called “creeping fascism” — code for the rising support for the Mahathir-group of,Muhyiddin. Yet, rather than comprehend the reasons for Muhyiddin. ’s popularity, they would rather retreat into their bunkers and uphold their own certitudes while waiting for the proverbial hard rain to fall.