The Truth About Khairy Jamaluddin – 18
The Truth About Khairy Jamaluddin continues here:
Part 18 – Cannons behind his back
Does Khairy Jamaludin really know who his friends are? Sure, he surrounds himself with the young and bright, but have they become a liability to him? Is Khairy so naïve, thinking that these people could be trusted to not leak details about his plans and activities to his enemies?
One of the privileges of being young is that one can afford the luxury of a carefree and devil-may-care life. Being young also means one can afford to be naïve and can be allowed to make mistakes in one’s long journey to maturity. But Khairy cannot enjoy such luxury. His fast rise in politics has resulted in him being caught in the middle of a situation where every one of his actions are closely scrutinised by his political enemies as well as the public at large.
Khairy lives life under a microscope and the fascination people have about him means he is unable to make the slightest move without somebody, somewhere, reading into it and making an interpretation about it. Often these interpretations are helpful but sometimes they could be very detrimental and negative to his image. Even the most innocent praise heaped upon him by his admirers could be seen to have ulterior motives, which in turn generate nausea among the general public.
Khairy cannot pretend to be innocent in the roller coaster world of Umno politics. That is a poor excuse few will tolerate. They believe that given his Oxbridge background he should have the ability, acumen and intelligence to anticipate the consequences that his actions will bring. Sometimes, however, people forget that Khairy is merely a naïve 30-year old who rose in politics much faster than many of his peers.
He has been cushioned from major attacks by Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and has so far had a smooth ride. So have his friends who have been given the fast track to the higher reaches of government, politics and the corporate world. When they stumble, they stumble hard and they pick themselves up very slowly for the simple reason they do not know what to do. They are leaders of an opportunistic band which tolerates little mistakes but are extremely critical of big ones. They are vicious when assessing their leader and one who doesn’t perform will be devoured quickly and thrown aside.
Some of Khairy’s friends have been useful in giving him advice on how to spin an image, yet they themselves have had little experience in addressing the problem of how to maintain their image in the face of evidence to the contrary. Take, for example, Kalimullah Hassan Masheerul Hassan, the Singapore Special Branch-trained NST group editor. Kalimullah fancies himself as Khairy’s mentor. He often tries to ‘sell’ Khairy even when it is not necessary to do so. Almost inevitably, in every meeting with foreign journalists and government leaders, he mentions Khairy before mentioning the actual boss, Abdullah Badawi. Kalimullah is prouder of his association with Khairy than Abdullah.
As a result, people believe, rightly or wrongly, that Khairy, and not Abdullah, runs the government. Kalimullah does not help by putting more Singapore Special Branch-trained sycophants in charge of NST and Berita Harian. In their previous incarnation of PAP hacks, their job was to build up the image of Lee Hsein Loong as the undoubtedly superior heir apparent for Singapore and perhaps the most intelligent man ever to walk the face of this earth.
And this is what they are now doing to Khairy.
But they forgot that in Lee Hsien Loong’s case there was no other heir apparent other than Lee Jr. However, in Malaysian politics, there are many others who count themselves as heir to Abdullah or even to Dr Mahathir Mohamad. By overselling their ‘product’, Kalimullah and his bunch of Singapore-trained journalists are hurting Khairy’s image far more than it is helping him.
Khairy’s friends in Umno Youth have not been very helpful either. Take, for example, Norza Zakaria. This non-entity from Negeri Sembilan somehow made his way up the ladder to become the Youth Chief of Wangsa Maju. Norza would not have gone anywhere if he had not been plucked by Khairy as his right-hand man. But, in being that, Norza has become intoxicated. Firstly, he uses his position in order to portray himself as the most likely candidate to lead Umno Youth if Khairy, by a stroke of luck, falls by the wayside. He has even gone so far as to have discussions with webmasters where he denies that Khairy was instrumental in putting him where he is today.
Norza denies that he is ‘Khairy’s man’ and instead credits his success to his own intelligence and abilities. He tries to out-boss the boss and be seen as the mature alternative to Khairy. When confronted with the notion that he is nothing more than a Khairy front man, he ferociously denies this and claims that he is just putting on a charade and playing along to ensure that Khairy does not target him for assassination in the event the truth was to surface.
Secondly, Norza talks too much. He will talk about Khairy to any banker, businessman, journalist, contractor or civil servant who walks into his Treasury office in Putrajaya. Norza tells them that Khairy wants this done or Khairy wants that project to happen, at times without any reference to Khairy. As a result, people get the impression that Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop and the officials who run the Ministry of Finance are powerless puppets and that Norza is the one running the show on behalf of Khairy. Maybe this is only half true, because for all the intelligence Khairy may have, Nor Mohamed Yakcop is still a hands-on man. But the image that it gives to the public is that the Minister of Finance II is a puppet of Norza who in turn is the puppet of Khairy.
Thirdly, Norza has business interests, which gets its way by dropping Khairy’s name. Norza’s boys play up the fact that their chief is a close Khairy confidante in order to get their way from the smallest of contracts from the Federal Territory Ministry to the biggest banking jobs in KL. This can only hurt Khairy’s image; but does Norza care?
Even Khairy’s friends whom he has slotted in key government and political positions have been a major source of leaks. Take, for example, Khairy’s boys in the Deputy Prime Minister’s office. In front of Khairy they give the impression that they are providing him with valuable information regarding Najib’s movements. On the other hand, being the young, naïve, ambitious people that they are, they are actually playing a double game. While they keep Khairy informed, they also leak information about Khairy to Najib.
As a consummate politician, Najib knows how to handle them and uses them to find out about the latest moves Khairy is making against him. Khairy does not realise this, but the boys he has placed in Najib’s office are his biggest critics. Whenever they speak to Najib’s people they give the impression that they do not agree with Khairy’s moves. At first this starts out as a lie, but slowly, as the lie becomes bigger, they have to insert a few home truths in it. These are quickly seized upon as Khairy’s evil plans to dethrone their heir apparent.
Some of Khairy’s allies have quite obviously turned against him. In the last Umno party election, Hishammuddin Hussein pushed very hard for Khairy to be installed as his Deputy. Hishammuddin personally called other challengers to Khairy’s position and even telephoned Muhkriz Mahathir to ensure that Khairy’s ascension was given a smooth ride. But just mention Khairy’s name in front of Hishammuddin now and one can feel the burning vitriol. Hishammuddin is angry with Khairy and he is angry enough to say it in public to other members of Umno Youth.
Khairy is being used by Hishammuddin’s opponents to get their way. Whenever Hishammuddin refuses to do something they want him to do, they quote Khairy’s name in his face. Hishammuddin just hates that, and quite rightly so. He is angered by Khairy’s blatant moves to meet up with Umno Youth members behind his back. He believes that Khairy is committing a ‘derhaka’ and should be put in his place. Slowly, Hishammuddin drifts away from Khairy’s circle.
Those who work for Hishammuddin have noticed how paranoid their boss has become of late. Hishammuddin is always looking over his shoulders, fearing the knife that Khairy wants to plant in his back. Hishammuddin knows that some of his officers are loyal to Khairy and he has been extremely careful to exclude them from his discussions. He does not do so blatantly, but they are being phased out. Preparations are being made for the great showdown where Hishammuddin will take sides against Khairy with the people who want to secure the post-Abdullah succession.
Sycophantic letters to the press written by Mustapha Ong, PERTIWI, Sisters in Islam and Phar Kim Beng have also not been helpful to Khairy. People can immediately see through them and Khairy has been foolish enough to think that the connection is not visible. The world has become much more porous and transparent. These connections are there for all to see. Even in groups that are ostensibly seen by the unknowing public as being supportive of Khairy, subtle distinctions can be made which show them to actually be agents for Khairy’s enemies.
One example is the many so-called youth and professional groups that exist today. Many are badly-run self-serving fronts for ambitious Young Turks who imagine themselves too good for direct involvement in Umno. Some create this façade of supporting Khairy and his ideals but in reality pressure him to do what he cannot afford at this stage of his political life. They try and give the lie to his promises to eradicate corruption and money politics. Instead of supporting Khairy, they are trying to kill him softly.
Some of Khairy’s trusted lieutenants have been important sources of information. For example, Khairy’s movements during the last days of Endon Mahmood were reported to this website by no other than those within the Seri Perdana residential complex. Ostensibly, they should be Khairy supporters, but given the choice between Abdullah and Khairy, they would not plump for the young pretender. Instead, their loyalty lies with the big boss who faced up and down with them.
When Khairy went missing for long periods of time during Endon’s last days, it was the Seri Perdana sources who talked. Soon, top Umno leaders who came to read Yaasin were made fully aware that Khairy’s whereabouts had become a major source of concern. It was the talk of the Umno circles, especially those who are of Abdullah’s age and immediately below. They felt that this had become too much and that Khairy should be more respectful to the man who made him into what he is today.
One of Khairy’s traits is to favour foreign journalists against Malaysian ones. Khairy is more comfortable in addressing the Singaporean, American and Australian journalists who in the past have been full of praise for him. To them, Khairy spills more beans. Malaysian journalists have bosses who report directly to Khairy and can therefore be controlled by him. Foreign journalists, on the other hand, do not have such problems. They are free agents, even mercenaries, and what they say about Khairy to other Umno politicians and opposition figures in Malaysia have made Khairy’s life difficult.
A favourite of foreign journalists is the former Finance Minister, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who is probably the most well-informed Umno politician today. Almost every move Khairy makes is reported by these foreign journalists to those who can best exploit the information. In Khairy’s naïve world where foreigners should respect him for his Oxford background, Khairy often finds himself the most important source for all the leaks about his life, plans, plots and movements.
What Khairy does not understand is that he surrounds himself with loose cannons. But those loose canons do not aim at random figures. Instead, they swivel towards him and, sooner or later, the cannonballs will begin hitting him hard. Khairy’s worst enemies are actually the people closest to his circle. He has reached the stage often felt by a politician in high power; loneliness at the top. Even his friends cannot be trusted anymore…
The Truth About Khairy Jamaluddin continues…in Part 19 – A republic of fear