The Truth About Khairy Jamaluddin – 19
The Truth About Khairy Jamaluddin continues here:
Part 19 – A republic of fear
Some leaders command respect from their followers. Others are loved and cherished, maybe even revered or idolised. However, according to that great political theorist Machiavelli, the mark of a successful leader is one who rules by fear. Fear prompts a person to do more than he usually would, to go that extra mile for the sake of self-preservation. Fear is an effective weapon by which following and loyalty can be procured. A person who manages to make others fear him can very quickly rise from being the school bully to the leader of a huge nation.
Those close to Khairy Jamaluddin say that he is a studious aspirant of the Machiavellian mould. Though at this stage of his political career Khairy needs to nurture popularity, he believes that in the long run, in order to remain the most potent political force in Malaysia, he has to make people fear him. Slowly, that is beginning to take shape. Khairy has elevated himself above his peers to the extent they now have to acknowledge that they live and die by his will. Their future advancement, be it in the field of politics, industry, or even the media, is dependent on their ability to toe Khairy’s line of thinking. Those who overstep the boundary and believe themselves equal to Khairy (or even worse, better than him) quickly find themselves out in the cold.
Even the most senior of UMNO leaders have to pay their respects to the son-in-law of the Prime Minister. Menteris Besar such as Abdul Ghani Othman of Johor and Adnan Yaakob of Pahang even go so far as to make sure that they are present at the tarmac when Khairy’s plane touches the ground during his visits to their home states. Those such as Taib Mahmud of Sarawak and Khir Toyo of Selangor who refuse to give Khairy the due respect find themselves quickly out of favour. Khairy whispers into the ears of Abdullah Badawi that people such as these should be next on the list of traitors to be hauled to the chopping block. No doubt, Taib and Khir are two of the most corrupt state leaders currently in power. But are they any more corrupt than, for example, Ali Rustam of Melaka? Yet, Ali Rustam escapes assassination for the simple reason he pays his dues to Khairy and kowtows to the hand he cannot bite.
In actual fact, Abdullah Badawi’s so-called war against corruption is but a selective and self-interest vendetta. Hardly any within Khairy’s favoured circle get hauled up to face the wrath of the enforcers, even if they are more blatant and open about their corrupt acts. In politics, UMNO Youth Heads who bow to Khairy rarely get punished for paying for votes. In the GLCs, corrupt CEOs get away with tens of millions through countless scams and scandals because they pay court to Khairy. A good example is the recent losses in MAS, where those who were installed to clean up Tajudin Ramli’s mess have been proven incapable of doing the job in spite of their Oxbridge qualifications. Yet they are promoted, not punished, for the simple reason they are Khairy’s poster boys.
Khairy’s main role in Abdullah Badawi’s administration is as a spin-doctor. He builds up Abdullah’s image. But there is no substance in that image. Now the cracks are beginning to show but it is a little too late for the damage to be repaired. Khairy persuades analysts in the foreign banks (many who swoon over the opportunity to have tea with him) to write ‘analyses’ saying that Abdullah’s reforms have to be given time to bear fruit. This is mere hogwash. Many of Khairy’s apologists such as Kalimullah Hassan Masheerul Hassan, Brenda Pereira and Phar Kim Beng are masters of spin who owe their lives and careers to Khairy. One can scarcely hope for them to be genuinely critical in their assessments. They are servants of the master propagandist – no more, no less.
One of the most recent victims of Khairy’s republic of fear is the Federal Territory UMNO Youth Chief, Datuk Norza Zakaria. Norza started out in UMNO Youth before Khairy appeared on the scene. It could therefore be said that Norza is Khairy’s senior in politics. But Norza’s promotion as the Federal Territory UMNO Youth Chief and his sudden elevation to the UMNO Supreme Council, coupled with his lucrative position as Political Secretary to Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop, were all the result of Khairy’s grace and favour. Norza has only average intelligence, which of course puts him way ahead of ordinary UMNO Youth Exco Members. Nevertheless, without Khairy, Norza’s name would have been quickly forgotten.
When the Khairy Chronicles first hit the Internet, Norza was one of those who panicked upon the revelation of the millions he has thus far gained through his friendship with Khairy. Several attempts were made to contact this website in order to persuade Malaysia Today to reduce its expose on Norza’s activities. When this proved unsuccessful, Norza went to see a certain ‘Reformasi’ activist who conveyed the message to this website that Norza wanted to tell his side of the story. According to Norza, he was never close to Khairy. In fact, Norza openly remarked, his rise in UMNO Youth had all to do with his own abilities and not because of favourable treatment from Khairy.
Norza’s big mistake was to repeat this same line of argument to several of Khairy’s boys in the Finance Ministry. Word quickly got back to Khairy that the dog was trying to disown its master. Khairy promptly gave Norza the silent treatment and for awhile Norza went into a state of depression. All he wanted to do was cover up the scandals he had been cooking in the Finance Ministry by distancing himself from Khairy and denying his role as Khairy’s bag-carrier. Instead, Norza found himself at the receiving end of Khairy’s anger and even as you read this article he is still frantically trying to repair the damage done.
Of course, we already know what is going to happen. Norza will crawl to Khairy with his tail between his legs and, like Amon Goeth in Schindler’s List, Khairy will ‘forgive’ Norza. That is his prerogative as the boss. Hands will be kissed and all will be honky dory again. Norza will now forever remember never to cross Khairy’s path again.
The self-preservation attitude of most UMNO Youth members is what makes Khairy unassailable in the ranks of that organisation. To be honest, Hishammuddin Hussein is only the temporary head of UMNO Youth, the seat-warmer for when Khairy feels he is in the best position and ready to take over. Any loyalty given to Hishammuddin is transient and at least two of Hishammuddin’s nominees as ‘Yang Berhormats’ in his home state of Johor have now switched sides to Khairy’s camp. After Khairy’s visit to the Batu Pahat division a few months ago, these two, whose seats had been the personal gifts of Hishammuddin, met with Khairy in a hotel room in Johor Baru and spilled the beans. They told Khairy in minute detail how Hishammuddin reports Khairy’s every move to his cousin and Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, while at the same time pretending to agree with his deputy’s actions.
In actual fact, Hishammuddin is disgusted with Khairy’s self-seeking pronouncements, in particular his unilateral decision to form a club comprised solely of UMNO Division Youth Vice-Chiefs throughout the country and his unbalanced speeches during the UMNO General Assembly, supporting Hishammuddin’s stance on the NEP in one speech only to refute them in another speech a mere two days later.
Hishammuddin knows that time is running out for him and the journey to the top (i.e. the UMNO Vice-Presidency) is a road fraught with difficulties. But he has little choice in the matter. He is trapped by his own misguided belief that Khairy was a raw and untalented young man in a hurry who could be easily checked by Hishammuddin’s vast experience in UMNO Youth over the last decade.
The Permatang Pauh UMNO Youth Head, Mohd Zaidi Said, says that Khairy has now become the most feared UMNO politician. His wealth accumulated over the short space of two-and-a-half years has allowed him to be transformed into one of the most successful patrons of young UMNO politicians. According to Mohd Zaidi, UMNO Youth leaders are falling over each other to swear their loyalty to Khairy and enjoy a piece of the pie. They are making hay while the sun shines and they believe that hitching a ride on the Khairy bandwagon will at the very least give them some money to live well. And if things go smoothly, when Khairy finally ascends the highest position within UMNO, he will drag some of them along on his coat-tails.
Take, for example, the current situation in Pengkalan Pasir. All the potential candidates from UMNO only pay lip-service to the Kelantan State Liaison Chief, Annuar Musa. When it comes to getting blessings for their efforts to be named the official candidate of Barisan Nasional, the names of Annuar Musa, Mustapa Mohamad, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Zaid Ibrahim, Awang Adek, or any of the Kelantan UMNO stalwarts do not matter a jot. Nor do they make a beeline to see the UMNO Management Committee Chairman, Najib Tun Razak. It is Khairy’s blessing that they seek.
The very day after the death of PAS assemblyman Wan Aziz, both Hanafi Mamat and Che Johan Che Pa, the Deputy and Vice-Heads of UMNO’s Pasir Mas Division, sent at least three messages each to Khairy asking for an appointment. Not only that, they also trawled through their phone books to search for the names of Khairy’s friends who could put in a good word for them with the Boss of Bosses. One of the potential candidates tried to butter up UMNO Information Chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib only to find that Muhammad’s advice to him was to “talk to Khairy”. Another potential candidate, after finding out that Khairy was attending the Executive Committee meeting of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) last week, even tried to get himself appointed as Kelantan representative to the meeting in order to “get closer” to the man.
When UMNO finally announces its candidate, there will be no doubt that that person will be Khairy’s choice. The charade that Annuar Musa is playing, saying that he has the authority to decide on the candidate subject to the final blessing of Abdullah Badawi, is the perfect example of the master ‘dalang’ playing his ‘wayang kulit’. Annuar Musa is adept at playing that role and the ‘dalang’ always plays the story he is paid to play.
The fatal miscalculation for any UMNO politician now would be to cross Khairy’s path. That is the kiss of death. From Perlis to Sabah, every UMNO politician knows, though Khairy may not be the king, he is definitely the kingmaker. But fear can sometimes trigger a revolution that sweeps out the dictator…
The Truth About Khairy Jamaluddin continues…in Part 20 – Does UMNO really want to win?