The Truth About Khairy Jamaluddin – 24
The Truth About Khairy Jamaluddin continues here:
Part 24 – Khairy Chronicles in review
You may have noticed that the last episode of The Khairy Chronicles, part 23, came out about three weeks ago on 2 January 2006. Well, the long gap is unavoidable and due to a cat-and-mouse game I am playing with certain parties. You see, about 10 days or so ago, these ‘certain parties’ met to discuss how to close down Malaysia Today and end The Khairy Chronicles once and for all.
It seems Khairy Jamaluddin is not happy with The Khairy Chronicles. And when Khairy is not happy, he must be made happy. These ‘certain parties’ do not work for Khairy. They, in fact, answer to the government. Indirectly, they are responsible to the people. Their job is to uphold the law and punish the law-breakers, not to serve certain political interests. Their function is to defend our constitutional rights, including freedom of expression and the independence of the media. But that is only a pipedream. In reality, they bow to the will of the powers-that-be. In this case, they bow to Khairy.
Khairy has no position in the government of the day. He is officially only a ‘corporate advisor’. No doubt he is deputy head of UMNO Youth, but that role too is not one that allows him to run the country as he wishes. Nevertheless, he does. For some time now, these ‘certain parties’ have been feeding him reports (as well as to his father-in-law), including the results of their snooping on opposition politicians and functions. Khairy has no right to these reports, but he receives them anyway — because the ministers and deputy ministers in charge are too afraid to raise their objections.
What makes Khairy uncomfortable with The Khairy Chronicles is the fact that it has pre-empted many of his moves since the middle of last year — and now that he is beginning to make these moves we can turn round and say, “I told you so.”
The problem faced by these ‘certain parties’ is how to directly link The Khairy Chronicles to me. No doubt my name does appear in Malaysia Today, but if they charge me in court, they have to prove I wrote The Khairy Chronicles (the ‘maker of the document’ in legal jargon). And the way they were going to do this was to wait for the next episode to come out, part 24, then, on that day, they would raid my house, confiscate my computer, and arrest me. From my computer they would then be able to prove I wrote part 24. The evidence could then be used to press charges against me.
The thing is, what they do not seem to realise, one can always write online. In that case, how would the evidence be in your PC? And have they not heard of these software programmes which cost a couple of hundred Ringgit, exceeds US military and intelligence agency specifications, and can wipe off all your tracks without a trace? No doubt, the Bukit Aman and Mimos boys may have been trained six months at Langley some years back, but technology changes very fast and every day there are new things on the market. (Of course, there is more than this that I am doing, but I am not telling all).
In light of the present developments — the death of Dr Liew Boon Horng, the managing consultant of Ethos Consulting, Khairy buying into ECM Libra, the merger between ECM Libra and Avenue Capital Resources, the impending cabinet reshuffle, the rumoured arrest of the Putera Umno Chief in a vice raid, and so on — there is certainly much more that The Khairy Chronicles will reveal in the weeks to come, if we are given the chance to do so…
Anyway, let us review the first 23 episodes of The Khairy Chronicles and recap what we said then:
Part 1 – SYNOPSIS: The most powerful man in Malaysia
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is legally the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia, having taken office in November 2003. However, even before he assumed office, it was quite clear that Abdullah Badawi was not his own man — that all his thoughts, actions and deeds were heavily influenced, if not directed, by his then 28-year old son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin and his coterie of friends. While some talked of the three Ks being the power behind Pak Lah; namely Khairy, Kalimullah (the Group Chief Editor of the New Straits Times) and Kak Endon (Datin Paduka Seri Endon Mahmood Ambak, wife of the Prime Minister); there is no doubt that the first K is the most powerful, having appointed the second K to his post and having married the third K’s daughter at a time when the third K was and is fighting breast cancer, an illness that has already claimed the third K’s twin sister.
Part 2 – Out of the wormhole
Today, Khairy Jamaluddin has become the most powerful man in the country. Unlike most politicians whose origins can be easily traced and whose records are in the realm of public knowledge, Khairy is like a ‘dewa kayangan’ (fairy godfather) who appeared from nowhere into the mainstream of Malaysian politics. Many began to wonder whether he was planted by certain sinister forces, such as the CIA or maybe the Singapore intelligence services. After all, no one can attain power so easily and so quickly unless they had some help, could they?
Part 3 – The enemies within
In addition, Hishammuddin is unhappy that Khairy set up his own network within the UMNO Youth machinery, e.g. nominating Norza Zakaria to the Supreme Council over and above Hishammuddin’s own choice. Khairy also set up an informal network of UMNO Vice Youth Division Chiefs throughout the country, a phenomenon unheard of when Hishammuddin himself held that post. Hishammuddin realises that he now holds office by the grace and favour of Khairy. When the latter is ready for the post of Youth Chief, the former must go.
Part 4 – Strangling your own brothers
Abdul Azeez shared many of Reezal Merican’s attributes. A fellow Mamak like Reezal, he had a weakness for beautiful women and both had married twice. More importantly, Abdul Azeez was a self-made businessman of a rather thuggish outlook and could counter Reezal’s influence among the locally educated UMNO Youth politicians. Khairy pushed through a new wing called Putera UMNO under Abdul Azeez’s stewardship that spread its tentacles to local universities and institutions of higher learning. Khairy understood that he himself lacked support from this political base and badly needed it. Abdul Azeez was tasked in getting this support while at the same time weakening Reezal’s influence.
Part 5 – The heir and the pretender
Khairy and Najib share many similarities in their rise to power. Yet there is no love lost between them. Khairy knows that Najib will ‘kill him off’ as soon as Abdullah Ahmad Badawi leaves the political stage. Likewise, Najib is uneasy about Khairy’s influence on Abdullah and is conscious that his chances of becoming Prime Minister would dramatically improve with Khairy out of the way.
The enmity between Khairy and Najib stems from Khairy’s impatience and open ambition to reach the highest office in UMNO before he reaches the age of 40. Najib is the opposite in his outlook. He is patient, almost to the point of being seen as slow and lethargic. But Najib has played a ‘careful’ game whereas Khairy is more ‘in your face’.
Both understand that UMNO is too small a party for the two of them. At only 52, Najib is easily able to block Khairy for twenty-five years or more. If a week is a long time in politics, then twenty-five years would seem like an eternity. Even worse, Khairy thinks Najib will turn back the clock, abolish Abdullah’s (and therefore Khairy’s) reforms and return UMNO to the ‘bad old days’ of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
Part 6 – Khairy’s media playgrounds
Khairy’s most prominent appointment was that of Kalimullah Hassan Masheerul Hassan, a former Singaporean journalist closely associated with certain Chinese businessmen with whom he had built a successful business based on the Chinese doing the thinking and Kalimullah himself pulling the cables. ‘Kali’, as he calls himself, has visions of grandeur. Although a bad writer and an even worse editor, Kali knew that he could buy talent. It is an open secret that NST editorials published as Kali’s piece were ghost-written by both internal and outsourced hacks. Such was a man after Khairy’s own heart — who knew that being a figurehead was no bad thing, as one could always pick and choose one’s lackeys to finish the job.
Part 7 – The beginning of a beautiful friendship
It was then that Mahathir began to realise that the young man he so dismissively discounted had now become the key instrument of a threat against his legacy. Mahathir remarked to his secretary, Datuk Badriah, that Abdullah was digging his own grave by letting Anwar go. Mahathir remarked that he himself found Anwar difficult to handle and he had no confidence that Abdullah could do any better. In Mahathir’s eyes, Abdullah was an inept fool who miscalculated by releasing Anwar.
What Mahathir did not know was that Abdullah did not really fully comprehend the ramifications of Anwar’s release. In fact, it was Khairy who reckoned that Anwar’s release would be beneficial to his own political career. Firstly, Khairy felt that Anwar would always be a useful tool against other Umno politicians who might threaten Abdullah’s throne; people such as Tengku Razaleigh and Najib. Secondly, Khairy felt releasing Anwar and meeting him openly would increase his popularity (and Abdullah’s).
Part 8 – Sunset, sunrise
However, behind the scenes, both Abdullah and Khairy have continued to at least maintain some form of relationship with Anwar. Abdullah himself has said nothing about any telephone calls to or from Anwar. Khairy, on the other hand, has been very open to his inner circle about his constant communication and, indeed, about meetings with Anwar’s stalwarts such as PKR Youth Leader Ezam Mohd Nor. Those in the know include Khairy’s men who are obvious Anwar supporters; such as Zambry Abdul Kader as well as the usual suspects such as Norza Zakaria.
Part 9 – Birth of a salesman
Khairy Jamaludin did not start out immensely rich, although his family was well off due to the position of his father as a prominent member of the diplomatic community. The family could not equal other notable scions of UMNO Youth such as the Hishammuddin Hussein-Najib Tun Razak clan who are descended from the first Malay billionaire, Tan Sri Noah, or the Sheikh Fadzir family, comprising of Kadir, Aziz, Musa and Haidar, whose palatial Kulim mansion dwarfed even the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur. So Khairy realised he had to build up his wealth fairly quickly especially since, by Malaysian standards, Abdullah Badawi was a rather poor fellow.
Part 10 – The National Auctioneer
One example was Temasek’s entry into TM (previously known as Telekom Malaysia). Temasek had bought 5% of TM for a price of RM1.6 billion in the early days of Abdullah’s administration. It was supposed to be a signal of the major cross-strait thaw in the relationship. As everyone knows, Temasek is also a substantial shareholder of SingTel, run by Lee Hsien Yang, the youngest son of Singapore founder Lee Kuan Yew. It was a massively important political and business deal. What the public did not know was that Temasek had made payments to Khairy through a Singapore-based company closely associated to Khairy proxy and UMNO Supreme Council member, Norza Zakaria. The company had its registered address in the Singapore Land Tower at 50 Raffles Place. Seemingly, payments were made to the company for ‘consultancy services’, but in effect it was nothing more than kickbacks.
Part 11 – Khairy and his Money Factory
The biggest coup that is being planned is a potential sale of residual assets of Danaharta, currently being brokered by Khairy proxy Norza Zakaria through his allies in Singapore. Norza’s company in Singapore is a joint venture with a certain Mr S who is a Singaporean ex-classmate of Khairy in the United World College (UWC). Mr S, ostensibly, is a corporate finance specialist with interests in real-estate and multimedia. He meets up with Khairy and his Khazanah cronies to discuss various ways in which to strip the assets of Malaysian GLCs and make a percentage commission on them. One of the advisors to Khairy is a shareholder of Ethos Consulting who currently works with Deutsche Bank in Kuala Lumpur.
Part 12 – Ringing in the cash till
So, since March, a rough calculation of Khairy’s received and potential income would be as follows:
1. Commission from sale of 5% of TM to Temasek Holdings, Singapore – RM16 million.
2. Commission from the purchase of M1 shares by Khazanah and TM – RM6 million.
3. Expected commission from further sale of 5% of TM to Temasek Holdings, Singapore – RM17 million.
4. Expected commission from sale of Danaharta assets – RM85 million.
5. Expected commission from sale of Felda non-core assets to Temasek Holdings and DBS Bank – RM30 million.
6. Expected commission from allocation of Bumiputra shares in foreign-owned company 1 – RM15 million.
7. Expected commission from allocation of Bumiputra shares in foreign-owned company 2 – RM20 million.
The total amount? A cool RM189 million. And that’s only the ones that have been in the public eye.
Part 13 – He loves me, he loves me not
Unknown to Aziz Samsudin as well as to Mahathir’s other aides, the story about Khairy’s alleged homosexuality was planted by Anwar Ibrahim’s men. A certain former deputy minister who had been a close Anwar supporter (and therefore dropped by Mahathir in the 1999 General Election) had been used to bring the rumour to Aziz’s attention through his civil service friend. The rumour itself was created by then PKR Youth Leader Ezam Mohd Nor who had allegedly ‘heard about the rumour’ from a senior civil servant who was a reformasi sympathiser and who had a child in the same school as Khairy. It was completely untrue. The idea that Khairy is gay is a figment of the imagination of the PKR leaders who desperately wanted to tar Abdullah Badawi whom they felt, at that time, was less sympathetic to the plight of their boss; having been his mortal enemy in UMNO for more than one and a half decades.
Part 14 – Crowning the king
In the matter of Anwar Ibrahim’s goings on, it is Khairy that is entrusted in gauging their value and to produce the next strategy for Abdullah. Abdullah knows that Anwar is more valuable to Khairy than to himself. After all, bringing Anwar back into UMNO’s fold would help Khairy’s credentials as a young but fair politician of the future. Also, Anwar would help prop Khairy up in the face of a Najib onslaught. But as for Abdullah himself, bringing Anwar back can only mean pitting himself for a head-to-head confrontation with the pincer movements of both Mahathir Mohamad and Najib Tun Razak. So, bringing Anwar in is Khairy’s way of transforming himself in the long term from a mere crown prince to a king with real powers.
Part 15 – The game of high stakes
In spite of Anwar’s public pronouncements against rejoining UMNO, the truth is both Anwar and Khairy are testing the waters before the actual gamble is made. Khairy needs to test UMNO members’ reaction to the re-entry of Anwar by denying the ease with which Anwar hopes he could re-enter UMNO. Anwar, on the other hand, needs to test his followers’ perception of his leadership before actually telling them that that choice has been opened up for him. He could not afford to alienate too many of his former reformasi supporters. Though Anwar knows some will fall away in disgust at his opportunism, yet many others will remain simply for the fact that seven years is too long for most of them to be without any political power at all.
Part 16 – The walls that talk
Whether Khairy realises it or not, most of the stories circulating around town regarding his efforts to allow Anwar an easy passage back into UMNO come from sources that are in direct communication with him. While officially denying that Anwar will rejoin UMNO, in private, nothing else is as important. Ezam and Azmin have for some time been dropping Khairy’s name as their source of inside information within UMNO. They have gone so far as to even suggest that Khairy is the main conduit for discussions between Abdullah and Anwar. They say that Khairy is helpful where other officers such as Thajudeen Abdul Wahab are not.
Part 17 – The comforting branch breaks
A few days before Endon’s death, some very close friends of Abdullah, who had been with him through thick and thin from the early days of his foray into the realm of politics, remarked that things weren’t going the way they had predicted. Previously, they thought that with Endon gone from the scene, Abdullah would go back to the old circle of friends who have been the most tried and tested of his most loyal of followers. Instead, they found that, in the dying days of Endons’ life, Abdullah had begun to cling more tightly to Nori and Khairy’s younger set of advisors.
Part 18 – Cannons behind his back
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.
Part 19 – A republic of fear
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.
Part 20 – Does UMNO really want to win?
The special shirt that Khairy wore had extra pockets for the three handphones that he carries around. The First Handphone is the Maxis 012 that is his public number. Everyone knows what it is because Khairy puts it on all his name cards as well as the Pemuda UMNO website. Khairy uses it to send SMSes and the phone is always kept on silent mode because it rings every other minute. Everyone feels that Khairy owes them an audience and they range from the lowest member of UMNO Youth and part-time Internet buff who had come across the number in the old UMNO Youth website, to a Chinese towkay trying his luck with the man Singapore businessmen are already dubbing ‘Mr 20%’.
Part 21: The Aftermath: Whose little victory?
In the past, Khairy’s friends who were close to Najib tried to build a consensus between the two camps. Najib also went to great pains to pander to Khairy’s whims and fancies — such as bowing to his choice of officers in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Department. However, Pengkalan Pasir was the turning point in that relationship. It is now obvious to Najib that Khairy intends to rush headlong into UMNO politics instead of patiently awaiting his turn. At risk is Najib’s own tenure as the future Prime Minister and the position of his allies, including that of his cousin Hishammuddin. The self-seeking publicity Khairy sought in Pengkalan Pasir made it patently obvious to Najib’s camp that this young man was too much in a hurry and was willing to bulldoze his way through.
Part 22: A fatal miscalculation
The flaw that Khairy has developed since his ascension as Vice Youth Chief of UMNO is that he no longer tolerates criticism. In the first place, he has never had a valid circle of friends. His closest companions are foreigners, mainly Singaporeans or Malaysians who have never been schooled in Malaysia. Like him, they are the elite who rarely touch ground with the common people. Khairy tried to transcend this disability by acquiring new friends within UMNO Youth whom he felt was more in touch with the grassroots. Unfortunately, most UMNO Youth leaders turn out to be people who use their alliance with Khairy either to threaten other political rivals or enrich themselves at the expense of genuine businessmen. Khairy, in fact, has no real friends within UMNO, and the few that he has outside it have been rewarded with high posts that they are now afraid to lose. So they have all stopped speaking the truth to Khairy.
Part 23: Faster, Higher, Stronger
Whatever happens in 2006, it will be Khairy’s year to make sure that his dream becomes a reality. The short-term objectives as stated above are the prelude to Khairy securing a parliamentary seat, probably in a by-election sometime in 2007, and entering the cabinet almost immediately after the 12th General Election. The countdown to Khairy assuming the Prime Ministership of the country, which began only around four years ago, has now less than a decade to run. Khairy is not wasting any time and neither should his enemies. At the moment, the odds are on Khairy making the cut while his opponents seem headed towards having themselves sacrificed upon his political altar.
The Truth About Khairy Jamaluddin continues…in Part 25 – A New Deal: Running Out of Time