Unexpected Results

  • (Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily)

Khairy Jamaluddin won and Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir was defeated unexpectedly. Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil gained a big victory and Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz tragically lost. Many people were shocked by the unexpected results.

If Khairy and Shahrizat represent Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi's forces while Mukhriz and Rafidah are actually the chosen ones for the future Prime Minister, such results would not only upset the calculations of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, but as well sounds an alarm for the future Prime Minister's strong leadership.

If we say the outcome of UMNO Youth Chief triangle battle is subtle, the result of the one-to-one battle for Wanita Umno Chief has delivered a clear message.

"I still believe, anyway, that UMNO's deep-rooted culture of compromise will come into effective on time."

Shahrizat gained a convincing victory by defeating Rafidah with up to 64.4% votes. However, Khairy won by very slim victory with only 38%. He could only be a weak chief of UMNO Youth in the future.

The power change in Wanita UMNO and Rafidah's step down symbolises, in a sense, the end of a strong man's era, as well as the beginning of the era in which “grassroots stand up to say no”. The UMNO Youth election result has also reflected a similar symbolic meaning.

The battle between Khairy and Mukhriz has been seen as the “Proxy War” of the two former Prime Ministers. Before the UMNO party elections, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad openly asked UMNO Youth delicates not to vote for Khairy and urged Najib not to allow Khairy to enter the Cabinet. His intention was abundantly clear. And now, his son was defeated by his “eyesore” Khairy. Even though he is disappointed, he should accept the brutal truth that the “Mahathir Era” has come to an end and “Mahathir's influence” has been declining.

Mahathir's loss may be Najib's trouble. However, it may probably a great help for Najib, too, as he no longer needs to care about the old man's grumbles. But how should he clean up the mess? How should he re-unite the party? Should Khairy and Shahrizat be appointed members of the Cabinet? How should he appease Dr Mahathir and his son? How should he accommodate differences and persist in reform? All of these are severe challenges that Najib must face.

I still believe, anyway, that UMNO's deep-rooted culture of compromise will come into effective on time. After the fierce battle, factions with their own influences will get closer to the centre of power. They will compromise to keep their political power.

The most important things are the regime and symbiotic interests, after all. Why not sacrifice a little to gain a larger benefit then? This is a political reality, as well as a forever irrefutable “truth” for politicians. (By LIM MUN FAH/ Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/ Sin Chew Daily)

MySinchew 2009.03.27