Saturday, September 27, 2008

Crafting a Dignified Exit for Pak lah

Flashback Mahathir: Mahathir cried when he made a shock announcement of his intention to retire from all government and political posts. He was eventually persuaded to stay on as UMNO President and Prime Minister until the conclusion of the OIC summit. The infamous cry-at-the-rostrum event marked the commencement of Mahathir long farewell party.

Fast forward Pak Lah: People are still waiting when to cry because Pak Lah has yet to make clear of his intention to quit. He has been persuaded to consider relinquishing both his posts as UMNO President and Prime Minister as soon as possible. But in reality, Pak Lah wanted a long farewell party for him too, just like Mahathir’s.

Really, Pak Lah wanted to quit with dignity. He thinks that he deserved a dignified exit. He loves UMNO, even when times were bad. He never quit UMNO (i.e. unlike Mahathir/Ku Li). He never joined Semangat 46 (i.e. unlike Ku Li). He never joined any other party, and never spoke at the same platform as the opposition to speak against UMNO (i.e. unlike Mahathir). He has no record of going against the party at any point of time.

However, being a loyal UMNO member is not a good enough criterion to be a good leader of UMNO. You need to be able to command respect, and unite the members. You need to also command respect from the other members of the component parties, and unite them. You need to command respect from the people, and unite all Malaysians.

Unfortunately, under Pak Lah, UMNO has become disunited, the component parties have become disunited, and Malaysians has become disunited. Pak Lah tried, but is still unable to command respect from people at all levels: in UMNO, in Barisan, and other Malaysians.

Pak Lah’s latest move to persuade UMNO Supreme Council to agree on the postponement of UMNO elections will add further discontent among the UMNO grassroots.

If Pak Lah decides not to contest the UMNO Presidency post, then why should there be further delay until March to decide on the successor? What further wonders can Pak Lah do during the short transition period, other than going from a farewell party to another?

On the other hand, what good can Pak Lah do if he decides to contest the UMNO Presidency post? If another contender managed to secure enough nominations to go against him, it is already a sign of gross protests from the ground. It will be even more humiliating if Pak Lah is unable or barely secure enough nominations for the UMNO President post. This will of course be an undignified exit for Pak Lah.

So, Jurublog reckons that Pak Lah will use the Hari Raya festivities to greet people and make him feel good and dignified. The papers will portray Pak Lah as a much loved PM, and people want him to continue serving as PM and undertake the necessary reforms. But despite the “overwhelming” show of support, Pak Lah will then make a tearful announcement not to contest in the UMNO elections to enable UMNO move on and select his successor through the party democratic process. Again, Pak Lah will be praise for his courage and dignity.

Even Khairy has been crafting a possible exit. Khairy has complained that he was being sabotaged and barred from meeting some of his supporters, the same allegations that Mukhriz has earlier made. Khairy has also lambasted the UMNO Supreme Council decision to delay the party elections as complicating matters. In any case, should Khairy eventually lost the UMNO Youth Chief contest, he already has a few reasons to explain for the lost. Of course, Khairy can still win the post, as he should be contestant with the deepest pocket of them all.

Let us wait for Pak Lah’s announcement during the Hari Raya festivities on his future undertakings.

But beware, there is Brother Anwar Bin Ibrahim, who always wants to be in the limelight and steal the show. I am sure that Anwar will announce the submission of notice to the Speaker for a vote of no confidence against the PM on the very day Pak Lah makes his announcement.

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