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Umno’s empty think tank

Photograph: The Star

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Umno talks as if it is awash with rich talent in its ranks. So Tota takes a look at the Who’s Who in the cabinet and government agencies.

When Pakatan Harapan (PH) elected Dr Mahathir Mohamad as its prime minister-in-waiting, Umno’s leaders mocked the coalition, saying that it lacked intelligent talent and so was compelled to select a 93-year-old as its leader.

Umno talks as if it is awash with rich talent in its ranks. Let us look at the rejects in the cabinet and government agencies.

Najib Razak, apart from his alleged implication in the Altantuya murder case, carries much baggage. It was during his watch as defence minister (2000-2008) that the Scorpene submarine corruption scandal exploded. Also two jet engines went missing in 2007-2008. He has also been accused of being a kleptocrat after RM2.6bn ended up in his personal account.

Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi was once sued by a businessman who accused him of assault. The businessman claimed Zahid punched him at a recreational club in 2006, causing a broken nose and swollen eye. The case dragged on for six years before it was finally settled out of court.

What Nazri Abdul Aziz said about the Allah issue (‘Nazri justifies one country, two rules’), Bersih 2.0 (‘Bersih supporters legally stupid’) and why cabinet ministers cannot declare their income and assets in a public register (‘Nazri: Cabinet ministers, kin not duty bound to declare assets to MACC’) seemingly reveals his short-circuited thinking.

His questionable statement that Malaysia cannot afford the luxury of the separation of powers among the executive, legislature and judiciary shows his rotten thinking.  He continues to be a minister.

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Keris-kisser Hishammuddin Hussein did tremendous damage to inter-ethnic relations. By kissing and raising the keris at the 2008 Umno assembly while delegates made threatening and provocative remarks, he showed he was not above using the ethnic card and playing to the gallery. When MH370 disappeared, he did not distinguish himself in front of the global media with his remarks. Just imagine if such a guy aspires to be prime minister.

Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, defeated, discarded and disgraced, continues as Wanita Umno chief and cabinet minister.

Muhammad Muhammad Taib, despite being caught for currency smuggling in Australia, was appointed to the cabinet by Abdullah Badawi.

Azalina Othman, despite the Champions Youth Cup mess in 2007 and the Brickendonbury controversy (the plan to turn the rubber research centre in Brickendonbury, England, into a high-performance sports centre for Malaysian athletes), continues as a cabinet member.

Khir Toyo, despite his widespread corruption, was kept as Menteri Besar of Selangor. When the Selangor electorate kicked him out in the 2008 election, the hero became zero and spent time in prison for corruption.

Rahim Tamby Chik, despite his controversial past, was appointed chairman of the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda).

Isa Samad was suspended by Umno for indulging in money politics and barred from elections. He was reinstated and became a Negeri Semibilan State Assembly member. He was later appointed chairman of Felda. Now you can understand the mess Felda is in.

Ghani Othman, ex-Menteri Besar of Johor, was implicated in a controversy over a gold coin. He lost his menteri besar’s post when Kit Siang scalped him in Gelang Patah in 2013. Months later, he picked up a cushy position as chairman of a government-linked company, Sime Darby.

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Koh Tsu Koon, kicked out of Penang in 2008, vowed that he would not accept any government post. But a large pay and perks must have made him swallow his pride as he was appointed to the cabinet in 2009.

The controversial Samy Vellu, kicked out of Sungai Siput in 2008, is now enjoying ministerial status plus all the perks that come with it. As an envoy, he is supposed to attract investments from India and the rest of South Asia.

When Najib was asked why he was not interested in attracting intelligent talent into the government, he replied that there were many intelligent and gifted people around but he was looking for loyal people (aka bootlickers). Now you can understand why the country is in such a mess.

Now look at the wealth of talent Pakatan Rakyat has: Anwar Ibrahim, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng, Rafizi Ramli, Tian Chua, Tony Pua, Nurul Izzah Anwar, Abdul Aziz Bari, Azmin Ali, Muhyiddin Yassin, etc. These people are anytime streets ahead in every way compared to the Umno folk listed above.

If the people of Malaysia want to be governed by intelligent and talented people, then they have to elect Pakatan Harapan in the general election.

Tota, short for Theatre Of The Absurd, is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to our Thinking Allowed section – aliran.com

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