‘Umno’s 2004 landslide victory a curse’

Umno now appears to be losing credibility. Whatever Umno says is no longer readily believable.

by Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz, FMT Columnist

Former Umno assemblyman Mohd Ariff Sabri discovered that much of Daim’s ‘prophecies’ remain relevant.

This article is based on a 45-minute conversation I had with former economic advisor Tun Daim Zainuddin way back in early 2009.

However, I must say this. I did not take notes while we were talking as I wanted to savour the fullness of our conversation.

But as soon as I got back, I quickly wrote notes in my own little red book on what transpired. There was never a doubt in my mind that we would be talking with candour.

I would later discover, this larger than life figure possesses a rapier sharp mind. But most of all I would be disarmed by his willingness to speak easy.

It was obvious Daim was not restrained nor constrained. And our conversation touched a range of issues.

The conversation

I began with: “Tun, I have been meaning to ask this jackpot of a question as to how, before March 2008, you cautioned the government about the trouble in five states.

“And after the elections, you were proven right. And if I remember, many political leaders were very dismissive of you”.

Yes, Daim said.

Even Khir Toyo said before the 2008 polls: “What does Daim know, he has been out of politics”.

Daim said he felt the pulse of the nation then. A lot of grievances were detected on the ground. Business people were coming to talk to him, lamenting of grouses.

There were many issues not favourable to the government.

Daim said he went to see and talked to Pak Lah (former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi).

He asked why Pak Lah wanted to call for general election when he still had time in his favour. The economy was not doing well; there were so many issues not settled – the Hindraf thing, and so on.

Pak Lah said he was confident of securing a two-third majority, added Daim.

He then went on to say that the 2004 landslide victory was actually a curse to Umno and Barisan Nasional.

It made them complacent and arrogant at the same time. That was a lethal combination.

Umno and the need for change

I then asked Daim on how saw the so called changes in Umno after the 2008 GE.

He said: “You know the Umno leaders are talking about change. But where are the changes are they talking of? Do you see any?”

Daim has been Umno treasurer for 17 years and he knows what’s going on with Umno.