Nothing new at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman last night, just plenty of hot-air

umar mukhtar

Umar Mukhtar

After listening to ex-DPM Muhyiddin Yassin and ex-PM Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Sultan Sulaiman Club last night, one can’t help feeling that this is nothing more than an intra-party dispute  between this group and PM Najib Razak on how UMNO should be run. Good luck to them.

Allegations abound of Najib’s  mismanagement of the party and by extension the country, which if left unchecked, will result in the downfall of UMNO. Much like listening to an election ceramah between groups that don’t like each other and that masquerade as talking about tangible political disputes. It was nothing to be alarmed about.

Through that fog of allegations and counter-allegations, the ones that really count are only three. Was the RM 2.6 billion in Najib’s personal account from ill-gotten gains? Were the alleged shenanigans in 1MDB initiated by Najib for his own gain? And were the billions from SRC borrowings from the pension fund KWAP wrongfully used? Somehow the negative consequences of any of the three will result in the nation’s future monetary lost. Simple.

So last night would have been significant if first, the so-called donor of the RM 2.6 billion was identified and whether the person was not in a habit of donating such large sums for whatever purpose and the identified economic or political activities he indulges in are not worthy of such large sums of donations. And second, 1MDB was proven to be Najib’s personal piggy-bank, and also third, if there is ample evidence that SRC’s money is not being put to good productive use. None of these was addressed, just emotive hot-air. 

A cameo appearance of the ex-AG Ghani Patail admitting that he was in the midst of preparing the charge sheet against Najib when he was removed, could have been a sensational addition befitting the occasion. Alas, only the often heard arguments and story-telling that Najib is a bad guy, blah, blah, blah. Nice for teh tarik sessions but not meriting the blown-up expectations that there were things to be heard and digested by ordinary Malaysians. 

Muhyiddin did not exhibit any flair for big-time leadership and Mahathir was his usual patronising self. Amidst partisan applause, the two would still have to take cognizance of objective and educated minds. Without new facts of evidentiary potential, Muhyiddin and Mahathir seemed to be grappling with straws, as it is. Not being an UMNO member, one would have left the club none the wiser.

Unless one has the oratorical prowess of Anwar Ibrahim, ceramahs in these times of pervasive dissemination of whatever information through the social media, are just dreary oral repetitions of whatever that are already in public domain. Their only relevance would be that it can be used as a measure of support by estimating how many supporters attend the ceramahs. 

Even then the tally can be distorted by the phenomenon of “rent-a-crowd” which is prevalently used by all sides. It is, nevertheless, a valid democratic right. If last night’s ceramah was supposed to win over the hearts and minds of this year’s UMNO AGM delegates, it did appear like it was a half-baked attempt engineered by hangers-on.

What is worrying is that these unsubstantiated allegations may cause harm to the country’s reputation as an economic player, which may result in internal economic deterioration. Then everyone loses. So let’s hope that this fiasco will be over soon, whoever the winner. As it is now, Najib has the upper hand, unless the normally mercenary Sarawak Report (the only originator of allegations of Najib’s misdoings) has not closed shop, maybe for a more lucrative reward!

Other happenings are just peripheral to the three said issues. So if there is nothing new and significant to add to these three subjects, let’s chalk down the recent hullabaloo as the death throes of an archaic dinosaur, or simply the ‘syiok sendiri’ escapism of over-the-hill faded personalities needing attention. Either Najib is innocent or he is more skilful at Mahathir’s area of expertise.