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The Malaysian Insider: SEPT 26 – The decision by the Umno Supreme Council to postpone the party polls till March next year will have a major impact on many of the big players in the party. Below is the Malaysian Insider’s take on who benefits from it and who loses big time.

WINNERS

• Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak:

After Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi does the inevitable and announces that he will not seek re-election as party president, nearly all 191 nominations from the divisions will flow to Najib.

This new transition plan works for the Deputy Prime Minister like a dream. By persuading Abdullah to accept the March transition plan, he has managed to remove the two impediments to the top job in the party – the possibility of him having to face the wrath of the ground by continuing to stay with Abdullah or the possibility of having to confront Abdullah in a no-holds barred contest.

Not too shabby for someone who only a few months ago was having to defend himself against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The Opposition leader implicated Najib in the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shariibuu and accused him of benefiting in several defence deals while Dr Mahathir accused him of being a coward by not forcing Abdullah out of office after Election 2008.

With Abdullah all but gone, Dr Mahathir will probably rejoin Umno, team up with Najib and fight Anwar. Najib will inherit a united Umno.

• Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin:

He wore the broadest grin today. Not surprising since today was a victory of sorts for the party vice-president.

He has been leading the charge within Umno to force Abdullah to step down since March 8, moving his criticisms from behind closed doors to public forums. Muhyiddin’s main plank of attack was that the party and Barisan Nasional has lost confidence in the PM.

When Abdullah and Najib agreed on the 2010 transition plan, it seemed that Muhyiddin’s efforts were going to end up in tears. But the BN defeat in Permatang Pauh in August galvanised Muhyiddin and other critics of Abdullah.

They whipped up the percolating anti-Abdullah sentiment, making it difficult for either the PM or DPM to ignore them. Now as critic-in-chief, he is poised to be the favourite to suck up most of the nominations for the deputy president’s position.

• Datuk Zaid Ibrahim:

Zaid’s decision to resign from the Cabinet seems to be the correct one in the light of the supreme council decision. In all likelihood, the prime minister is going to be in a lame duck position until the end of his term in March.

It would be a major surprise if Abdullah manages to make any headway with the Judicial Appointments Commission and other judicial reforms.

If Zaid had stayed on in the Cabinet, he would have been occupying space, nothing more. His protector would have been powerless to offer him any cover from the Umno warlords or keep his promise of improving the judiciary.

LOSERS

• Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi:

He has never wanted this type of send-off. In discussions with friends and political supporters, Abdullah made it clear that he wanted to leave on his own terms.

This became challenging after March 8 when the BN lost its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament and four states to the Opposition.

But he regrouped and promised to complete the reforms which he promised Malaysians in his first term of office.

A combination of paralysis of action, dancing to his party’s tune and inability to match Anwar’s vibrancy led him to a cul-de-sac.

Yet he appeared to have pulled off a miraculous escape in July when his plan to hand over power to Najib in 2010 was endorsed by the supreme council.

For a while, it looked like he had bought himself two years to complete his reforms and salvage his legacy.

Anwar’s resounding victory in Permatang Pauh stunned party members and once again, Abdullah or rather his failures became the focus of Umno members.

From then on, it became evident that Abdullah would face a tough time convincing his party men that he deserved their support.

The March timetable is nothing more than a face-saving way of showing Abdullah the exit. He is not leaving on his own terms.

• Many division chiefs and senior Umno politicians:

Postponing the party elections will hit some of these warlords hard in the pocket. Many of them have been spending a great deal of money, and now they will have to loosen their purse strings right up till March.

The winners in March may well turn out to be those with the deepest pockets.

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Excerpt from Mkini Q&A (full article here – subscription reqd):

On the early transition, are you under tremendous pressure to quit?

No, nothing to do with that. Everything has got to do with my work, when I am done with my work, then I am done.

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Soooo.. AAB, what exactly have you done since 2004? You won big in 2004 because TDM stepped down. And you lost big in 2008 because you didn’t do anything since. That about sums up your legacy. Now run along, quickly and go far away coz there’s real work to be done to repair the damage you’ve done.

Like it?

Well, there’s more at Woody’s blog.

If you somehow can’t attend the various candlelight vigils being held all over Malaysia (Ok lah, thus far KL and Penang. So what’s up with you guyz elsewhere?), there’s always the option to put one up on your blog although, trust me, it’s not the same as doing it in real life with others. Despite hot wax dripping on yer fingers and all (with possibly the cops giving you the ‘should I grab this creep‘ look).

Candlelight vigil program? See here.

Two news reports got me thinking whether Malaysian citizens are getting short-changed with their lives.

Story one: She lost MyKad, now citizenship gone too (NST – 26/09/08)

PENAMPANG: At 78, Yong Lee Hua alias Piang Lin’s life as a Malaysian has been put on hold.

She is no longer recognised as a Malaysian citizen after losing her MyKad to a pickpocket last year.

The National Registration Department replaced her lost MyKad with a red identity card — that for permanent residents — though she was born and raised in Sabah,

Yong is now unable to withdraw money from her bank or Amanah Saham Nasional accounts, transfer land to her children or renew her passport to travel — something she has been wanting to do since her husband of 60 years died a few months ago.

“I was born in Kampung Mahandoi (about 5km from here), grew up, got married and bore eight children here. The eldest is 58 years old and the youngest is 32. But suddenly, I am stateless,” she said at her home in Kampung Nosoob. Yong, of Sino-Kadazan parentage, had appealed to the National Registration Department for a MyKad but was told to apply for citizenship.

She obliged, although not quite understanding why she had to when she was already a citizen.

Yong sought the help of Moyog assemblyman Donald Mojuntin, to solve her predicament and “reclaim” her citizenship.

Mojuntin heads the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation party’s citizenship and security bureau. He said he would seek an appointment with the NRD director to help resolve the matter.

He will also ask Upko president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok to bring up the matter with the Home Ministry.

He questioned the department’s rigid stance and their failure to find out why someone with an identity card and a passport could be stripped of citizenship and made a permanent resident.

Story two: Ruler calls in officers over Ragu’s plight (NST – 26/09/08)

IPOH: Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah has summoned state executive councillor A. Sivanesan to the palace with regard to the National Registration Department’s directive to R. Ragu, 33, to obtain a supporting letter from the ruler to apply for a MyKad.

Besides Sivanesan, the directors of the state National Registration Department and state Welfare Department were also summoned to Istana Kinta at 2.30pm today.

“I was informed by the ruler’s office that he wanted the government officers to brief him on Ragu’s case. He is showing concern over the lives and living conditions of his subjects,” Sivanesan said here yesterday.

Ragu’s plight was highlighted in the New Straits Times yesterday.

He had been told by the NRD in Putrajaya to get a letter from Sultan Azlan Shah to enable him to obtain a permanent identification document. Ragu, his wife G. Neelaawathi, 27, and their three young children arrived here on Tuesday to meet Sultan Azlan Shah to obtain the necessary supporting document.

The family has been sleeping and bathing at petrol stations since their arrival here.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said his ministry would be reissuing a temporary identification document to Ragu immediately.

“He can go to the Perak NRD tomorrow or Monday and obtain his green (temporary) MyKad until the ministry considers his application for a permanent (blue) MyKad,” he said after attending buka puasa with Perak NRD staff here yesterday.

He said the government stopped issuing the green MyKad in 2004 but stressed that the ministry planned to re-issue them for the sake of thousands of Malaysians who found it difficult to earn a livelihood without such a card.

Syed Hamid also said the ministry would conduct an investigation to find out who had misled Ragu on the procedure of getting the MyKad.

“He should not have been asked to go to the palace to obtain the letter. We do not involve the Rulers in this situation. That is not the way we (the NRD) operate.”

He said the ministry would find a solution for the thousands of Malaysians who did not possess MyKad, adding that the ministry would not sideline any of them.

He said the ministry would attend to Ragu’s problem immediately, adding that it could have been avoided if the parties concerned had carried out their duties diligently.

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Soooo… SHA, how’s life lately? Hope yer fasting diligently this Ramadan coz I think others, like the folks above, may not have an appetite even if they can afford the high cost of living nowadays.

Let me give yer a bit of advice though. That Home ministry portfolio yer got has a great impact on the lives of Malaysian citizens and it would take someone truly dedicated as a public servant particularly the minister in charge to have it run efficiently. Don’t lah just concentrate on one aspect only i.e. national security coz this nation ain’t at war with anyone.

Your negligence and short-sightedness in fulfilling your duties as a publicly appointed official is making life miserable for certain people and to make it worse, now even the royalty and your BN colleagues have to step in to help you out. Perhaps, yer busy with that UMNO transition or election thingy going around nowadays but it’s no excuse to slack. C’mon man, buck up or ship out, will yer.

Don’t think that having the power to sign ISA detention papers is the only job you should or can do. Oh yeah, that reminds me. How does the RMP decide what RPK wrote about Islam was insensitive to the muslims? I thought that was the prerogative of the royals and the relevant islamic authorities in their respective state, and I don’t recall hearing them saying anything about it. Least of all, putting RPK under a two year detention in KDC.

Are you not therefore over-extending the ISA parameters to encroach on the domain reserved for the royals as decreed in our Federal Constitution? And yet, you have the temerity to lambast another minister for over-stepping his official boundaries.

Speaking of boundaries, we lost PBP because of you, didn’t we?

How do you sleep at night, SHA?

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