July 5, 2012
UMNO’s Saifuddin Abdullah: Voice of Reason and Moderation
For the 19th Middle Malaysia podcast, media consultant Oon Yeoh speaks to Saifuddin Abdullah, the Deputy Minister for Higher Education and MP for Temerloh.
Regarded by many as the most credible and consistent voice of reason and moderation in BN, Saifuddin talks a bit about his background which molded his idealism. He also explains how a former student activist like him ended up in UMNO.
He insists that UMNO is a lot more inclusive and tolerant of diverse voices than people give it credit for, and cites himself as testament of that. Yet, he admits that at times, he finds himself alone among his colleagues, in advocating the progressive views that he holds.
He nevertheless defends Prime Minister Najib Razak, who faced criticisms that he flip-flopped on his reforms agenda. He refutes Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s views that the upcoming general elections will be the most racist one ever.
When asked to predict the timing for the elections, he indicates that it probably wouldn’t happen too soon. However, he is very confident of BN’s chances of winning the elections.
He also answers the question whether he would entertain any overtures from Pakatan Rakyat, should the opposition manage to wrest control of Putrajaya.
Lastly, he explain the basis for his motto – that the measure of leader is not the number of enemies he vanquishes, but the number of enemies he wins over as friends. Basketball, it seems, plays a big role in that! Listen to Saifuddin in this 12-minute podcast.