The UMNO House is Divided

By Din Merican

February 1, 2008


It is an open secret that the UMNO House is divided since the incumbent President Dato Seri Abdullah Badawi took over from his predecessor, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in 2003. A house divided cannot stand, or at least be expected to manage a bigger abode, the Barisan Nasional and lead our country through trying times ahead.

With UMNO under his “control”, Badawi led the Barisan Nasional and won a resounding mandate from Malaysians in 2004 General Elections. He hopes to win a second term as Prime Minister in the soon-to-be held elections in mid-March 2008. By his own admission, he said that he would not be able to repeat his 2004 electoral success.

In the context of his present tiff with his former boss, we can understand why. All the elements seem to conspire against him— economic slowdown, rampant corruption, inflation, racial tension, public safety, and religious obscurantism.

The idea of Badawi becoming the Prime Minister for yet another 5 years, after failing to make any impact on the national scene over the last four years due to his weak leadership and incompetent administration, is raising serious concerns not only for the rakyat and foreign investors, but also his predecessor, the Tun, who is seeing his legacy and achievements systematically destroyed.


Initially, Badawi stopped all mega projects of the previous administration, but throwing all prudence to the wind, he is now launching ambitious schemes of his own with corridors and high risk real estate development with the help of his cronies and political allies.

Was there some agreement between Tun Dr. Mahathir and our Imam Hadhari that the latter would be a one term Prime Minister after which Najib Tun Razak would take over? Yes, said the former Prime Minister. The New Straits Times (February 1, 2008) quoted him as saying: “Even if I said there was a gentleman’s agreement I cannot prove it. But it was my thinking since he (Abdullah) was older than Najib, he should be the PM for a term and then Najib should take over”. Badawi’s response was an emphatic No. “There was no gentleman’s agreement…everyone is entitled to his opinion”. As outsiders, we can never now what actually happened between the two UMNO leaders.

Only Najib who enjoys the support of the Tun may have some knowledge of what had happended. But he is, as usual, distancing himself from “the parties concerned”. He said, “…I am committed to supporting (the Prime Minister) and remaining loyal to him”. Do you believe him? As far as I know, Najib is a very ambitious man who treats the premiership as his divine right. Maybe,Tengku Razaleigh and Tun Mahathir know him better.

My own guess is that Badawi who spent many years as Foreign Minister– and being a yes man and loyal to his boss—plotting his political career would have agreed to anything as long as he became Prime Minister. Remember that he was taking copious notes when he was learning his job during the transition (between June 2002-October, 2003). But now that he has tasted the power and perks of the job (including the opportunity to go globe trotting in his specially fitted Airbus Executive jet), he must have had a change of heart. For him, the Prime Minister’s job is an easy one; just do nothing and act regal. He has not the foggiest idea about leadership; his work ethics is below par; and his time management leaves much to be desired.

Our country suffers when the leader is weak, unfocused and indecisive. Worse still, UMNO is very fractious today. The party is split at least 3 ways between Mahathir loyalists, Badawi supporters and the more ambitious faction led by Najib Tun Razak. It is a classic triad situation and in such a situation, it is always two against one. Will it be Mahathir-Najib versus Badawi, or Badawi-Najib versus Mahathir? Certainly Khairy Jamaluddin will have a role to play in helping his father-in-law to survive this latest Mahathirian onslaught.

Interesting yet uncertain times ahead, but infighting is not helpful for the country. A divided UMNO cannot the Barisan Nasional coalition together. The time has come for Malaysians to seriously vote the alternative coalition in the 12th General Elections.





9 thoughts on “The UMNO House is Divided

  1. Disgraceful UMNO! A shameful lot all trying to outdo one another to be first in line to clean up the nation’s coffer. UMNO/BN has gone beyond repair.

    If they have any conscience, those few ‘right thinking’ members within UMNO should leave and join Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang and Husam Musa, for the sake of Malaysia to save it from down the chute of doom.

  2. I don’t think Dr Mahathir was telling the truth. His story of appointing AAB first because AAB is more senior, then Najib was to take over after one term, is to me a lie and a “bullshit”!

    In the first place who was he(Mahathir) to appoint who should be the next PM after his successor? In the first place, I do not think he trust that snake Najib, one single bit. Only after their strained relationship(AAB-Mahathir), did he start talking about his “preference” for Najib. Mahathir is a devil in disguise, he merely wanted to pith Najib against Abdullah, that was all. The guy’s cunning, evil and conniving! Aren’t we glad we had enough of him? And how did we ever let him over-stay for 22 years? …that was madness!

    Good riddance to bad rubbish!

  3. Does Mahathir really have a legacy? From the Lingamgate to race/religious management, he jsut screwed it up hightime. I have made it known several times that this man does not deserve the platform he stands on.

    I had read with deep breath lately of Tan Sri Abd Malek, who was once the President of the Appeals Court. It is now common knowledge (Tun Dzaiddin had also confirmed this) that he was by-passed twice for the post of Chief Justice of Malaya. I had met Tan Sri in Ipoh once and his judgement on a mandamus case was considered as a watermark and hailed as fair by the parties. Such a gentleman he is. It is the likes of him that our judiciary still hangs on. What a fantastic Chief Justice he would have been. Mahathir pays the price now. His own UMNO division just dumped him for as little as RM200. That’s his worth now.

    During the recent testimony at the Royal Commission, he (Mahathir), through his spokesperson assured that he will answer all questions put forward fully but imagine the scumbag had suddenly short memory and like a slippery snake said “Cannot remember” or “my prerogative” to most of the questions, as if this land belongs to him. He should be ashamed to talk about Badawi, his own successor who just simply outfoxed him. I have no hesitation in pointing the finger at Mahathir for all the ills we are facing today, including chosing a sleeping PM to head this country. So much for his wisdom.

    Fair Malaysian,

    Yes,Mahathir does have a legacy. But it is not likely to be great one,especially with regard to the Judiciary and other institutions of government. Some people including his own nephew Dato Ahmad Mustapha who is the author of the book “The Unmaking of Malaysia” told me that the Tun succumbed to his “own inflated ego”. I have been a great admirer of the Tun’s intellect and that has not changed. The arrogant part of him is new to me because he has always been kind and tolerant of my odd ball views.

    You have said it mostly eloquently. Regards, Din Merican

  4. Mahathir has a legacy and achievements?

    Well, at first I was surprised!
    But wait a minute.

    Yes indeed Mahathir has many legacies and achievements.

    2)Maminco failed foray in london
    3Bank Bumi bailout (2 times)
    4)Proton Saga failure
    5)RM4.7 Billion Port Klang scandal
    6)1997 Financial Crisis
    7)Failed Education system
    8)Malaysian ringgit at all time low against major currencies.
    9)Stock market scandal
    10)Bank Islam 500 million losses
    Amd many more.


    1) institutionalised corruption.
    2)renk seeking mentality
    3)corrupted civil service
    4)corrupt police
    5)corrupt ministers
    6)Rampant inflation
    7)high cost of living and low standard of living
    8)screwed Judiciary – Oh do I not remember!!
    and on and on and on.

    The above are Mahathir better known as Tipu Donkey Mahathir’s Legacies and achievements.

    Who are you trying to con. Conman = Mahathir = Tipu Donkey Mahathir.

    Your views noted. There is nothing we can do about the past. It is water under the bridge. But we now have a chance to change things for a better future. Corrupt and incompetent leaders must go. In a normal democracy, they would have gone long ago. In Malaysia, we are in UMN0cracy where “semua boleh diatur” for the government in power. We must change the system to enable men and women of character and integrity to serve the people. People like you, me and others can do that.That’s why I, as a former supporter of UMNO, decided to become a political activist with Parti KeADILan. Enough is enough. Regards, Din Merican

  5. Bang Din, that’s part of their rebranding exercise. Let it be. We shall do our ways to outsmart them. Let us stay focus in our efforts.


    Politics is war. To win, we must be very organised and disciplined. We must have good strategies with strong field commanders and highly motivated soldiers on the ground. As I travel up north and south and to Sabah, I am pleased to see that our people are already geared up to face the elections which are expected soon. This time, I believe, with the help of Malaysian voters we can inflict a big hole in the UMNO-BN hold on power. You can already see from the UMNO-BN actions on the ground that they themselves are very worried. Malaysia are ready for change, but let us double our efforts. Go to the people, listen to their concerns, touch them, and explain our plans for them.

    Rebranding is cosmetic by design. What is important is the core of the UMNO-BN political machine. It is corrupt and decadent and is ready to implode, only a little push is needed. Repainting the external part of a house does not prevent its termite eaten structure from collapsing to the ground. You have to replace the entire structure and kill the termites. That is something that their leaders would not do for UMNO and BN membership. These chief “termites” have so much to lose that they will make sure that termite and other pest eliminators are finished first. That is precisely what they are doing now.

    Dato Anwar Ibrahim can be likened to a powerful termite eliminator. He is armed with a clear vision and well articulated agenda for the termite infested house called Malaysia. The UMNO-BN vested interests are now doing everything they can to demonise him and will resort to gerrymeandering and other means to ensure that he cannot be become the next Prime Minister. If our voters are smart, they will deliver a strong message to them in the 2008 Elections.

    Regards, Din Merican

  6. Sir,

    I beg to differ.

    There is no clear divide in UMNO now, unlike UMNO was divided when Tengku Razaleigh challenged then Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir, back in 1987 and the mass exodus of Anwar Imbrahim sympathisers leaving the party after the Deputy PM/UMNO President was sacked for a homosexual scandal in Sept 1998.

    More over, the 2500 odd delegates, who will be the ‘decision makers’ in any party election race are for some obvious reason are showing ‘solid’ support to the party leadership. So much so, no one dared to bring it out in the open and the bigger majority of UMNO grass root are actually ‘information insulated’ i.e. they don’t have access to alternative media and fed on Utusan Malaysia, RTM and/or TV3 for their staple political diet.

    Most of them would not even have the opportunity to even read this blog!

    UMNO will remain as it is. Some middle level UMNO leaders would find some truth and degree of conscience to what former President Tun Dr. Mahathir vehemently reiterated over-and-over again and that will just remain as that as these people would only dare to say, “Hey, you are absolutely right! Tapi I sokong you ‘belakang-belakang’ ajalah, okay. Susahlah nak openly support, sekarang ni! Project I belum jalan lagi…….”

    I do not agree with UMNO being divided as PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as the President is too powerful and anyone who has the remote opportunity and/or platform to say something “against the tide”, will not dare to do so. How can UMNO be divided is all these grievances and sheer criticism are ONLY CONFINED at Mamak teh-tarik session forums, over and over all over the country but when it comes to the crux of it, it fizzles out?


    The 2500 delegates can be easily appeased with money, free trips to Mecca for ummrah and contracts. and good fun time whenever they are in Kuala Lumpur for the UMNO General Assembly. After all, it is UMNO’s money politics. Badawi is powerless when UMNO ordinary members and Malaysians start to vote for PKR and its associates. Lawan tetap lawan. PKR is not a party of talk kopitiam types. We mean business and are committed to change for the benefit of all Malaysians. We hope Malaysians will support us in the coming elections. Din Merican

  7. Methinks Badawi will strike a deal with Najib. “Support me this election and I will peacefully hand it over to you in a short while.” This lets Pak Lah save face from a humiliating defeat; making Najib look magnaminous, and UMNO stays united.

    Najib is biding his time. Right now, he has so many problems including Altantuya and the commissions (for purchase of submarines and Russian jets) and etc. He will strike at Abdullah Badawi when the time is right. I am sure Badawi’s advisers and strategists are astute enough to know this. Din Merican

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