Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamid–Jocelyn Tan’s Positive Spin for Najib Razak

August 2, 2015

Malaysia:  Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Zahid Hamid- The Positive Spin for  Najib Razak

by Jocelyn Tan@www.thestar.com.my


IT was late afternoon by the time the Prime Minister showed up at Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil’s Hari Raya open house in Damansara Heights. It was still crowded because many of the guests had lingered on when they heard that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was coming.

Najib often wears red for Wanita UMNO dos and he stood out in his crimson batik shirt. His face seemed rather flushed although the day had cooled down and someone joked that it must be the political temperature out there.

It had been a super stressful day – he had just sacked Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and also brought the axe down on long-time loyalist Dato’ Seri Shafie Apdal, who had turned against him.

The last time something like this happened in UMNO was when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad sacked Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from the Cabinet and party.It was big time politics and the first thought that crossed the minds of many was that Najib had “done a Mahathir” or as a former UMNO Youth leader put it, Najib had taken a leaf from Mahathir’s playbook.

The ripples from the Cabinet reshuffle have yet to subside. After all, Muhyiddin is UMNO Deputy President and Shafie is one of three Vice-Presidents.

About half an hour after Najib and his wife arrived at Shahrizat’s house, the new Deputy Prime Minister and his wife arrived. It was one of those moments – everyone wanted a piece of Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The presence of the top two was not purely social. The pair were sending an important signal that Shahrizat, the leader of the backbone of the party, is with them. The timing could not have been better.The new No.2 had also had a stressful day, but it was a happy type of stress and some said he was smiling non-stop.

Actually, Dr Ahmad Zahid is one of those natural smilers whose face crinkles up whenever he smiles. The Prime Minister had indicated to him a day earlier but still, he felt rather overwhelmed when it finally happened.

He is the new flavour of the month and everywhere he goes, there are cameras clicking away.

Dr Ahmad Zahid has had a tough guy reputation ever since he took on the Home Ministry job. He has managed to clamp down on organised crime and is popular among the police force. But behind that likeable smile is a rather jantan (masculine) personality and you really do not want to get on his wrong side.

But his image within UMNO is quite different. The UMNO crowd sees him as a people’s politician, someone who is completely without airs and whom the common folk relate to.

His handshakes are firm, he looks people in the eye and he does not hesitate to give friends and long-time associates man hugs. Once, when he met PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang in Mecca, political rivalry was pushed aside and Muslim brotherhood kicked in. He wrapped his arms around the elder man and they held hands and chatted like old friends.

His parents were religious teachers in Bagan Datoh, where he grew up, and that part of his upbringing comes through in the way he carries himself. He was the first Umno leader to have a surau in his house, long before it became the fashion among the Muslim elite.

He is one of the few UMNO leaders who appears at certain public functions in jubah and kopiah, and many had noted that his acceptance speech for the top post was flavoured with Quranic verses.

Dr Ahmad Zahid’s appointment is seen as one of those timely moves in assisting Najib to consolidate the party. The new No.2 is charismatic and can be entrusted to champion the Malay cause and quench Muslim sentiment.

But back to Najib. His party is seeing a new side to him now that the velvet gloves have come off. Very few in his party thought he had the nerve to drop his deputy but he not only chopped his deputy, he also showed his former loyalist the door.

Muhyiddin had gone against the instruction to all Cabinet members that only Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanazlah was authorised to speak on the 1MDB issue while investigations were ongoing. He crossed the line not once but twice.

Shortly after a video of Muhyiddin slamming the 1MDB issue at an UMNO event in Janda Baik went viral, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kader had told aides that was not the way to do things.

“If anyone wants to go against the President, he should resign first. As long as I am in the party, I will defend the president and PM,” he had told his aides.

Najib had said it was a difficult decision to make. Muhyiddin is his senior by a few years and Shafie goes back a long way with him.Moreover, said UMNO supreme council member Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Najib had lent his clout to help the two men win in the last UMNO election and he had not expected them to turn against him.

“Loyalty and teamwork are very important to him. The PM does not scold people. He doesn’t raise his voice or lose his temper even when (he is) angry. He has been too nice and accommodating. I think some people crossed the line,” said Ahmad Shabery.

The reshuffle, regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with it, is the Prime Minister’s prerogative. Even Muhyiddin acknowledges that.It is quite apparent that Najib’s desire to stay on was greater than Muhyiddin’s desire to become Prime Minister. Moreover, the reshuffle came on the same day as his appointment of a new Attorney-General. Beneath Najib’s polished Malay gentleman demeanour lies some very shrewd survival instincts. Those who continue to cross him will probably regret it because having tasted blood, it will be easier the next time around. In fact, he may even come to enjoy the taste of it.To put it in Manglish, his Cabinet members would not dare to “play-play” with him anymore and, as they say, it is better to be feared than to be loved in politics.

His tough line with opponents in his party and Cabinet has, quite surprisingly, drawn him grudging regard from some quarters. For too long, he was known as Mr Nice. But he has shown that he is willing to use the sword.

“I have a feeling that some people like this kind of toughness. It is, in some strange way, equated with leadership and taking charge, especially where the Chinese are concerned. Chinese history and literature are full of such stories of strategic survival,” said Fui Soong, CEO of the CENSE think tank.

All of this should not be taken to mean that the 1MDB issue will go away any time soon. Najib’s team will need to manage the issue and provide answers, closure and more importantly, rebut some of the absurd things popping up every other day.

The latest was another claim by UK-based Sarawak Report claiming that Najib would be charged in court soon. It turned out to be another fake document and was immediately shot down by the Attorney-General’s Department. Najib will continue to come under smear campaigns by groups like Sarawak Report.

But he is now quite unassailable within UMNO because there is no one big enough to challenge him.

His Deputy President is out in the cold and of the three UMNO Vice-Presidents, one has been promoted, another has been chopped and the third is his first cousin.

It is all kao-tim (settled), as the Chinese would say. Politically speaking, it looks like a pretty smooth Machiavellian stroke. He and his new Deputy will now have to go down to assuage the ground over what has happened.But the media interest is about to move on to something new, namely a possible conclusion to what has been described as the greatest mystery in aviation history.

A piece of wreckage or flaperon believed to be part of MH370 has been found washed up on the French Reunion Island off the coast of Madagascar.It was one of those goosebump-inducing type of news – after all these months, the sea currents have carried a part of the aircraft to an island with the uncanny name of Reunion. It is as if the lost souls are reaching out to be reunited with their loved ones.

Airline disasters and political issues have seemed intertwined in dominating the news in the last year or so. And it is about to happen again.

19 thoughts on “Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamid–Jocelyn Tan’s Positive Spin for Najib Razak

  1. The English Test Team is doing well on the soft pitches in England. Spin is working very well. The test will come when they have to play the Australians on harder pitches. Where spin has little effect

  2. CLF, Conrad, Siang Malam, Lawrence Anderson, Isa Manteqi, Tok Cik, orang malaya, Tristan, Nora et.al,

    You can count on Ms. Jocelyn Tan to put a spin anything on UMNO-BN that comes her way. That is why she is second only to Dato Wong, the Star Group Chief Editor, on this spinning game.

    But let us acknowledge that this Najib Machiavellian Cabinet reshuffle sends shivers down to his detractors. Najib can look ahead as he has Rosmah Mansor to cover his right flank, Zahid his left and the IGP and the new A-G to protect his belakang (thank God it is not someone from Punjab!) Unless UMNO moves against him, he is quite safe in his seat of power.

    Even Tun Dr. Mahathir said that he would not comment on 1MDB since he could be breaking the law. He is very law abiding indeed. Have no fear, the Master Yoda will be using his foot soldiers like Kadir Jasin, Zainuddin Maidin and Syed Outside the Box to do it. These guys are prepared to take the fall when it comes to that as they are wira Mahathir yang tulin (genuine).They are good and relentless at what they do.

    While all the political sandiwara is taking place in the coming months, it is the economy stupid, that will make the timid and ampu bodek Malays wake up. They never learn as long as they are spoonfed with goodies from taxpayers (the majority of whom are non-Malay Malaysians).–Din Merican

  3. Is it just me or does everyone have to supress a spasm of vomit when reading JT articles ? I mean I read pro Establishment writers and blogs all the time and sometimes even agree with some of the points they raise….but JT’s works elicits hurling of some kind….

    And using the MH370 fiasco as a deflection, stay classy, Jocelyn, stay classy.

  4. “But let us acknowledge that this Najib Machiavellian Cabinet reshuffle sends shivers down to his detractors.”

    I think Machiavellian best describes Octo and not Najib or rightly Rosmah. This is pure brute UMNO strong-arm tactics that appeals to his cadre and worried sycophants . Everyone saw this coming, it was only a matter of time. He gets points for actually carrying out his wife’s orders but not cojones because the former would entail thinking for himself.

  5. We have all wanted Najib to admit something, anything.

    And we finally got it….. i.e. intelligence is not an important or essential criteria or quality in the appointment of cabinet ministers.

    No need for “leaked” video or doctored, tampered, faked Emails. The man said it himself, so it must be true. So now we can openly call the present members of the Cabinet, (including the newly minted Attorney-General), stupid or at least “un-intelligent” and not risk being sued or hauled up by the IGP for “questioning” for engaging in activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy.

    BTW, Malaysia has scored a historical “First” It must be the first time in all of human history that a leader, whether of a village, a tribe or a nation large or small says openly, perhaps even proudly, that intelligence is not an essential quality he looks for when looking for people to help him run the government which is to look after the lives and livelihood of 30 million souls.

    These 30 millions souls should now ask themselves….do they want to be governed by un-intelligent people?

    I suppose 47% of them, (including the “Low Yat 200”), would scream a resounding “YES”

    Are you in the 47%?

    If so, let’s hear your loyal endorsement of our PM’s criteria for choosing our Cabinet.

  6. Joceline, as usual, wetting her panties when talking about the umno thieves. Zahid, jantan? Remove his bodyguards and i am sure he will weep and slather all over like when Mahathir wanted him as a guest in sg buluh. Hell, your blakang kira punjabi would know a thing or two to do with this fraud.

    As for Joceline, lets just say a bitchs gotta do what a bitch does.

  7. Din,
    But then historical events have proven that such acts are very counter-productive. Macmillian had done it and yet he failed.

  8. A generation of Malay/Muslims’ role models are self serving, incompetent and corrupt politicians creating a mess destroying the country.

    These Malay/Muslim political ‘ leaders ‘ at all levels empowered the worst elements of human nature, influencing their members/supporters into extreme racist, religious extremist/bigot, corrupt. lazy, intolerant, incompetent, dishonesty, irresponsible and etc..This is clearly reflected in the corruption infested and gross mismanagement of the Malay/Muslim dominated administration.

    Due to decades of bad and corrupt political leadership, they will cowardly and shamelessly fight, not proudly work to contribute productively and repay society, to defend their self proclaimed ‘ rights ‘ and ‘ privileges ‘ at all cost, making them a HUGE problem to the country.

  9. Jocelyn is not a dumb girl – she comes from a very political family – her dad used to be the head of MPPP ie the Georgetown City Council and also once upon a time a strongman as President of the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce & industry… she has a brother (Tan Tee Beng) who was an MP under PKR at Nibong Tebal and then switched camp to BN (but as independent) when he had a fallout with both DSAI and LGE – so she has politics running through her veins…

    She is probably aware she is in her last lap too – she needs to get the Datukship soon and probably a step nearer to Wong Chun Wai’s seat… or perhaps even to sit on it… or else in 3 years’ time, The Star will not be able to let her spin like she is spinning now…

    The only people who read and whom I think also believe what she wrote are those in the civil service and in the small towns… other than that I think she has no more audience for her articles…

    I wouldn’t give much weight to what she writes (or spins) nowadays… she has no mass readership anymore… it’s just routine weekly column just to fill the pages…

  10. Praise the cat – whether it is black or white – as long as it is still catching and eating the mice. There’s no dog on the horizon too.

  11. The ‘Economy stupid’, Din? That’s ‘ticklish’ One..
    Have ‘we’ gone through the US$700 mil already? Like a miniature version of trickle down economics?

    BolehLand is now officially TangkapLand – although what they are catching seems to relate to an alphanumeric Acronymed Disaster. I personally feel that there is no way this side of the Universe, that they can keep this under wraps. Something’s always ‘gives’ – certainly at the weakest point. Notice the tremendous amount of band-aids being plastered all over UMNOb? Cash is running out.. Those flurs are greedy beyond redemption.

    We have to be patient, slurp our bubur quietly and be entertained by the thrusts and counter thrusts from both sides. Ultimately One hits the target. The Bigger they are, the more likely they explode, my grandmammy used to say..

  12. Do you all feel entertained by all that is happening in our beloved country. No, I feel the pain and the hurt when my beloved country has been robbed and sent down the gutters – financially, socially and spiritually. I feel so very sorry for the kampung folks who still to this day are not aware of why as the days passed there seems to be no end to their sufferings. The most hard hit now by the high cost of living are these kampung folks. But the silver lining is that young Malays are beginning to realise and are pointing their fingers at their parents and asking them why do they still support a dysfunctional regime.

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