Hishamuddin’s steps to power: Loyalty pays off

April 17, 2017


Image result for din merican and dr. kamsiah haider

I have been very critical of Prime Minister Najib Razak on many issues, corruption and governance among them; more often than not, I have been brutally so. Frankly speaking, his record has been dismal since taking over from Tun Abdullah Badawi in 2009 (with thanks to the machinations of his political mentor, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad). Najib’s popularity is now at an all time low.

However, Najib’s decision to give Defence Minister Hishamuddin Tun Hussein Onn a special role in his administration is, in my view, a very strategic, politically astute and timely one. Every leader needs an aide he can trust, not someone who has ambitions of his own to be the 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Hopefully, together and with the help of the charismatic  UMNO Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin, Najib and Hishamuddin can forge a strong alliance to face Malaysian voters in GE-14 on a Malaysia-centric political and socio-economic agenda rather than a Malay nationalist-Islamist one, with a view to bringing Malaysians together again.

Image result for Nijab, Hishamuddin and Khairy

Najib, Hishamuddin and Khairy –a Formidable Combination for UMNO

Hishamuddin to Najib is what Tun Hussein was to Tun Abdul Razak with one fundamental difference. Tun Hussein was a reluctant politician who had the premiership thrust upon him. Our 3rd. Prime Minister was also a man of integrity, a lawyer of excellent aristocratic pedigree and a loyal son of Dato’ Onn Jaafar, who was UMNO’s founder President.

Image result for Nijab, Hishamuddin and Khairy

Hishamuddin,  on the other hand, is a thorough bred UMNO politician who rose through the ranks at a measured pace. One needs to look at his resume to note that he has held key Cabinet positions. He performed  well and served the Prime Minister and UMNO loyally. Finally, his hard work and dedication to his responsibilities have earned him the right to take on this new job. But it is difficult to say that the premiership is his for the taking.

The incumbent Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Zahid Hamidi is a formidable rival with strong support among the UMNO grassroots and Malay nationalists of the extreme right. But at least Hishamuddin is an alternative who represents the moderate face of UMNO, which will be more acceptable to voters and UMNO’s Barisan Nasional partners (MCA, MIC and Gerakan) than the plebian Zahid. I did not mention PAS because I think this Hadi Awang-led Islamic party is headed towards political extinction after GE-14. –Din Merican

Hishammuddin’s steps to power

 by Scott Ng
The new Minister with Special functions occupies an unusual but maybe pivotal role.
Image result for Malaysia's Defence Minister

Hishamuddin as Malaysia’s Defence Minister in Singapore


The appointment of Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein to the position of minister with special functions is one of the more curious political moves in recent memory. The buzz is that Prime Minister Najib Razak needs his first cousin as his right hand man. So one must wonder what must be running through the head of current DPM Zahid Hamidi, especially so close to a general election.

Zahid’s ambition has been noted by several quarters, with some critics believing that he veers too far to the right for the comfort of the public. Nonetheless, the DPM is a valuable asset to the Najib administration, but Hishammuddin’s sudden ascent has thrown the succession plan into disarray.

Hishammuddin certainly has a much better reputation with moderates than Zahid, and perhaps can be seen as something of a peace offering to those spooked by the new religious fundamentalist and ethno-nationalist approach of UMNO.

Unlike his cousin’s other lieutenants, Hishammuddin has kept a low public profile. While he is not looked to for an opinion like Khairy Jamaluddin is whenever a crisis erupts, he is seen as a quiet problem solver, brokering important defence deals in the Middle East and working with China on defence interests.

Image result for Malaysia's Defence Minister

Overall, he is seen as better spoken and more temperate a candidate for leader than Zahid, but memories may be long when it comes to perceptions of a politician’s character. People still remember his belligerence as UNMO Youth Chief. He brandished a keris during his speech at the UMNO General Assembly of 2005. He might have to do a little work to shake off that memory if he is truly positioned to take over as Deputy Prime Minister.

Nonetheless, Hishammuddin’s presence may yet prove to be appealing to the more cosmopolitan of the right wing and an acceptable compromise for the moderates and the left. Such an appeal is something that BN probably feels it needs in facing GE14.

However, the appointment does not signal a complete shift to the middle ground. GE14 is shaping up to be defined as a Malay vs Malay fight. If one thing is certain, it is that all parties will fight over the hallowed motherland vote and the insults will fly thick.

Hishammuddin may yet walk out of this the biggest winner, but only if he is the contrarian of his party and maintains the professional image he has groomed for himself over the past decade or so.

There are some who theorise that Hishammuddin’s appointment signals the beginning of a transition, that our Prime Minister is preparing to step down. If that is true, then all eyes will be watching how he behaves during the coming election campaign period.

At this point, Malaysians simply want a win, and if that win comes in the form of an heir apparent with all his clothes on, it will be a positive start.

Scott Ng is an FMT columnist.

17 thoughts on “Hishamuddin’s steps to power: Loyalty pays off

  1. the face doesnt matter….the dna does and in this case, its still umno/bn dna that will dictate the actions to come

  2. Anyone but MO1-FLOM and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would be an improvement for Malaysia ! All we got from the last few years are an international financial
    scandal, a much sullied national reputation and accelerating, self-inflicted, cost-push inflation.

    I’m still hoping for Anwar Ibrahim to be PM one day.

  3. Even if Hisham is seen as more palatable, he still has Najib’s albatross round his neck because so long as he is or is seen as a last ditch buffer to shield Najib from prosecution, the people will not be happy with him.

    Whoever it is, whether it’s Zahid or Hisham or the Opposition, the people wants to see something done to Najib. The business-as-usual stance which Hisham or Zahid has to take in order for Najib to endorse either of them will not go down well.

    Voting for a remote-controlled Hisham or Zahid is a vote for Najib.

    Here Zahid has a slight advantage. He could go after Najib much easier which is why Najib did not chose him for “Special Functions” or of late any function at all.

  4. Assuming Hisham is the best candidate for the PM job , can we trust Najib , without exception, most politicans ???

    • In fact ,my take is:
      Except for transient 2005 Kris incident, Hisham carries hardly much baggage of significance that leaders of across the political divide can find fault with–Also coming from an illustrious family who are famous and well respected for Integrity and Honesty is an added advantage.

      Hisham is not only the best candidate, but also most qualified and suitable Senior Minister from Umnob and Crtically, from the DIVIDE’s point of view to do the job as PM —

      —to lead and deliver to the needs and aspirations of people and the country, what Datuk Onn, his grandfather,his father,Tun Hussien and D Najib, ( I believe, all genuinely wanted to do but because of far right nationalist extremist circumstances created by some selfish leaders within the party that had now turned rogue with the entrenched MACCP + B Culture), could not achieve, during their reigns —

      —An UNITED Malayan, later, MALAYSIAN COMMUNITY, that is,
      Truely One Malaysia !

      The enemy of the people,the country, the Government and the Opposition Leaders is the Rogue Umnob Culutre of MACCP + Betrayal, which must be Eradicated or brought to near Zero.

      Hisham is the Uniting Force of the nation
      I believe with the likely support of people and the divide,
      he would be able to deliver.

      Najib has made a wise and decisive move in appointing him a Special Function Minister in addition to his Defense portfolio.

      The People should be hopeful ….
      ….at what extent and expense to people of trade-offs with Najib ?

  5. Talk of Hishamuddin appointment borders on desperate grasping for Najib’s failure. Even if everything said is true – Najib hedging his bets, trouble in Najib land, Zahid Hamidi put on check, Hishamuddin taking over as PM and therefore twarthing the racist and religo right in the Party IS STALL FAR FETCH.

    Hishamuddin power base is weak, supposedly will not even win VP next UMNO election. Najib has crossed the line when he partnered with Hadi’s PAS. UMNO right wingers has tasted their future and they are delirious . Hishamuddin will still lose ultimately and Hadi Awang has a better chance of being OM

  6. I didn’t know who he was at the time, and still know little about him, but I first saw him on American news TV how he struggled during daily press briefings handling of the search and investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. He screwed up major. That was the first impression he gave me.

  7. Hishamuddin “performed well”? I would not exactly say that. Witness his much fumbled handling of the Lahad Datu invasion by foreign militants. Poorly armed old men in slippers indeed!

    And the MH370 fiasco? A disaster not only for the unfortunate victims and their families, but also for Hishamuddin, who came out like a bumbling, incompetent leader in those trying times.

    But worst of all, was he not the big-time UMNO wira who, as then UMNO Youth chief, brought out that intimidating Keris Panca Warisan in 2005 and proceeded to unshealth it and kiss in on the UMNO podium in 2007? And repeated it again subsequently?

    Yes, in the Land of the Blind, even the one-eyed is king. And here in our desperate land, the UMNO-dominated Barisan nasional can come up with exactly nothing better even after scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel.

    Hishamuddin is far, far better than his cousin in all the positive aspects, and also much more acceptable than swaggering Zahid in multiple ways, but let us evaluate him fairly with our rose-tinted glasses off.

  8. The Rakyat , the Ruling and the Opposition Leaders Must Wake Up.
    STOP referring to “I ” or “You” as enemy each other and of the nation. In a Democracy System, opposing views and beliefs are to expected to be respected without animosity.

    The Highest Common Dominating Enemy is, unfortunately, the Umnob leaders Culture of MACCP + B*. Everything , every Scandalous, Disenablying or Disruptive Event to the Misfortunes of the People, Can or Predictably be TRACED back to One or More Elements of the Rogue Culture—

    Which is the one WE need to STAY FOCUS and fight and eradicate, instead of Distracting Ourselves and Abusing Our Country with Race and Religious Issues, being Selfishly Exploited for Personal and Political mileage.

    Realistically, No one, including the leaders of the Opposition and Divide should depend predominantly on Mahathir, who was largely responsible for the Entrenchment of the dipilating culutre, Conveniently Expanded by Najib, for Change in finding a long term solution to resolve the woes facing our National. Mahathir could have done it during his 22 years reign, when his power was almost Absolute.
    Internet and social media were almost non existence, then.

    It is Not “your” or “Mine”. It is OUR problems-
    Unfairly will pass down to Our Children and Grandchildren.

    • Edit:
      Paragraph 4 ,

      a. Line 3 , ”’ dipilating” should read ” dilapidating”
      b. Line 5, ” National”. should read ” Nation ”
      C. Line 6, “done “. should read ” rectified”

      Errors are regretted.

    • Still, ultimately the bottom line is Change for better and brighter Malaysia.

      We-Malaysia, are in crisses moment, in transition, where the choice of Quality Leadership from both, the Ruling and Opposition coalitions, is lacking and limited.

      Under the circumstances of time and events unfolding, the most suitable Alternative, may not be the best, is Hishammuddin​. Loyalty is less important to the people and the country than to Najib, personally.

  9. Lemme see whether the theoretical links about this issue of Kissin’ Cousins holds any bird-feed (dedak).

    I refer to the work of the celebrated Economist Albert Hirschman who wrote a short treatise called “Exit, Voice and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organization and States (1970)”. He assumes that all organizations decay over time and go bust (radical pessimism). Therefore one can chose one of three actions:

    1. EXIT (like those blokes PBSM/Warisan) – a most neat, terminal, impersonal (except being kicked out), discernible and quantifiable action that is direct and the purest way to express dissatisfaction;

    2. VOICE (again, like those blokes in PBSM/Warisan) – messy.., anything from faint grumbling, yodeling, to violent protest and even outright rebellion – in the case of inability to change the state of objectionable/intractable affairs. Branded as a criminal exit (i.e sack) with elements of madness, desertion, defection and even treason. Especially if the petition falls on deaf, blind and mute dedak druggies who have been monopolized-vaporized by the ONE (i.e Jibros in an entwined posture – yucks!). Voice often fails in our Malusian politics, simply because the head-honchos are adverse to Truth-Honesty-Candid-Transparency-Intellect-Responsibilty dan lain2.. They prefer unquestioning Loyalty.

    3. LOYALTY – that special or deep attachment to an organization – that helps (or in this case knock-out) group members to voice (small and still, like the Bible says) when exit is an impossibility due to the FEAR of withdrawal symptoms.

    So in final analysis – Kerismudin is absolutely loyal not only to bloodline but also to hopes of power – without lifting a pointing accusing finger. He has no voice of his own (defective chromosome for conscience?) and a sniveling hypocrite. Kudos to Jibros for making him a counterweight to that brain damaged A***h fearing Zahoot, whose tunnel vision will further devolve Malusia into Boliaosia (Hokkien-speak for Nutin’sia).

    Why am i writing on Political economics? God knows..
    Perhaps it’s the “Hiding Hand Principal” also coined by Hirschman. Go wiki it la..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.