21/9: DSKT's campaign slogan "Pemuda berani" (Courageous Youth). Datuk Zahidi's slogan "Pemuda untuk semua" (Youth for all).
"It is by far the longest general election in the history of Malaysia" as how a friend of mine eloquently puts it. We have cast our ballots in March and we were hotly reviewing the prospects of members of parliaments jumping ships by Sept 16th (DSAI did not mention what year). It was covered extensively in our favorite dailies. Forums and blogs had a plethora of issues and virtues to comprehend and debate. That day passed and life went on for everyone. DSAI had deceived Malaysians yet again. As if it were an adaptation from V-for-Vendetta, he had a date, the masks, the followers, the anticipation, the anxiety, the thrill......but no bomb. Did the summer camp in Taiwan for agriculture enthusiasts do its trick or it was not meant to be?
Perhaps many were hoping for this day because of the disgusts in UMNO politicians as apparent in the so called alternative media (no longer alternative i suppose!). The stereotype is still saturated in their minds. UMNO is still dubbed as the path for the lust of power and money. Election analysis concluded that many young Malaysians voted against the current regime. The keris and the broom made huge impacts on posters and banners. 5 states and 1 territory decided it was time to change.
The question that is begged to be asked is whether it has made any difference in those 5 states. Have the efficiency and 'transparency' increased in the state managements? Have you felt a sudden burst of change in your constituency that it constitutes an absolute gift from heaven itself? Or are your wakil rakyat embroiled in taking over the country by defection of BN MPs and nitpicking previous administration's foil and follies. Some are definitely rookies with zero experience in politics. Has it been better for you? Come 2013, will you pick an inexperienced rookie with a clean slate or a seasoned politician with questionable financial status? Should the rookie be retained for the next 5 terms, would he eventually morph into that seasoned politician we once despised?
The race for all posts including the UMNO presidency is now the hot topic. Beginning 9th Oct, all 192 divisions will commence their meetings to nominate their candidates of choice from top to bottom. Many have labeled the current PM as weak and ineffective as commander-in-chief, others hail him as the champion of liberty and reforms. There are quarters questioning DS Najib's potential and capabilities if he were to become PM despite his vast experience since the late Tun Razak passed away. A branch in Pekan Division had earlier presented their proposal to the division to nominate DS Najib as numero uno. In the end, it would be up to the delegates to decide. Some may say that delegates do not represent the taste and will of the majority of 3 million strong memberships. Then again, these delegates will be elected, so it would be the wish of the majority, some what.
Let's now analyze the race for Ketua Pemuda Malaysia. Dato' Mukhriz had a good start with his direct comments about the current presidency. Many young professionals outside of UMNO admire his guts and wish for change, thus his motto "Berani Berubah" (to be courageous for change). Added to his resume is his father's direct influence, the political immortal Tun Dr Mahathir. He garnered the highest votes during last election for the Exco seat.
KJ, the next candidate, needs no introduction. As PM's son in law, he is both controversial and aggresive. He is also gaining significant support within the ranks. His oratory skills and confidence level are widely known strengths, backed by a legion of high performing young professionals. His campaign buzz word is "Setiakawan" (Loyalty among friends).
Enter the next candidate, DS Khir Toyo, former Selangor Menteri Besar. Has been in gear 7 in campaigning. For him, it boils down to simple, plain, practical, good ol' Malay politics. He has, by far, the widest experience among the 3 strong candidates. There is no motto for this veteran, just hard campaigning to woo the young delegates. Some loyalists said vote for him if you don't want the other candidates. His Achilles's heel will be the loss of the state to the hands of the Opposition but he is no doubt ready with an answer and it's tough to beat that answer. His blog has breached the 1-million mark. Who said he's not popular?
In national politics 6 months ago, it was about choosing rookie candidates and not BN. In the upcoming UMNO election, it will be the test of choosing the lesser of two evils. I could be wrong.
Oh, forgot to mention the 4th candidate.