Friday, April 03, 2009

Tributing AAB : Enter with a bang...exit in whimper...

1. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (AAB)'s last day as the 5th Prime Minister of Malaysia is on 2nd April 2009. He assumed office on 31st October 2003.

2. Born on 26th November 1939, his ascendancy to Malaysian premiership is a roller coaster ride. Many may not have known or notice that AAB's grandfather, Syeikh Abdullah Badawi Fahim, is one of the founding fathers of Hizbul Muslimin, later known as PAS.

3. Careerwise, AAB joined the malaysian Administrative and Diplomatic Corps and amongst the posts held was Director of Youth (Ministry of Youth and Sports), secretary of the emergency National Council (MAGERAN) before actively joining politics in 1978. Then in 1978, he became the MP for Kepala Batas, replacing his father who died. Ironically, both AAB and his father choose to be politically active in UMNO who is a sworn enemy of PAS, his grandfather's party.

4. Politically, AAB is the Musa Hitam's protege. During the 1987-1988 UMNO GA where Manhathir's was seriously challenged by Tg Razaleigh/Musa Hitam's B team, AAB is in silent support to team B. As a direct result, he was sacked from his Ministerial post and UMNO left him in political limbo in 1988. Despite the sacking, he remain UMNO member thus alienating his former mentor.

5. From thereon, he won, lost and reclaimed the UMNO Vice Presidency post which also saw him serving in many ministries as including Foreign minister, Minister of Home Affairs. In 1998, he replaced Anwar Ibrahim as the Deputy Prime Minister before Mahathir Mohamed handed over the Premiership to him.

6. AAB's first promise when taking over is to clamp down on corruption. He continued with arrest of Eric Chia and Kasitah Gadam which was widely applauded by the public. His "Work with me and not work for me" slogan was also accepted by the public.

7. During the 11th GE held in 2004, the public gave him a landslide victory winning almost 90 % of the parliamentary seats. The victory was seen as an endorsement to his promise to clamp corruption, ending economic legacy and grandiose projects of his predecessor.

8. However, the honeymoon period soon came to an end. Abdullah has been criticized as to his handling of the sudden hikes in the price of petrol and electricity through the restructuring of government subsidies, especially as it is detrimental to Malaysia's position as a traditional exporter.

9. The public became increasingly vocal against the so called "influence" Khairy Jamaluddin (KJ) had over AAB with KJ's gang of 4th floor boys controlling AAB's decisions. Matters turned worse when Mahathir started to openly critise AAB.

10. AAB's mentor, Musa Hitam, coined the phrase "elegant silence" when AAB did not respond to the public's outcry against his policies.

11. AAB's impending departure began on 10th November 2007, a day after the annual UMNO general assembly, when thousands upon thousands of Malaysians regardless of race, religion or creed took to the streets and marched to Istana Negara to hand over the memorandum to the King. This is in response to AAB's and KJ's tough stance during the UMNO assembly chanting "Jangan cabar saya (Do not dare me) ".

12. Barely 2 weeks later, thousands of Hindraf supporters tried to make their way to the British embassy to hand over their memorandum on the plights of the minority Indians. Scores of the marchers were charged with participating in illegal gathering whilst 5 of its leaders are sent to Kamunting under ISA.

13. During his tenure, AAB's close families and friends were awarded controversial projects spanning from the development of Pulau Wan Man in Terengganu, PGCC in Penang, KTMB's supply of coaches, Air Asia's proposal on KLIA east (which was later abandoned), privatisation of IJN (which was later called off by Sime darby). and others.

14. Mild in nature, AAB's calmness awkwardly works against him. He is seen as "flip flop" in major decisions. His cabinet selection was dysfunctional with instances where Ministers contradict each other, lacking in common consensus.

15. The public dissatisfaction of November 2007 multiplied through new media, questioning AAB's every moves and piling more pressure to him.

16. In the end, the public's dissatisfaction doomed AAB in the 12th GE held on 8th March 2008,
he lost PKedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor and Kelantan to PR with the parliament majority of less than 2/3 - the worst in BN history. The GE saw the defeat of the likes of Samy Vellu, Koh Tsu Koon, M Kayveas, Ong Ka Ting and other big guns of BN.

17. The GE results inspired senior UMNO leaders to ask for AAB's retirement. Finally, in July 2008, AAB relented to the request and announced his plan to release the PM post.

18. Some may ask, what is AAB's weakness? He is too good to be a ruthless politicial like Mahathir. AAB just could not get out of Mahathir's shadow. Like Tg Razaleigh, AAB is too gentleman to push forward his agenda on reforms. He may have the noble ideas, but he lack guts and courage to push for reform agendas. If he were to proceed with the reforms agenda as per demanded by the public, he would have won comfortably in 12th GE.

19. AAB claims that he has big ears. But he failed to hear the publics' call for help and reforms. He failed to hear the publics' concern on issues linked to top leaderships. AAB failed to mobilise his government to weed out the corrupt and reduce corruption.

20. In both domestic and international issues, AAB is seen as unfirm in his dealings. He take things for granted, never willing to improvise. In the end, Malaysia failed to progress under his leadership. The lame is not his alone but the blame should be shared by both the previous and present Ministers.

21. AAB came with a bang. Grand entrance, outpouring public support. Somehow, he lost his theme halfway and now he exits in a whimper. He leaves behind a deputy with heavy baggage, So far, the deputy has failed to secure the publics' confidence in him.

22. AAB may be full of ideas, either from himself or from his advisers but he has no follow through program. Obviously, AAB's 4th floor boys are just good in theory but has no mechanism to implement the ideas. In the end, AAB takes the fall of his advisers' failures....that is AAB and let us remember him as the kind and gentle person he is...

Till then...G'nite M'sia...wherever u are...


Anonymous said...

Hey the d'nightcaller,
Have just exited the blogging world. In my last post, I said that the installation of NTR should be delayed, and when it was not, I stuck to my word and deleted my blog.

The return of Dr Mahadey will be yet another twist to this tale. NTR now has to balance co-PM Rosmah, the MCA, UMNO, and now Tun.

And he inherits an economy based on a system that is now outdated, i.e. the export driven growth model.

Well, it does not look good, I'm afraid.

It could turn out to be another tumolotous year ahead of us

~Blogger formerly known as Wenger J Khairy

nightcaller said...

Dear Wenger aka anon

Do not give up. There are things, however small, that can be done. It is the flow of thoughts that count.

Take things positively. There are two sides of a coin. Sometimes we end up on the wrong side of the coin, but does that matter? is the exchange of ideas that matters.

Lastly, take a few days rest...forget about Taiping, Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai. After that, return with refresh mind but with the same principle. That's the gist of it-that your principle is non-bargainable.

Till then...G'nite anon Wenger...wherever u are...