16/4/2013, Melaka: At 10am this morning, Melaka’s caretaker Chief Minister, Dato’ Seri Ali Rustam announced the list of UMNO candidates for Malaysia’s 5th May General Election. What was termed by caretaker Prime Minister Najib Razak as “the best transformation lineup BN could offer” had left many UMNO division committee members disoriented, and expressed huge disbelieve.
“Is Najib REALLY serious in fighting corruption? If he is, why in the world is he STILL KEEPING corrupt and unpopular leaders as candidates?” commented a disgruntled grassroot committee after the announcement.
“Najib is not listening to the members’ voices. Not only is he retaining known corrupt candidates, but he is also retaining the non-performing ones,” added another.
Amongst the allegedly unpopular candidates listed by these obviously unhappy UMNO division committee members, include Hassan Rahman (Sg Rambai), Abdul Latiff T.Chik (Teluk Mas), Ghazalee Mohamed (Serkam), Ismail Othman (Kuala Linggi), Ab. Wahab (Durian Tunggal), Amiruddin Yusoff (Ayer Limau), Latipah Omar (Taboh Naning), Mahadevan (new candidate), Karim Sulaiman (formerly Tanjung Bidara) and Lai Meng Chong (Machap).
Rumours were abound that these candidates allegedly have various ‘issues’ at hand. For instance, Hassan Rahman (Sg Rambai) was widely rumoured to have been backed by Chinese taukes, and purportedly did not pass SPRM screening. His opponents questioned how he managed to possess a Mercedes the very next day winning the Sg. Rambai state seat. Not to mention how he managed to out-smart the supposedly rigid selection team, with an impending khalwat case.
Ghazalee Mohamed (formerly Serkam), on the other hand, was said to have been rejected by the people of Serkam, his former constituent, for being unapproachable and not as people-friendly as his predecessor, Ahmad Hamzah.
Whereas, Lai Meng Chong (Machap) was said to only served the Chinese, and neglected the needs of the Malay and Indian communities. Likewise, Abdul Latif was said to only served BN members and neglects other, particularly known opposition members of his constituent.
In the mean time, UMNO Bemban committee members expressed extreme disappointment when Bemban constituency, a Malay-majority area remains ceded to MCA. “The Malays are once again forced to have a non-Muslim leader. Bemban is fast becoming a Chinatown,” complained a Bemban Branch Committee member
Even more upsetting, was the fact a well-respected Masjid Tanah parlimentarian, who had diligently served as a Deputy Minister, and won his seat by a massive majority, was dropped in favor of a young, untested Puteri Head.
“Can you believe… budak yang berhingus, baru keluar dari diaper, diberikan tempat untuk ganti Timbalan Menteri yang berkaliber. Budak berhinggus ni bolehkah berdebat dengan baik di parlimen? Apa, Najib butakah?” (Can you believe, a highly respected statesman who worked toillessly as a Deputy Minister, is being replaced with a naive wet-nose, out-of-diaper girl? Can we even hope that this wet-nose girl can intellectually debate in parliament? Is Najib blind?)
The Masjid Tanah attendee was obviously refering to three-term senior lawyer Abu Seman being dropped in favour of a young, fresh and yet-to-be-tested Mas Ermieyati Samsudin. Najib’s tendency to chose puteri heads in replacement to the more mature and tested women’s wing are not too well received in grassroot level.
Another frustrated senior UMNO division committee member lamented. “What have the likes of Ab. Wahab, Amiruddin (Yusof) and Latipah Omar contributed to their constituencies? Can you name me at least one of their major contributions? These trio spent most of their time officiating functions and traveling to-and-fro Kuala Lumpur. Do they bring new developments or employment to their constituencies? NO. So, why are they being retained?”
At least three voting centers in Ayer Limau and another three in Teluk Mas were reportedly shut down in protest.
“They (UMNO officials) claimed that all candidates had to go through health and background screening. That is utter bullshit. Did you know that both S.Mahadevan and Ab. Karim Sulaiman are sick to the bones? They have to go through regular medical checkups,” whispered an attendee, before adding: “Did you also know, that S.Mahadevan was formerly Melaka’s city council mandore? A landscape, or was it, a garbage collector-mandore? Frankly, I seriously doubt that he even possess a high school diploma.”
Many shook their heads. The resounding question was, “What have these jokers (Najib’s candidates) done for the people?”
The final and perhaps Melaka’s greatest upset was the candidacy of one extremely popular, Amir Hamzah of Pembela BN. The son of former Tokoh Sejarah and Tokoh Budaya, former Senator Aziz Tapa, was tipped to run in his home town, Kampung Rim, Melaka. Amir Hamzah Aziz Tapa has many kampung followers, made a name for himself, during his successful tenure serving the public, as the Director of PEMBELA Barisan Nasional. Although popular with the people, he is disliked by fellow assemblymen for exposing the latter’s inadequacies and inefficiencies.
Unfortunately for the people, Najib handed Kampung Rim’s candidacy to the highly unpopular, unapproachable, unproductive former hospital (health) employee-turned-Serkam assemblyman, Ghazalee Mohamed.
Notwithstanding, if the first major change introduced by Najib is to retain unpopular and corrupt politicians; the second major change is, after thirteen years, Malaccans could finally have a new Chief Minister.
Incumbent, caretaker Chief Minister Ali Rustam has been named to run in Bukit Katil parliament, and is expected to be given a federal position in Putrajaya. In his place? A young politician, who had assiduously positioned himself (for the past 10 years or so) as the next Chief-Minister-in-Waiting, i.e., Idris Haron.
All in all, the ground sentiment of the day was one of disbelieve, discontent and utter dissappointment. The bickering was somewhat curtailed when a usually quiet bystander revealed his thoughts. The elderly man, a driver to a senior UMNO politician, was the least expected person to utter such sudden, thought-provoking statement.
“You should count your blessings not being chosen into Najib’s team. To be chosen as a candidate, you must have at least one, or preferably most, of the following attributes: corruptable, unproductive, lack integrity and ever willing to set aside any moral standing, so as to spring to action at Najib’s every command. This is Najib’s Crook Team specially designed to transform Malaysia into a nation of massive debt and oblivion.”
With this new ‘the best BN had to offer” lineup, perhaps the opposition party could finally stand a better chance making serious inroads into the state of Melaka. And possibly, the entire nation.