The last article that I wrote was regarding the challenge for the post of UMNO Deputy President between Muhyiddin and Zahid Hamidi, whom I thought are the two best candidates for the post. In this article, I will try to assess the candidates for the post of UMNO Youth Chief, notably Khir Toyo, Mukriz Mahathir, Khairy Jamaludin and Zahidi Zainal Abidin..
The post of UMNO Youth Chief is said to be critical and is all important, because it is suppose to moderate and shape the future of UMNO, and a strong voice in influencing policies that affects the Malay community in particular. However, over the last few years, and particularly under the current leadership, UMNO youth is not what it is suppose to be. Rhetorics and playing the echo of its leaders, is prominently displayed. The keris wielding rhetoric is an excellent example, and when challenged by BN component parties, the howling and screaming antics suddenly died down to mere whimpers. I suppose the keris wasn't sharp enough, or was it the fear of the sight of blood flowing from the keris?
Let me now give you my frank asessment of each candidate, based not on knowing them personally, but on the things that I read, hear (rumours or otherwise), and the closest I could get, is to hear their voices and actions on TV, and the internet.
He was a surprise choice of MB Selangor upon the departure of Abu Hassan Omar. He must have attracted the attention of Tun Mahathir who was then the PM, as having the pre-requisite qualities of a state leader, though he was young and inexperience. He proved capable enough to head the state government for two terms, and was devoid of serious controversies that could mar his standing as a state leader.
I am told that he is quite passionate, patience and humble; traits that he must have acquired as a trained dentist. His personal traits is also reflected in his writings that I read from his blog. He tries to avoid controversies, and he uses words of moderation. The negative side of him, I am told is that he practises parochialism, and favouring those with Javanese inheritence, for which he denies.
A plus point for Khir Toyo is that he has acquired enough experience in government, and is credited to have brought the state of Selangor to great heights. The state today is undoubtedly one of the most prosperous in Malaysia.
A chip of the old block. Charismatic and speaks his mind. Mukriz is untested in turbulent times, and certainly lacks the experience to lead. He has been a follower of sorts, but he has the advantage of a mentor i.e. his father Tun Mahathir who could be useful to motivate and guide him. Though not as astute as his father, he has developed the passion to challenge, and to cast away the follower mentality.
He seems to be well like, and I suppose the legacy of his father could be a strong point to usher him to the top post. Certainly, he has to rely heavily on the support from members of his home state, and from the support that he garnered during the last elections, his chances seems good. One ought to remember that Mukriz is also the President of Ansara (the association of former MARA students), and I am told that members of Ansara within UMNO youth, has strong influence over the youth. Sadly, he has not acquired the oratory skills and the wit of his father.
Am told that he is a graduate of Oxford University, and the son of a diplomat. Being the son of a diplomat, he would have very little exposure to be schooling in this country. He therefore cannot recall his local schoolmates, some of whom may have excelled in their respective profession.
His involvement in politics is only recent, and to be made the undisputed Deputy UMNO Youth leader in double quick time, is a stange phenomena in UMNO politics, particularly under the Pak Lah's leadership. This is where the trouble begins for Pak Lah's administration. Being a smart alex alone is not enough in politics. One has to read the book titled 'The Reluctant Politician' relating to the second Deputy Prime Minister Tun Dr. Ismail, to fully grasp the traits of what a politician should be...honest, sincere, firm, hardworking, and most importantly, incorruptible. Sincerely, I do not know whether Khairy has these traits.
However, one things is for certain. His antics during the by-elections, prior to the PRU 12 shows his immuturity in handling crowds from the opposition.He acted like a gangster, and only to wither away when challenged. I recall during the last general elections, he was challenged to a debate by his opponent Badrul Hisham in Rembau, but that challenge was not taken. If indeed he is smart and brilliant, he would have willingly accepted the challenge.
He claimed to have special patronage being the son-in-law of the Prime Minister. This was a discredit to his character, and for all that has been said about him (bad or otherwise), within and outside the circles of UMNO, may prove to be correct.
Zahidi Zainal Abidin
Sincerely, I know the least about Zahidi. Hence, it will be wrong for me to make any assessment of him. I have tried to get some information regarding Zahidi from friends, but the answer I get is that more of Zahidi will be known in a few days time.
Finally, for those who read this article, many agree or disagree with my assessment of the three (minus Zahidi) individuals likely to contest for the UMNO Youth post. I would appreciate if new known inputs concerning the individuals be made known to me in your comments, so that I could reassess and make my final judgment as to who is favoured to win the contest.