Some UMNO leaders have referred Women Minister Shahrizat Jalil a liability to the party and called for her resignation. This call is in obvious reference to the RM250 million National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) public uproar caused by Shahrizat’s husband Dr. Ismail Salleh, who in turn had justified that the NFC is managing well and “is on track to produce 60,000 head of cattle by 2015”. Dr. Ismail Salleh even declared that the purchase of the two exclusive condos at RM6.9 million each from NFC’s fund as valid investment generating a monthly income of RM70,000 per unit of condo to the company; ignoring the moral justification in spending something that is unrelated to the NFC project. If Dr. Ismail Salleh believes that public criticism against him relating to the alleged mismanagement of the NFC is done in bad taste and deemed malicious, then I think the Auditor General ought to be blame for having reported that the NFC was in a ‘mess’, and not the opposition or members of the public. The primary reason for the public uproar is because the public is concern as it is their money that is at stake; not that of any individual or party.
I believe the upcoming UMNO General Assembly would be tough for Shahrizat being the party’s Wanita Chief to defend the criticism labeled at her and the action of her husband by some party members over the NFC affairs. How will she disentangle herself from the NFC fiasco and to defend the call for her resignation from party members, will be her fiercest challenge ever as a minister and the Wanita Chief. I believe too that the NFC issue is now a bane to the party’s leadership in the upcoming UMNO General Assembly, and if this issue is allowed to be debated, it could well be the downfall of Shahrizat. But if the party refrains from debating the issue, it will be fodder for the opposition to claim that UMNO is a party that condones abuses and the mismanagement of public fund, allows preferential treatment to cronies and protects acts of corrupt practices by those closely associated with the top party leadership. Indeed, UMNO is in dilemma caused by the family members of Shahrizat, and the party has to resolve this before the general elections.
The recent statement by UMNO Deputy President Muhyiddin Yasin that the upcoming general election will be the ‘mother of all elections’, I believe is in reference to the many unsettled issues plaguing the party, and the NFC fiasco could well be one of the issues. It also signals that all is not too well within the party caused primarily by the doings of the party members themselves. I also believe that Muhyiddin now recognizes that the opposition is no longer to be taken for granted; rather the opposition is a party that has gained strength since the 2008 general elections. This warning however does not go down well with some party leaders who remain complacent in the belief that all is in the party’s favour. If the warnings of the likes of Tun Mahathir, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and the ‘old guards’ of UMNO that the party is slipping into oblivion and is beyond redemption is ignored, then I can confidently say that UMNO’s death is inevitable and Putrajaya will be lost forever. What will happen to the UMNO/BN leaders then following their eviction from power is anyone’s guess.
Now, PKR’s daring expose to stage its national congress at the very heart of UMNO’s bastion i.e. Johor recently is not to be taken lightly. Rather, it should serve as a barometer of support that Johoreans too are ready to shift their allegiance in PKR’s favour, given the party’s successes in governing the states controlled by the opposition. Here again, it is the Auditor General’s report that had claimed the successes of the opposition held states, notably Selangor and Penang that were ravaged by poor governance, mismanagement and incompetency by the leaders of the previously held government. People are now beginning to question where and what has the previous government done wrong and what has the present state government done to deserve a good billing by the Auditor General. UMNO/BN has to accept their past failures and no amount of denying, justification and accusation could redeem themselves of their wrongdoings.
And taking the lessons that I have been taught in the military, acknowledging defeat and failure today is the precursor to success in the future. And to withdraw is not an acknowledgement of defeat, but it is survive and to consolidate to fight another battle. Certainly, UMNO/BN can learn a lot from the military to win their political battle.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION