Umno is lucky to have Ummi Hafilda Ali to do battle with the forces of democracy
Wonder Woman is the fictional DC Comics Superheroine; here in Malaysia, Umno is lucky to have its own Wonder Woman, Ummi Hafilda Ali. Whenever the Malaysian government is facing a crisis, Ummi Hafilda appears from nowhere, and is ready to do battle with the forces of democracy.
Ummi was campaigning in Kerdau and Merlimau, for Umno in 2011. She emerged just before the Sodomy II verdict in January 2012. Whenever Umno is plagued with bad news, trust Ummi to pop up. Diversion is the name of Umno’s game.
Wonder Woman wears a golden tiara which doubles up as a throwing weapon, which will return to her, like a boomerang. There is no tiara on Ummi’s head save for a tudung which complements her outfit. The only things that will boomerang back for Ummi, are her threats. They have a habit of returning to ridicule her.
Wonder Woman’s wrists are covered by indestructible bracelets which can deflect bullets. Ummi’s wrists, neck and fingers are adorned with bling. With her gift of the gab, she has no hesitation in trying to deflect criticism.
Where Wonder Woman is skilled in hand-to-hand combat and tactical warfare, Ummi is an expert in trading insults. Her favourite topics are Anwar Ibrahim, his wife Wan Azizah and Ummi’s own brother, Azmin Ali. She leaves tactical warfare to her mentor, the former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.
The animal-like cunning which Wonder Woman possesses stems from her natural rapport with animals and her ability to communicate with them. Ummi’s people skills mean that she can clear a room in minutes, if not seconds.
To extract information, Wonder Woman uses the Lasso of Truth to force those who are bound by it, to reveal the truth. Our Wonder Woman, Ummi, extracts information by threatening to spray people with her “golden showers”. Her speciality is to sensationalise issues, with “secret” and “shocking” revelations.
Wonder Woman is considered a feminist icon, but Ummi uses her femininity, heavily made-up eyes and crocodile tears, for effect.
On World Press Freedom Day, Najib was criticised for his attacks on the media and his censorship of the press. By lunchtime, his appetite must have waned when his past came to haunt him. The damming news was that as defence minister, he had allegedly demanded RM3 billion to be diverted to Perimekar Sdn Bhd, as part of the Scorpene submarine deal. His stomach must have turned when the French hinted that an international arrest warrant could be issued if he refused to testify.
Will Umno’s Wonder Woman be able to distract us from the bad news hounding Najib’s administration?
Bersih 3.0 scored a triumphant sit-down protest on April 28. By the end of the day, stories of police brutality and engineered acts of violence dogged Najib’s administration.
The following day, more allegations of violence surfaced, including acts against foreign reporters. The mainstream media looked foolish when all they could report was Najib enjoying his goreng pisang in Kuching.
That is reporting Malaysian style – eating is the most important issue, pandering to politicians’ wishes is a close second. The Malaysian version of “Nero fiddles, while Rome burns” must be “Najib eats while KL smoulders”.
By Monday, both the BBC and Al-Jazeera networks lodged protests because their televised reports on Bersih had been censored by Astro. More victims of police assaults come forward.
On May 1, Astro admits to doctoring the foreign news reports. Najib’s problems worsened when the Workers’s Day march revealed that workers were disappointed with his minimum wage policy.
With pressure on Najib growing, the Umno retaliation was bound to intensify. Azmin Ali, the PKR deputy president, suddenly found himself featured in pro-Umno blogs, when a man allegedly looking like him, was filmed in a sexual tryst.
Perhaps, this is the start of the hiding of all the bad news. Umno is aware that Malaysians, especially the cloistered Malays, can be sidetracked by a juicy sexual saga.
All was not well at Seri Perdana on May 2, when Najib read opposition allegations that Shahrizat Abdul Jalil had been responsible for the misuse of ministerial funds by channeling them into Wanita Umno activities. The National Feedlot Corporation scandal had been temporarily forgotten, but now, it is adding to the PM’s woes.
When members of MIC waylaid and attacked a delegation from PKR who were meeting Najib for a pre-arranged appointment, the PM must have been apoplectic with more news of thuggery.
By now, the world was scrutinising him. Najib must have squirmed when the New Straits Times published an article “Observer under scrutiny”, and tried to discredit the Australian senator Nicholas Xenophon.
Azmin, too had woken up on May 2 to find himself on the front pages of Utusan Malaysia.
By nightfall, Umno’s Wonder Woman was at work and challenging Azmin to make a police report to clear the family name. Sibling rivalry is taken to new heights by Ummi.
Najib is probably in the final act of Umno’s pantomime. Last time, he summoned his own version of the Super Heroes to his assistance. There was Buttman (not Batman mind you) Saiful Bukhary Azlan, the Joker aka Muhyiddin Yassin, the Riddler aka Hishammuddin Hussein, Doctor Doom aka Dr Rais Yatim, Two-Face aka Nazri Aziz, Cow Woman aka Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Darth Vader aka Dr Mahathir, the Troll aka Bung Radin, the Enchantress aka “The First Lady” and of course, Wonder Woman.
Poor Najib. He must seem like Atlas bearing the weight of the world’s troubles on his shoulders, except that he is carrying his past greed and follies, plus the avarice of his wife on his back.
The Super Villains including Umno’s Wonder Woman, might find it easier to achieve world peace than to save Najib.
Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.