Khairy’s game: looking beyond Umno?


By A. Kadir Jasin

With the Rio Olympics coming to an end and the Malaysian contingent doing pretty much okay, the Umno Youth chief, Khairy Jamaluddin, has to up his ante.

Just before leaving for Rio de Janeiro, when declaring open the joint session of the Putrajaya Umno Women, Youth and Puteri wings on Aug. 2, he urged Umno members to defend the leadership and truth even at the risks of being called “macai” and “balaci”.

Khairy’s pledge of loyalty came in the midst of the controversy created by his immediate deputy Khairul Azwan Harun.

The latter had lodged a police report accusing the former Attorney- General, (Tan Sri) Abdul Gani Patail, former Bank Negara Governor, (Tan Sri) Zeti Akhtar Aziz and former Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, (Tan Sri) Abu Kasim Mohamed of conspiring to topple the Prime Minister and the government.

The report has since been dismissed by Khalid as hearsay while Najib and Khairy have described it as the work of an individual.

If it is hearsay, Khalid should investigate Khairul Azwan for making a false report. Lodging a false police report is an offence.

Instead, the number one policeman arbitrarily closed the case whereas in one or two other cases people who made police reports against Najib and 1MDB were investigated and charged in court.

If indeed the IGP is truly professional and acts without fear and favour he should get his officers to investigate Khairul Azwan and clear the name of his three former civil service colleagues.

After all they were once members of the task force investigating 1MDB.

Despite having his report thrown out, Khairul Azwan is adamant that his action represents the view of the Umno Youth and that he had saved Najib from being ousted.

I have a nagging suspicion that Khairy’s gallant defense of the leadership has something to do with the talks that there is an internal conspiracy to remove Najib as party President and Prime Minister.

Hidden somewhere in the loyalty rhetoric is the widening acknowledgement that Najib’s position as party leader and Prime Minister is becoming increasingly untenable. He is not only a liability to the country but more so to Umno and to his own backers.

But to mask the festering discontent, Khairy has to resort to wayang kulit (shadow play).

He is willing to be given the uncomplimentary titles of macai and balachi.

In the contemporary social media lexicon, macai and balaci refer to lowly helpers and runners. The former is from Chinese and the latter is believed to be of Indian origin.

The macais and balacis are the lowest of the dedak-eating party operators. Dedak-eaters generally refer to these people.

Since Khairy is not an ordinary macai and balachi I had suggested that he be given a special title that distinguishes him from the ordinary dedak-eaters.

In my earlier postings I had proposed the term “kamjat” because I consider him to be the “capo de tutti capi” of the macais and the balacis. In the Mafia hierarchy, capo de tutti capi, is the boss of all the bosses.

Kamjat is a Penang street term. One former mainstream newspaper editor, who originated from Penang, once told me that kamjat was a good-for-nothing layabout.

In my days as a cub reporter in Penang in 1969-70, kamjat was used in a mocking and dismissive manner rather than contemptuously.

Readers and debaters are welcome to shed additional light on the term and propose other titles that can be awarded to Khairy and other higher-placed macais and balacis.

Khairy may be willing to be Najib’s chief macai for now and, as a consequence, suffer the contempt of the thinking Malaysians because in the long run he has a more important personal agenda.

He has no intention of sinking with Najib and he is pragmatic enough to work with other Umno leaders to entrench his position. He may even be willing to look beyond wobbly Umno-Barisan Nasional.

A. Kadir Jasin is former group chief editor of New Straits Times Press.

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