Whether history will judge Malaysia (under the present regime) well or not in handling the current Malaysian Airlines missing MH370 is a “future tense”. It could take years or even decades with debates from Arctic to Antarctic, and from East to West to determine if Malaysia has indeed done well in managing the crisis. Nevertheless, there’s one person who shines like a diamond – Defence Minister and acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.
It was an open secret that this politician from UMNO screwed up big time during last year’s Sabah invasion episode. It was also a public knowledge that this person was a racist when he brandished a “keris” – a Malay dagger – during his speech while serving as UMNO Youth Chief during its 2005 general assembly, threatening non-Malay about “Malay Supremacy”.
Hishammuddin, the son of third prime minister Hussein Onn, was also alleged to consume alcohol when he was a youngster, something forbidden in Islam. Before the MH370 crisis, Hishammuddin’s image was nothing more than an extremist whom non-UMNO Malays would avoid with a 100 foot pole. It seemed this chap’s prospect of becoming a prime minister one day had been written off.
Foreigners may not know Malaysia, but to climb up political ladder, one has to become an extremist performing threats (the more the better) on non-Malays. That’s the basic requirement in UMNO culture. Extremisms and UMNO work hand in glove. If Hishammuddin’s “keris” waving stunt raises your eyebrows, then prime minister Najib Razak’s allegedly “Bathe the keris with Chinese blood” at a rally in Kampung Baru during his heydays between 1987 to 1989 would send you to ICU.
But, this MH370 crisis has changed the initial perception that Hishammuddin could never become the next prime minister, at least to UMNO and its fanatic fans. Obviously, there’re two main actors in this crisis – cousin brothers Najib and Hishammuddin. Thanks to PM Najib’s cowardice in facing the issue, Hishammuddin’s willingness in taking grilling from foreign journalists makes him a hero.
It was rather strange that PM Najib refused to take a single question from the press. The sight of Australian PM Tony Abbott revealing first-hand information and tackling foreign journalists’ questions further dwarfed PM Najib’s reputation. At best, PM Najib was as useless as a “Clueless Smurf”. At worst, the prime minister was as coward as a chicken. But that would insult cute little chickens, would it not? And he has the cheek to go shopping at Pavilion thereafter.
Make no mistake about it; 52-year-old Hishammuddin didn’t tell the world anything new during his daily press briefing. Almost 99% of what he tells the world can actually be found by googling the internet. He merely parroting what the foreign news have published. What makes him shines from the others was his capability to “consistently” denies international criticisms and repeatedly re-use the same mambo-jumbo jargons. Actually, his press briefing sounds like a broken record.
Among his favourite and famous jargons are “unprecedented”, “corroborate”, “could not be released until it was verified”, “it is not true”, “that’s not accurate”, and of course “I think history will judge us well”. It seems decades of UMNO’s proven culture of “denial syndrome” and “beating around the bush” is paying off handsomely now. Heck, if he continues with the same tactic for a couple of years, assuming that’s how long it will take to find the black box, foreigners could actually believe what he said (*grin*).
I actually almost fell off my chair laughing when a French reporter asked Hishammuddin during a press briefing if he and Prime Minister were cousins, and if he was protected. It was quite a silly question simply because every Tom, Dick and his hamster knows both are cousin brothers and all UMNO supporters are “99% protected”. Clearly foreigners do not know this country. They may think Malaysians still live on trees (*tongue-in-cheek*).
If foreigners think Hishammuddin was bad enough, wait till they talk to other UMNO leaders such as Muhyiddin, Ahmad Zahidi, Noh Omar, Bung Mokhtar or others. Formerly TNB meter reader Muhyiddin, who is now deputy prime minister, and UMNO vice president Ahmad Zahidi could make foreign journalists searching for their English dictionaries, instead of asking about searches for MH370.
Former premier Mahathir was right after all – smart people have gone over to the opposition while UMNO is left with dumbs, idiots, arrogant and hopeless people. Like it or not, Hishammuddin is the best talent money can buy within the present regime. Fortunately he’s the acting Transport Minister during this crisis. Can you imagine the level of chaos if MCA president Liow Tiong Lai was the Transport Minister instead?
Based on Liow’s intelligence during the Bersih-Tung Shin Hospital saga, he would not think twice about telling the world that MH370 didn’t make any U-turn but rather the Boeing 777 was blown by the strong wind to the opposite direction, so much so that it had gone missing somewhere else undetected (*grin*). If you like, Liow could even tell the world that the strong wind was blowing at mind-boggling 45 degrees to that effect.
In reality, this is the best time for Mahathir to launch a campaign to unseat PM Najib Razak. With international and domestic criticisms stacking against the country, how hard could it be to tell Najib to leave Putrajaya and go fly kite? Obviously now is the time to seek revenge against PM Najib for causing Mahathir’s precious son, Mukhriz, humiliation defeat in his quest for an UMNO vice president seat not long ago.
The problem – nobody is interested to take over the driver seat at such a critical moment. To be precise, nobody within UMNO is capable of talking the same “cock and bull” as Hishammuddin in front of foreigners, let alone the intelligence to drive this country out of the current crisis. As the saying goes – if you can do a “half-assed” job of anything, you’re a one-eyed king in the kingdom of the blind.
That’s precisely what Hishammuddin is now. He has shown what it takes to leapfrog the country internationally, never mind the amazing level of incompetence. What matters to the village folks was the courage that he has shown during MH370 press briefings. Yes, he was merely beating around the bush and perhaps lie through his teeth. But he was freaking bloody “consistent” about it, and that’s priceless.
Now that Australian Government is taking lead of the search operation, life is so much better for Hishammuddin. He doesn’t has to worry about messy internal information “corroboration”, not that they can do it flawlessly in the first place. He just needs to get latest update from Australia and read it like a news presenter. Repeat the same mumbo-jumbo jargons during question and answer session and voila, you’ve got a champion.
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