#The Writest Thing* The 'Support Najib' demo poser

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Last Updated: 2:53pm, Jan 27, 2014

QUESTIONS and more questions are being asked, as to why the Pasir Salak Umno division held a demonstration to “show its open support” to Datuk Seri Najib Razak last Friday at party headquarters as the Umno supreme council sat for its meeting. Questions like, is there a need for such a show of support at a time when their loyalty to the party president “has not been doubted?” Which brings up another question: Why now? Leading to another poser: Does Najib now need “reassurance” of party support? Why? Isn’t support by all in Umno for him is a given? The reason announced by the Pasir Salak division in holding the “support Najib” demo was to “support the leadership of Datuk Seri Najib to defend the sacred word Allah”. But at the same time the division had also called for tougher action on the “Allah” word controversy. And their banners said it clearly –  “Allah just for Muslims, fight no fear, defend to the last drop of blood”. Now could that be a way of telling the party president that he “has not been forceful enough,” so please “go ahead, be tough, don’t worry we will support you”? The demonstration was obviously well organised. To mobilise members from from Perak to party HQ in Kuala Lumpur with banners and placards needed planning. The instruction surely came from division head Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman. He is also a supreme council member. Did he inform Najib about the demo earlier? Some believe he did. To “boost the president’s confidence in handling the issue”. (At the media conference after the meeting, Najib said Putrajaya upholds the 10-point solution on the issue but it is subject to both the federal and state laws - many see this as not solving the impasse.) Was Najib agreeable to the demo? That is if he had prior information on it. Najib was however said to be “expressionless” when he saw the supporters at the ground floor of Umno headquarters as he was about to leave the premises after the  meeting. He stopped and listened to the pledge of support by the Pasir Salak party members, did not say anything, smiled, shook a few hands before being whisked away to his waiting vehicle. Anyway, was the demo entirely about the need to be tough and stern with regards to the “Allah” controversy? Was there something else? A Perak Umno observer said a party state leader viewed the demo as one which was “planned by Tajuddin to pave the way for his son Faizal to be chosen as BN candidate for Sg Manik in the next general election”. Never mind GE14 might be a long way off. But that was how the leader “reads the situation”. Dr Faizal Tajuddin is currently Pasir Salak Umno Youth chief. Some Perak Umno insiders also felt the demo “is to boost the political standing of Tajuddin and son” while some questioned the staging of the demo itself saying “even if there’s a need for one, it should be done properly involving all divisions. Why only Pasir Salak?”But to some, “it’s only right for the Pasir Salak division to start the ball rolling, taking into account the history of Pasir Salak itself”. Pasir Salak has always been seen as one of the places where the Malay uprising against the British colonial masters started, with the killing of the first British Resident in Perak, JWW Birch, by Malay warrior Datuk Maharajalela. Somehow I can’t comprehend how the incident in 1875 relates to the ‘Support the Umno President’ demonstration in 2014. Forgive me for my ignorance. However, a former Umno strategist who was involved in GE13, in agreeing the demonstration “could well be all about Tajuddin,”  claimed that “there are strong undercurrents in Umno against the president”.   The strategist did not elaborate but said at last Friday’s meeting, supreme council members “diminta menjaga perpaduan” (asked to ensure unity), going on to say the meeting lasted only an hour, which to him was “the shortest supreme council meeting”.    The reason he said was that Najib had to leave early “to survey price of goods in Putrajaya”. All that is opened to interpretation and speculation. Is the ‘Support Najib’ demo timely and justified? A necessity? Nobody’s saying upfront, out loud. Said the Perak Umno observer: Umno leaders have their interest to take care of although they know what’s happening in particular - relating to Najib. But, although there are some who disagree with the president on his handling of the Allah issue and economy, they still feel Umno must not look at Najib negatively and the party must stand solid behind him. And said the observer, many in Umno are taking the “usual stand on anti Najib issues - dismiss it as opposition created”. Well of course. Blaming the opposition is the easiest way out, so to speak.

Mohsin Abdullah is a specialist writer at fz.com. He likes rojak. And nasi campur. And durians. Perhaps that’s why he writes about this, that and everything else. Pretty much rojak and nasi campur. As for his writings, well, they can be like durians. Aromatic and delicious to some people, smelly and off-putting to others.

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