Malaysiakini : “I'm sorry, did I break your concentration? I didn't mean to do
that. Please, continue, you were saying something about best
intentions.” – Jules Winnfield, Pulp Fiction
COMMENT | Dear Khairy Jamaluddin, I do not normally write open letters. The last one
I wrote was to PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, and he didn’t reply.
This made me, as Donald Trump would put it, sad. Now, I know I have
publicly declared you as my bête noire. But really, this was when Umno
was winning, and as you can tell I was pretty pissed. So don’t take it
Anyway, since you are the only one from Umno who speaks “sense,”
as Hannah Yeoh claims, I thought I would address these question to you.
I had attempted to address these question to some of my other Umno
friends, but they demurred. Truth is, I also asked some of these question to Pakatan Harapan
Same reaction. So, I thought, why not Khairy, who really has
nothing to lose. Sorry, didn’t mean to bring up losing. Anyway, the last article
I wrote was about the eventual sublimation of Umno into Harapan. I
received a lot of hate mail from my Umno friends, who said that I should
give the opposition a chance, like I did when Harapan was not the
Now, I don’t know if all these people are your friends, but most of
them said that you are the future of Malay politics, even though most of
them could not stand your guts. I really couldn’t tell if this was
because of what you say, or because they had nothing new to say. But don’t worry. I won’t hold your political baggage against you
because, well, I voted Harapan in and those guys have baggage up the
wazoo. I’ll ask the question and give a little context in italics.
1. What is Malay wisdom? I addressed this question to a few political operatives from Harapan
and they said, whatever Dr Mahathir Mohamad says. Ok, I’m kidding. They
told me that by asking this question, I was spooking the Malays.
All jokes aside, one of them said, it was Khalid Samad’s explanation of the move to compel tahfiz centres to register with Jawi. I thought that this was a pretty good answer. And of course, this same political operative said, “What the hell is
Malay wisdom?” This political operative is Malay, and even she has not
heard of Malay wisdom. I tried asking some of my friends from Umno, and they said Malay
wisdom, is listening to Mahathir when he told them to dump Najib Abdul
Razak. So I guess there is something to listening to the old maverick,
but I digress.
2. Since the majority of Malays voted for Umno and PAS, do you really think that they want a progressive Umno?
See, when you talk about progressive values or ideas, this appeals to
a specific base. I wonder if the Malays who voted for Umno and PAS –
even if they knew Najib was a kleptocrat – really want the kind of ‘new
Malaysia’ that some folks keep babbling on about?
I spoke to a few Malay Harapan operatives, and they attempted to
avoid the question. But you made some pretty interesting choices in your
manifesto, like appealing to the woman vote by creating a woman's seat
for the Umno vice-president post. That’s pretty progressive, but since you lost, do you think that
progressive is the way to go, especially since Harapan also struggles
with this issue?
3. The talk among Umno potentates is how they will pay for
things now they aren’t in government. How exactly do you think that Umno
is going to keep the base intact when the usual modes of enticements
have been cut off?
I mean Harapan talks about an austerity budget, but I am thinking
that Umno must be really scrambling for funds to keep the base happy.
Some folks have told me that they’re wondering if they’ll be targeted by
the Harapan state next. I mean all that looting was not solely done by
4. You mooted the idea that Umno should or could be
multiracial. How exactly would this work, when someone like Mahathir
says the reality of Malaysia is that the majority needs a race-based
Is conventional Malay thinking wrong? If so, then why stick with Umno
or even attempt to reform it? If conventional Malay politics is wrong,
does this mean without an infusion of talent from Umno, Bersatu is
doomed to fail?
5. Do you think lesbians should be caned?
Corollary to that, do you think that watching lesbian S&M porn is
worse than watching a livestream of two lesbians caned by a woman
officer? I only ask because some people are worried that the
Communications and Multimedia Commission are monitoring them when they
watch porn, which is not really true – I think – but who knows with this
6. Do you think that Umno should cut ties with Najib?
Some Harapan supporters have said that Umno is complicit in what Najib did. Just recently, Lim Kit Siang said that Umno should cut tieswith its former president. What is your stand on this issue? From interviews, I know you say that Umno drank the Kool-Aid, but do you think that having Najib around does anything for Umno?
7. If Umno somehow manages to make a deal with Harapan, what would be your response?
Do you think that Umno should make deals with Harapan to form the
government? If not, why not? Many of the Umno folk I have spoken to seem
to think this is a good idea. Some of your public comments seem to
imply you do not.
8. Which is worse, a kleptocracy or a theocracy?
I have said the latter. Some folks think the former. As someone who
has been part of the former, what do you think? This also goes for
working under – sorry, with – PAS. Do you think this political copulation unnatural?
9. Do you think that Umno should punish defectors, or do you think that maybe you should seriously consider abandoning Umno?
I only ask because I find the current crop of young Harapan political
operatives pretty boring. It’s all about kowtowing to the old maverick,
or fretting if Anwar will become the next prime minister. I think that
you want to be the next prime minister.
10. What recent event do you think that Harapan handled
badly, and what would be your response if you were a Harapan political
Well, these are the ten questions. Hope you reply, unlike Hadi, which again, I was extremely sad about.