[hot!!...] ... Hishammuddin's New Power: The Dagger is Unsheathed
THE propaganda machine of the government and Barisan Nasional (BN) is going nut trying to play down the growing public skepticism over the recent appointment of (Datuk Seri) Hishammuddin Hussein as Minister with Special Functions in the Prime Minister’s Department.
[REMINDER. Anonymous comments will not be published.]
Read this April 19 New Straits Times’ digital edition headline - Hishammuddin's new portfolio will strengthen Home, Foreign Ministries: Zahid
In simple English, what the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs (Datuk Seri) Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was saying is this:
(Datuk Seri) Hishammuddin Hussein’s appointment as Minister with Special Functions would strengthen the Home and Foreign Ministries.
If Hishammuddin’s appointment “would strengthen the Home and Foreign Ministries” the inferred meaning is the two ministries are either weak or are not strong enough.
That could not be good for Ahmad Zahid because he is the Home Minister. Similarly it reflects negatively on the Foreign Minister, (Datuk Seri) Anifah Aman.
There have been rumours that the Sabahan Anifah is contemplating resignation. It makes sense, therefore, that one of Hishammuddin's additional power is to oversee the Foreign Ministry.
Ironically, this inference was confirmed by Ahmad Zahid himself in the intro of the NST report when he was quoted as saying that “the new tasks assigned to Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, as the Special Functions Minister, are meant to further strengthen the government's and party's leadership institutions.”
What Ahmad Zahid was saying is this. The leadership of the government and the party was not strong enough that Hishammuddin has to be appointed to make it stronger.
There’s no big problem agreeing with Ahmad Zahid on that. The government and party institutions have become week as a result of manipulations by the scandal-tainted Prime Minister (Datuk Seri I Mappadulung Daeng Mattimung Karaeng Sandrobone Sultan Abdul Jalil), Mohd Najib Abdul Razak.
Ahmad Zahid appeared to be in such state of confusion and shock that no matter how hard he tried to justify Hishammuddin’s elevation and put on a strong face, he failed.
While saying that Hishammuddin’s new role would help strengthen the Home and Foreign Ministries, he went on to say “Hishammuddin's new portfolio is not designed to supersede the roles of the Home Ministry and the Foreign Ministry.”
He said: "We have discussed several tasks for Hishammuddin as the Special Functions Minister, which include boosting the leadership institutions of the government and party. I am confident that with his vast experience in government he will be able to help me and the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.”
The NST further quoted Ahmad Zahid as saying that Hishammuddin would assist him and the Prime Minister to address domestic and international issues.
"In my opinion, Hishammuddin is capable of carrying out his additional duty. His new role is not meant to overtake the tasks of the Home Ministry or the Foreign Ministry, but to enhance and complement the role of the prime minister and myself," Zahid told reporters after receiving a courtesy call from Hishammuddin at his office.(Read here).
It was reported that Hishammuddin’s first task as Special Functions Minister is to monitor security in Sabah, where he will be working closely with Zahid and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
Zahid and Musa jointly chair the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone), while Najib is the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) chairman.
In what appears to be a desperate attempt to salvage his tattered reputation, Ahmad Zahid claimed that it was he who suggested that Najib appoint Hishammuddin as the Special Functions Minister three months ago.
"The three of us (Najib, Zahid and Hishammuddin) have something in common. All of us held the post of Defence Minister. So, many things can be done as Defence Minister.
"Hishammuddin's new portfolio will enable him to help me and the prime minister.
"This does not mean that Hishammuddin is representing us, but he is representing the government," he added.
The Plot Thickens
I think that there could be another twist to Ahmad Zahid’s claim that he proposed Hishammuddin’s appointment. He could be doing that upon realising just how unpopular and burdensome Najib has become in recent months.
One way of addressing the problem is to give the impression that Najib is loosening his grips on power and some form of succession is being planned.
It works. There are enough people who believe that Najib is preparing to make an exit.
He might be leaving for good or is merely testing the water and hatching a new survival plan.
It’s better for him not to lead the BN in coming general election than risk defeat.
Losing to the opposition means risking a trial and possibly imprisonment. So it’s better to step aside and let Hishammuddin take charge.
There are many ways of doing this. He could, for instance, go on an extended leave, say for several weeks, to give him rāzônˈdetrə to appoint Hishammuddin as Acting Prime Minister.
|Could the Prime Minister be saying goodby?|
He could have been told by the party that it would lose if he continues to lead. That would be a disaster for him and his family.
My Le Carrean instinct is this. He goes on leave. Makes Hishammuddin Acting PM. Vacates the Pekan seat and hands it over to someone he trust, for example one his sons, resigns the PM post but keeps Umno presidency. The BN wins. He makes a comeback by contesting in the Pekan seat or any other parliamentary seat in a by-election.
These actions would put the opposition in a bind. With him gone (albeit temporarily), the antagonism towards the BN would be reduced and the opposition’s assault would be blunted. That is if the opposition falls into the trap.
The End is Near for Ahmad Zahid
Irrespective of whether my Le Carrean plot happens or not, Ahmad Zahid’s political journey has hit a bump. Hishammuddin has leapfrogged over him.
But it’s not the end of the road. While Hishammuddin may enjoy the support of the BN’s non-Malay parties, Ahmad Zahid is stronger in Umno.
Before Hishammuddin’s appointment, Ahmad Zahid could even be stronger than Najib. This had caused worries among Najib’s and Hishammuddin’s supporters that they plotted to weaken him.
|Hishammuddin-Zahid rivalry: Not anymore a laughing matter|
Najib knows when the crunch comes blood is thicker than water. Ahmad Zahid may be his long time pal and compadre but Hishammuddin is his cousin. For that he gets the cheer for the last mile.