April 24, 2010 – 4:11 am

Update: April 25, 9.30pm: Money talks in Barisan politics. P. Kamalanathan of Barisan Nasional (National Front) has won the Hulu Selangor (Selangor, Malaysia) by-election by defeating Datuk Zaid Ibrahim of the People’s Alliance with a majority of 1,725 votes. Kamalanathan polled 24,997 votes against Datuk Zaid’s 23,272 votes. Barisan had expected to win by 6,000 votes. (click here)

A by-election will be held on Sunday in the state of Selangor in Malaysia and the poison pens are out with pro-UMNO blogs running a list of 38 names of “close friends and cronies” of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim asking why should the people still support the opposition when his “friends” are not. Raja Petra Kamarudin of Malaysia Today states the facts about these “big shots.”

The piece is being carried by a few pro-Umno Blogs. They are asking why do people still support Anwar Ibrahim when many of his comrades have already deserted him.

There are many things wrong with this argument. Furthermore, you need to personally know the various personalities before you can get a better understanding of why they left the opposition for the “greener pastures” of Barisan Nasional (National Front).

Many of these 38 people [see list below] were successful Bumiputera contractors and businessmen prior to 1998. They drove around in Mercedes Benzes and BMWs, sometimes chauffer-driven as well. When they joined the opposition their businesses crumbled and many ended up taking a bus.

One such person who fits this description is Johari Abdul of Kedah. He used to take a bus every time he had to come down to Kuala Lumpur because he lost his business and Mercedes Benz when he joined the opposition. And the same happened to Saifuddin Nasution who also used to travel from Kelantan to Kuala Lumpur by bus.

However, in spite of this suffering and downgrading of status, Johari and Saifuddin did not go back to Umno. They stayed with the opposition, until today. But how many could face the humiliation of “jatuh status” (fallen status), like Johari and Saifuddin? The rest could not take it and left to join Umno. And now they are “big men” again.

Datin Saidatul Badru Tun Said Keruak (former vice president, People’s Justice Party) left the opposition to protect her brother, Salleh Said Keruak. Salleh used to be the Chief Minister of Sabah but fell out of favour because of his sister’s involvement with the opposition. Now that his sister, Saidatul Badru, has left the opposition, Salleh is back in favour.

Saidatul Badru actually cried when she left the opposition and it took her more than a year to make that crucial decision to leave. But then blood is thicker than water and as they say, “You aint heavy, you’re my brother.” And for the sake of her brother’s political career she left the opposition.

Nell Onn used to be the Wanita Chief (Women’s head) of PKR (People’s Justice Party). She is Hishammuddin Hussein’s aunt. Hishammuddin was the then Umno Youth Chief and because of his aunt his political career was in jeopardy. Nell loved her nephew, Hishammuddin. So, for his sake, she left the opposition. And, like Saidatul Badru, Nell Onn just retired from politics. They did not join Umno and whack Anwar or the opposition.

The list of 38 names that the Umno Blogs are publishing is not at all disheartening to me. These are not people who abandoned Anwar. They never were with Anwar in the first place.

Ruslan Kassim was PKR’s information chief. He had two wives to support and an office to maintain. By 2003 he was on the verge of bankruptcy and could no longer pay his debts. He even owed me more than RM60,000 on the merchandise that he took from me (VCDs on Anwar, T-shirts, badges, etc.). He also took 1,000 copies of my first book and did not pay.

Ruslan was so broke and badly in debt that he had no choice but to leave PKR and join Umno. After he joined Umno he was tasked with the job of persuading those PKR Youth leaders who were also in debt to leave PKR and join Umno for an agreed sum of money. Many of the names in that list of 38 names are PKR Youth leaders who were paid a lot of money to leave PKR and join Umno.

During their PKR days all these people were broke to their bones. Today, they are living it up again, like in the pre-1998 days. You can identify them in the list where it shows “Pemuda” (Youth) or “Ketua Pemuda” (Youth Chief) against their names.

I remember, back in 1999 just before the November general elections, these personalities would be talking about which Ministry they would like to head. It was quite amusing to see them sit around the table and divide the various Ministries amongst themselves. One chap who was also there later told me that the PKR Youth chaps still had Umno mentality. Even before the general elections can he held they are already talking about which Ministry they would like to head.

They of course all contested the November 1999 general election but none of them won. Even the Youth Head, Ezam Mohd Nor, did not win. Invariably, none of them became Ministers or Deputy Ministers.

The list of 38 names that the Umno Blogs are publishing is not at all disheartening to me. These are not people who abandoned Anwar. They never were with Anwar in the first place. They thought that Anwar was going to form the new government in 1999 and that they would all have a place in the new government. When it did not happen they left and rejoined Umno, where they came from in the first place.

On those others who left recently, after the 2008 general election, we all know the stories behind this and I really need not talk about them. Maybe those who left prior to 2004 or just after the March 2004 general election disaster is news to you, as that was before Malaysia Today was launched in August 2004.

So what the pro-Umno Blogs are saying is not entirely true. They left not because they had no confidence in Anwar. It was for other personal reasons. Maybe Saidatul and Nell had sincere reasons for leaving and I really don’t blame them. After all, they have their family to consider. But this is not the same reason why the others left.

If they were Anwaristas in the true sense of the word then we can question what the hell is wrong with Anwar. If one person leaves then it could be that there is something wrong with that person. But when 38 people leave then it must be something wrong with Anwar.

But that is not the case here. These people were all “big men” back in their Umno days prior to 1998. They thought they could be “big men” again when Anwar forms the government in 1999. When that did not happen then there was no longer any reason for them to stay in the opposition.

It is as simple as that.

Note: The above was posted at Malaysia Today. Visit Malaysia Today for more updates.

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The List Of 38

1. Chandra Muzaffar (Timbalan Presiden Parti KeAdilan Nasional)
2. S. Nalla Karuppan (Ketua Bahagian PKR Kepong)
3. Ezam Mohd Nor (Ketua Pemuda PKR)
4. Anuar Shaari (Setiausaha Anwar Ibrahim)
5. Fairus Khairuddin (ADUN Penanti - Timbalan Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang)
6. Zahrain Mohd Hashim (Ahli Parlimen Bayan Baru)
7. Zulkifli Noordin (MP Bandar Baru Kulim)
8. Zainur Zakaria (Bekas peguam bela Anwar, AJK Parti KeAdilan Nasional)
9. Ruslan Kassim (Ketua PKR Negeri Sembilan dan juga Ketua Penerangan PKR)
10. Nell Onn (Ketua Wanita Parti KeAdilan Nasional)
11. Jeffrey Kitingan (Naib Presiden PKR))
12. Marina Yussuf (Naib Presiden Parti KeAdilan)
13. Lokman Noor Adam (Setiausaha Angkatan Muda Keadilan)
14. V. Arumugam (ADUN Bukit Selambau)
15. Mohd Radzi Salleh (ADUN Lunas)
16. Badrul Hisham Abdullah (ADUN Pelabuhan Kelang)
17. Tan Tee Beng (Ahli Parlimen Nibong Tebal)
18. Sallehudin Hashim (Setiausaha Agung PKR)
19. Dr Halili Rahmat (Bendahari PKR Hulu Selangor)
20. Muhammad Zahid Md Arip (Naib Ketua Pemuda PKR)
21. Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri (Ahli Parlimen Bagan Serai)
22. Hamdan Taha (Timbalan Pengarah Pilihanraya Keadilan)
23. Dr Abdul Wahid Ahmad Suhaimie (Pengerusi Perhubungan Keadilan Pahang)
24. Jamaludin Abu Hassan (Pemangku Ketua PKR Padang Serai)
25. Mohd Hanafiah Man (Ketua Pemuda Keadilan Perak)
26. Fakhrul Azman Abu Bakar (Exco Pemuda Keadilan)
27. Shamsul Bahari Shamsuddin (Exco Pemuda Keadilan)
28. Rosli Mohd Johar (Naib Ketua Pemuda Keadilan Wilayah Persekutuan)
29. Zainuddin Awang (Exco Pemuda Keadilan Terengganu)
30. Datuk Bujang Ulis (Keadilan Sarawak)
31. Rusli Mohd Shariff (Naib Ketua Pemuda Keadilan Negeri Sembilan)
32. Jeffry Nizam (Exco Pemuda Keadilan Pahang)
33. Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (ADUN Behrang)
34. Kapten (B) Mohd. Osman Jailu (ADUN Changkat Jering)
35. Tan Wei Shu (ADUN Bakar Arang)
36. Soraya Sulaiman (Ketua Penerangan Wanita PKR)
37. Roshanita Mohd Basir (Timbalan Ketua Wanita PKR Bahagian Bagan Serai)
38. Datin Saidatul Badru Tun Said Keruak (Naib Presiden PKR)

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