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Reuters: No-one shaking Mahathir's tree after Daim's fall
By Simon Cameron-Moore
25/6/2001 6:22 am Mon
[Umno sudah semakin karam tetapi kepada musuh pula
dilepaskan geram sedangkan semua yang lantang sudahpun
dipenjarakan tanpa bukti dan tanpa perbicaraan. Apakah
kesalahan pembangkang sehingga begitu kuat dikecam?
Padahal banyak hakim sudah berada di dalam tangan.
Malah memberi kesaksian pun Mahathir sudah jauh lari
lintang-pukang. Ini adalah sikap sikaki temberang.
Tiada sesiapa pun ahli Umno mempersoalkan kepincangan
Mahathir sedangkan semuanya sudah terang lagi benderang.
Mereka masih mengangguk lagi walaupun diaib dan dicela
oleh presiden sendiri sebagai punca kekalahan parti.
Padahal Mahathirlah punca Umno berpecah sampai lebih
empat kali dan kali ini orang melayu sudah tidak dapat
melupakan jenayahnya lagi walaupun Anwar cuba dilupai
dengan serangan yang tidak henti. Yang lupa cuma orang
Umno kerana Tunku sudah lama melabel Mahathir sebagai
'batu api'. Jika tidak takkan peristiwa 13 Mei terjadi.
By Simon Cameron-Moore
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - There is a Malay proverb "A fruit
when it is ripe will fall by itself".
No one at the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)
annual assembly, which ended on Saturday, shook Prime
Minister Mahathir Mohamad's tree.
The 75-year-old prime minister's UMNO party won less than
half the Malay vote in the 1999 election, as the Islamic
opposition capitalised on public distaste over the
humiliation of Mahathir's jailed rival, Anwar Ibrahim.
And there is recurrent speculation how long Mahathir, who has
run the country for 20 years, can carry on.
But if UMNO needed change the fall guy appears to have been
Mahathir's long-time confidant, Daim Zainuddin, who resigned
on June 1 without explanation.
On sale at the UMNO headquarters during the three-day party
conference was an unofficial biography of the man who until
three weeks ago had been regarded as Malaysia's economic
Its title "Diam, Diam, Daim" translates as "Hush, Hush,
"We Malays are very good at killing dead bodies," one former
cabinet member told Reuters, laughing at the speed with which
the book had appeared.
Its cover depicted the diminutive ex-minister behind bars, an
image redolent of his predecessor at the Finance Ministry,
Anwar, who is serving 15 years for sex and graft crimes he
says were cooked up to forestall a challenge to Mahathir.
Both the prime minister and his deputy, Abdullah Badawi, this
week repeated denials that there were any plans to
investigate Daim, after a swirl of speculation over the past
Mahathir said Daim quit of his own volition and he had no
fight with the man who served his as economic adviser and
finance minister twice.
But there was no lamenting the departure of Daim, whose last
year in office was clouded, despite the economy's bounce
back, by some controversial bail-outs for politically-connected
tycoons Halim Saad and Tajudin Ramli, popularly known as
During his trials, Anwar, whose sacking and humiliation
remains the greatest source of division among Malays, accused
Daim of being a prime mover in a conspiracy to frame him -- a
charge the authorities have rejected.
Malays make up 55 percent of Malaysia's 23 million people.
REMEMBERANCE OF DAIM'S PAST
UMNO Secretary General, and Information Minister Khalil
Yaakob, in his opening address to the assembly gave a
one-line thank you to the absent Daim for his services to
UMNO. There was barely another mention of the ex-minister for
next three days.
"He was never an important part of the party, he was an
important part of the government. Now that he's gone,
hopefuly the prime minister can change, not direction, but
strategy," a member of UMNO's Supreme Council commented.
"I think we will see some drastic changes and action from him
(Mahathir) to correct the situation in the party," said Siti
Zaharah Sulaiman, a one-time Anwar ally who is now National
Unity and Social Development Minister.
If the Daim's exit caused consternation among the party
faithful, Mahathir gave them more think about -- notably the
inroads made by the Islamic opposition.
"The PM has been very clever by switching the party's
attention to the next election from petty things," the
ex-cabinet minister said.
The themes were vintage Mahathir, but the tone of his message
were harsh even by the feisty premier's standards.
The Malays are lazy, they haven't seized or appreciated the
chances given to them. The Islamic opposition misuses
religion and teaches children to hate UMNO. Anwar's Reformasi
activists are rabble-rousing scum. The foreign media
misreports, and the West hates Malaysia for standing up for
the developing world and puts it in the same bracket as
Islamic terrorist states.
NOTHING NEW TO SAY
Most UMNO delegates nodded in agreement. They think the "Old
Man", as he's called, is still right after 20 years in power.
But there were grumbles that Mahathir had nothing new to say
to convince fence-sitting Malays to support UMNO again.
"He keeps on repeating the same old stories," said one
delegate, a Kuala Lumpur businessman. "I think the problem is
he's just been around too long. All around him he has 'yes
men' who will say what the media is expected to report."
The nearest anyone came to challenging Mahathir openly was
when Bahirah Tajul Aris slipped through security at the
assembly's opening ceremony to hand him a petition calling
for her husband's release.
Ezam Mohd Nor has been locked up without trial for up to two
years, along with five other Anwar supporters, accused of
planning violent street protests to bring down the
Mahathir nodded, smiled and pocketed the petition.