Pro-Umno blogger Zakhir Mohamad a.k.a. ‘Big Dog’ a.k.a. ‘Christian PM basher’ is actually quite a delightful character. Many a time have we met for dinner and drinks together with Sallahuddin Hashim a.k.a. ‘A Voice’ a.k.a. ‘Another Brick in the Wall’.
Anyway, there was this one fasting month (Ramadhan) when John Pang (Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s strategist) phoned me and asked me to arrange a meeting (followed by a buka puasa) with Umno and opposition bloggers and political activists. The number of 30 was agreed on -- the number of people who should be invited.
I then sat down and worked on the invitation list to make up that figure of 30 and passed it to Tengku Razalaigh Hamzah’s (a.k.a Ku Li) office for them to invite these people.
Almost everyone we invited came. And it was great to see bloggers and political activists from both sides of the political divide sitting in the same room to discuss how to make Ku Li the next Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Nik Azmi Nik Daud a.k.a. Bulat a.k.a. Bul gave his opinion -- which was actually quite a stupid idea and I could see Ku Li cringe with a ‘can you sit down and shut up’ look on his face.
I thought Bul’s idea was most stupid and it sounded as if he had just learned politics yesterday.
No wonder Ku Li has never done well in politics. With Bul as one of his strategists I doubt Ku Li could even win the post of Chief Dog Catcher.
Big Dog then asked Ku Li whether he was prepared to spend RM400 million to win the premiership. That, according to Big Dog, was what it was going to cost Ku Li.
Earlier Big Dog had told me that it is going to cost at least RM400 million to ‘buy’ 40 Umno divisions if Ku Li wants to become Prime Minister.
I said that that was quite a lot of money and Big Dog replied that Ku Li could afford it. He is worth much more than that, said Big Dog.
Ku Li looked hard at Big Dog -- as if he could not believe his ears -- and said that he is not prepared to ‘buy’ the premiership.
If he spends RM10 million to buy each of the 40 Umno Divisions (total RM400 million) just to get 40 nominations so that he can contest the Umno Presidency, then what difference would he be to the other Umno leaders who play ‘money politics’?
He wants to become the Umno President and Prime Minister so that he can clean up the party and the government. If he gets in by using bribery, then how can he later clean up the party and the government when he himself is dirty?
So Ku Li rejected Big Dog’s proposal, not because he could not afford RM400 million, but because it would not have been ethical to buy the party elections on a platform of trying to get in to rid the party of corruption. You can’t get in using corruption and then scream that you are against corruption.
Some of you may remember that I wrote about this some years back. I said then that the task ahead of Ku Li is to get his 40 nominations. If he can get 40 nominations, winning the Presidency is easier. It is getting the 40 nominations which is difficult.
In that sense Ku Li maintained his principles although after the meeting Big Dog grumbled that Ku Li is so rich but so kedekut (stingy). He could afford RM400 million easily, lamented Big Dog. If he hopes to win the Umno Presidency without paying any money then good luck to him, said Big Dog.
Big Dog and I met Ku Li a couple more times, once around midnight in his private residence.
But try as we may, we could not get Ku Li to agree to all the different ideas that were bandied about on how he could get his 40 nominations and go on to contest and win the Umno Presidency, which would be the route to becoming the new Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Some ideas were actually quite seditious and treasonous and Ku Li once chided one of the chaps who proposed it and told him that what he was proposing could end up with all of us being charged for treason with a death sentence thrown in. (Yes, some of the ideas were actually quite dangerous and could have ended with us sitting in death row if someone had talked).
Anyway, in the end nothing happened and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi a.k.a. Pak Lah resigned and Najib Tun Razak took over as Prime Minister and Ku Li continued sitting in his house waiting for the day when he would become Prime Minister.
Well, at least he is not RM400 million poorer, which would have happened had he listened to Big Dog.
I must admit that Umno politics is far more interesting compared to opposition politics and I must also admit that I enjoyed myself immensely running with that pack of wolves. Learned a lot as well, which of course we can now use against them.