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Monday, May 11, 2009

The rise and fall of the Bloggers Union

Monday, 11 May 2009 | Raja Petra Kamarudin

I did say, many times in the past, that an enemy of my enemy could be my friend. But only as long as we still share a common enemy. Once that common enemy has been disposed off, then we would probably revert to what we used to be -- enemies again.


REMBAU 11th April: “With friends like these, who needs enemies.” That is the general feeling of frustration with some UMNO bloggers who continue to further embitter the Malaysian cyber public, with their constant calls for violence, explicit racism and arrogance which is conveyed in their writings. This message was conveyed to me when I met senior party officials over the weekend. Amongst the worst culprits, were blogs seen to be supportive of the Mahathir faction, blogs such as Bigdogdotcom, Parpu Kari, Barking Magpie and self-styled camel seller, Husin Lempoyang.

"(These) bloggers have let down the party," my source told me. "Every time it’s attack, attack, attack. The people they sell their story to are only a small number. Our research has indicated that most people read, get angry and vow never to vote for UMNO".

Some bloggers deserve praise however. "(The) Rembau Times is example of good blog for the party. People know that there are 2 sides to the story, they want to be presented with an option and if your story is better then people will buy it." He went on to add, "The worst is still Parpu Kari. I have received a lot of reports against him, and personally I think UMNO is not well served if bloggers continue to call people of one race group "beruk", "komunis", "babi" or "juburi". This is not 1Malaysia and I have advised him to tone down. Even (Dato Seri) Zambry does not feel comfortable with him (Parpu)."

I was also asked to try and conduct a bloggers workshop to help educate some of the other UMNO bloggers on how to blog responsibly without pissing people off. I declined. Some people are just beyond salvage and should consider what should take precedence, their duty to the party they profess to support or their loyalty to their paymasters.

The above was a posting by

And below is an e-mail that was sent to me this morning by Caleb Quay

Hi, I hope you will take time to read this article, I've been following some of your articles and I think many of them are good though some seem to be a little extreme or was it just metaphorically speaking? Take for example the article (It’s all about race, stupid).

That was the opening paragraph of the message. He or she then goes on and lists down his or her unhappiness with me and then it closes with:

It’s usually the children that suffer the most when there is war. As a father, I think you'll want the best for your daughter and keep her away from harm. What better way to keep a person away from harm by not creating it in the first place?

Yes, after calling me names and whatnot, they resort to posting comments such as I should be killed with a bullet in my head. Now, it has come to threatening my daughter’s life. But no, I shall not be making a police report because that is what they would do if I did the same thing. Furthermore, they never layan any of my police reports anyway. So it is a total waste of time.

Anyhow, at least Rocky confirmed my meeting with Rosmah, which I spoke about in the last posting. He even said they knew about the meeting all along but did not want to embarrass me by revealing it. He also admitted that Najib met Saiful, and since I too met Rosmah, this means there is nothing sinister about the whole thing.

Then he goes on to mention how we teamed up or combined forces to oust Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Then, according to him, I moved on and he enquired into this and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s people told him that there was no bad blood between Tun and me but that I just sort of moved on somehow.

He of course mistook my association with the pro-Mahathir-anti-Badawi forces as me ‘crossing over’. Then I was supposed to have ‘crossed over’ to Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and then back to Anwar Ibrahim again.

Actually, what Rocky said was absolutely true and I had myself related this episode many times in the past. But probably the word ‘crossing over’ and ‘crossing back’ may not be the appropriate words to use.

I did say, many times in the past, that an enemy of my enemy could be my friend. But only as long as we still share a common enemy. Once that common enemy has been disposed off, then we would probably revert to what we used to be -- enemies again.

The example I had used was the Taliban or Afghans. For centuries the Afghans had bitterly and violently fought each other. Then, when the Russians invaded Afghanistan, they united to oppose the Russians. But as soon as the Russians went home to Moscow, the Afghans reverted to killing each other, until today.

During the BERSIH march in November 2007, many Umno people participated in it. In fact, some bigwigs in Umno even sponsored our very expensive T-shirts and caps (those with embroidered gold trimmings like the Chief of the Navy, etc., uses). Prior to the march, we held many meetings with Umno people to ensure that the mobilisation was a success and that we got the crowd we were targeting for.

I admit the BERSIH march was a huge success because it was a ‘joint-venture’ with the anti-Abdullah Umno faction.

We of course had no problems working with Tun Dr Mahathir as long as we shared a common objective. In that first dialogue we organised at Kelab Century Paradise, almost every PAS leader except for the President and Secretary-General came. Many DAP and some of the PKR leaders came as well.

PAS even invited Tun Dr Mahathir to a few functions they had lined up. However, Tun Dr Mahathir declined the invitation and said he can’t accept if it is PAS that was organising the event -- after all, he was still an Umno member then -- but if it was a NGO or the Bloggers that were the organisers then he had no problems attending.

In late 2007, before the March 2008 general election, the Bloggers arranged a meeting with Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. That was during the fasting month. Bloggers and civil society movement members from both sides of the political divide turned up, about 30 or 35 in all.

The purpose of the meeting was simple. Tengku Razaleigh was going to contest the Umno Presidency. The next general election would be called the latest by March 2009. Assuming Tengku Razaleigh wins the Umno Presidency and assuming Barisan Nasional wins the general election with a simple majority but without the two-thirds majority, is there a possibility that Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat can form a unity government?

Tengku Razaleigh was open to that idea. In fact, he thought this would be the only way to end the current political crisis and allow the government to start managing the country without being distracted by excess politicking. Today, the problem with Malaysia is that no one is managing the country. Everyone is too engrossed in trying to topple each other.

There were some in DAP, PAS and PKR who accepted the idea of a unity government. But there were some who were against it. They felt that Umno cannot be trusted and even if Tengku Razaleigh heads Umno it would still be only one man. The rest of Umno would still be a problem. In that sense, Pakatan Rakyat was split on the issue and since Pakatan Rakyat works on consensus then it would be no go.

So yes, what Rocky said was true. He did not lie. But he is not senior enough in the hierarchy to be told what the game plan was. He only knows that we teamed up or combined forces in our effort to bring changes to the Umno leadership. But there was a bigger agenda than that. Sure, we wanted Tun Abdullah out of office. But it was supposed to be Tengku Razaleigh who takes over and then the possibility of a unity government would be looked into.

Tun Dr Mahathir knew this. On Hari Raya Day of 2007, I went to meet the Tun at his home to inform him that Tengku Razaleigh was ready to make his move. After that, a few more meetings were held between Tun and Tengku Razaleigh at the Mines in Sungei Besi.

Unfortunately, Tengku Razaleigh was not prepared to accept the Tun’s terms and conditions. Tun Dr Mahathir wanted to set up an Umno Presidential Council with him as the head. And this Presidential Council would ‘guide’ and ‘advice’ the new Prime Minister.

Tengku Razaleigh rejected the idea outright. He was not prepared to be reduced to a puppet Prime Minister. So Tun Dr Mahathir rejected Tengku Razaleigh in favour of Najib who agreed to the Presidential Council.

And that was when I and some other Barisan Rakyat Bloggers decided that it was a lost cause and we might as well focus on opposing Najib even before he takes over as the new Prime Minister.

And that is the part that Rocky did not or was not able to explain. He confirms my story about the meeting and the teaming up and so on. But he does not reveal the true or hidden agenda behind our alliance.

The alliance broke up, of course, when the objective changed. Our objective was a leadership change in Umno and a probable unity government after the last general election with Tengku Razaleigh as Prime Minister and head of Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat as Deputy Prime Minister. However, their objective was Najib as Prime Minister and head of Barisan Nasional and PAS and the Malays in PKR merging with Umno -- leaving DAP and the Chinese in PKR as the opposition.

That was definitely not on. So we parted company as political allies but remained friends as Bloggers -- until now, it seems. I was not alone in this of course. But I shall not mention any of the names of the other Barisan Rakyat Bloggers and civil society movement members who were also in the alliance and were aware of the game plan. If they wish to come forward and admit that they were part of the ‘conspiracy’ I would leave that to them. But I think you already know who they are and the role they played even without me telling you.
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