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Jun 17, 2008

The most expensive party election in Umno's history

Malaysia Today

malaysiatoday - [...] In the meantime, Anwar is going to court to get his September 1998 sacking as Deputy Prime Minister declared illegal and a violation of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. If he succeeds then Abdullah has to reinstate him as Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister, by order of the court. But Malaysia already has a Deputy Prime Minister who goes by the name of Najib Tun Razak. Yes, but if Najib is forced to resign because of his wife’s implication in the Altantuya murder, and if it can be proven that his office is involved, then Najib is dead meat and there will be a vacancy for the post of Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. And Raja Petra Kamarudin’s sedition trial in October may be that playground to prove this -- unless they get cold feet and either drop the charges or delay the trial until next year.

Daim, however, does not want Abdullah to retire just yet. He needs Abdullah around until at least 2010 because it will take him two years to slowly bring back RM3 billion in cash. Yes, more than ten years ago, RM3 billion in RM500 and RM1,000 notes were smuggled out to Indonesia. When Tun Dr Mahathir found out he discontinued the usage of RM500 and RM1,000 notes. So the money is now stuck. The notes can, of course, be brought back, but they can’t be used in the open market. Instead, you have to send them to Bank Negara to be changed into smaller notes.

And this is where the problem lies. How to bring back RM3 billion in RM500 and RM1,000 notes unless you do it over two years and unless the Finance Minister cum Prime Minister gives his permission for Bank Negara to accept them? So Daim has to ensure that the Finance Minister cum Prime Minister stays on at least until 2010 when the entire RM3 billion can be safely brought back and sent to Bank Negara for conversion into smaller notes. And to ensure that the Finance Minister cum Prime Minister is not kicked out of office, Daim is prepared to spend half the amount to defeat the challengers like Tengku Razaleigh and Muhyiddin.

The 2008 Umno party election is going to be the most expensive election in Umno’s history. But then much is at stake, both in terms of power and money. So the cost is necessary. Dr Mahathir knows, of course, what Daim is up to and he wants Abdullah out now to thwart Daim’s move. And he wants Najib to challenge Abdullah but Najib has made a deal with Abdullah -- and with the Altantuya murder trial still proceeding very slowly Najib can’t afford to renege on his deal in case ‘new evidence’ surfaces in the course of the trial.... selanjutnya.


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