Falling behind in the race for one of the party’s three vice presidencies on offer, Hishammuddin Hussein lashed out at Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim in a bid to leverage himself back on course.
Waving a fistful of hate-thy-neighbour and ethnic issues, the wishy-washy Hishammuddin tried to ‘out-Malay’ his counterparts at his farewell address to the Youth wing.
“The traitor will sow the seeds of hatred, will work with the enemy, will turn against his own race and insult his own land in various international arenas. The traitor will also ridicule the institution of the royalty and anyone else for the sake of his lust.
“But whatever he does, he will be judged by history as a man who practises the culture of hypocrisy and false pretences. As someone who manipulates others, he says one thing in front and does another at the back,” declared Hishammuddin.
A cabinet post even if he loses the VP race?
Polling for a new Youth chief has already begun, and by the end of this week, if Hishammuddin fails to secure a vice-president’s post, he will be kicked out into the political wilderness.
Unless of course, his cousin, incoming Umno president Najib Abdul Razak, intervenes and retains him as Education Minister.
The portfolio, a senior one, has not been good to Hishammuddin - bringing him more problems than he has been able to resolve.
Criticism of his performance has been high, particularly over the issue of using English as the medium of instruction for Mathematics and Science at schools.
Although, today, in front of hundreds of his party colleague, Hishammuddin spoke of the evilness of those who challenged the sanctity of Malay rights, his greatest undoing was his own refusal to revert the teaching of the two important subjects to English.
“Certain quarters have become arrogant and high-headed to the point of questioning the social contract and status of the Malays and bumiputera. The social contract is deliberately misinterpreted to fan racial sentiments,” he said.
Nearly a year ago, in the wake of the March 2008 general election that saw the Umno-led Barisan Nasional coalition lose their long-held two-thirds parliamentary majority, Hishammuddin apologised for a keris-unsheathing ceremony that many had criticized as symbolising Malay supremacy.
“If it had affected the performance of the BN, we cannot run away from the reality. If the issue had affected anyone, I apologise to the non-Malays and the Malays,” Hishammuddin was reported as saying by Bernama on Apr 25, 2008.
“I’m not an arrogant person who can’t accept reality. This is a sad lesson indeed. But if that’s how politics go, we as leaders should be willing to put the party’s interest above self-interest.”
Yet today, Mar 25, 2009, he reprised the ritual. Albeit with a minor adjustment - he did not unsheath the keris but nevertheless still brandished it about.
In a final gesture that perhaps reflected his undistinguished tenure as Youth chief, the waffly son of the country’s third prime minister decided to keep the controversial keris (or sword) for good.
Just in case any of the other Youth members were tempted to follow in his wake and create a another bout of controversy.
“The keris has been given to me to take care of it personally and it will no longer belong to the Pemuda wing. Insyaallah, I will try and carry the keris, should there be space, into the next level of party leadership.”