The Umno Deputy Presidency: Are these candidates for real?
I know Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, the young MP for Pulai and son of former Information Minister Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat.
We used to discuss local politics over a meal when I was still the News Editor of the New Straits Times. He wasn't a Parliamentarian then. When I left the newspaper, I stopped getting the ocassional calls that I used to get from him. I did try to call him on several ocassions, but I never got through.
I have not spoken to him for about 4 years now. But I have been keeping tabs on his political career. The last I heard was that he was finding it difficult to even get sound support from his own division - Pulai.
So when I heard that he had offered himself for the post of Deputy President, I almost fell off my chair.
To me, Jazlan has not attained political puberty for him to even vie for the position of a normal Umno Supreme Council seat, let alone the post of Deputy President.
The post of Deputy President is an important one. The Umno Deputy President also by tradition holds the second most powerful position in the country, the Deputy Prime Ministership.
It requires someone with vast experience in politics and administration, highly educated and knowledgeable, should be credible, should have the ability to be a good salesman, should be able to deal with both the local and foreign Press, should be good enough to succeed the Prime Minister and has the potential of becoming a Statesman, should have a good command of both English and Bahasa Malaysia and most of all, should not be an international embarrassment.
Jazlan may just be trying to prop up his name for bigger positions by throwing in the idea of him contesting the No 2 post, but by doing that, consciously or unconsciously, he is making a mockery of this important position.
I am not saying that Jazlan is not a Deputy President material. But it will certainly take him a good decade or so before he qualifies.
If I were him, I will focus on strengthening my position at the divisional and State levels before I aim any higher.
While in the subject of the Deputy Presidency, I am also quite disturbed by the fact that Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Ali Rustam have offered themselves for the post of Deputy President.
Both Zahid, with whom I had worked with when I was a journalist, and Ali do not have the sufficient background to become Deputy President and Deputy Prime Minister. What outstanding contributions have they made to the country to deserve this important position? Are they better than all the other Umno Supreme Council members? Also worrying is the fact that they can hardly speak English.
Simply picture them speaking with President Barrack Obama with the aid of an interpreter. That will be the first for our country. God save us.
My name is Mohd Ashraf Abdullah. I was born and raised in Tampin, Negeri Sembilan. I am a journalist at heart. I served the New Straits Times as a journalist for 17 years, beginning as a cadet reporter in 1988. I was trained to be a political writer. I served the NST in various capacities including as Staff Correspondent of the Kuantan Bureau and London Correspondent. I resigned as News Editor in 2004 to join Golden Hope Plantations Berhad as Deputy General Manager, Group Corporate Affairs. Two years later I was made General Manager, Group Corporate Affairs. When Golden Hope and Kumpulan Guthrie Berhad were merged with Sime Darby Berhad in November 2007, I chose not to accept the offer of employment by the merged entity. I was a scholar of the British Government and possess a Masters Degree in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. I am also a Jefferson's Fellow of the East West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.