The Umno Baru politician is the envy of the world. He is at liberty to buy up multi-million ringgit properties in capitals around the world, convert mangrove estuaries into refineries or thumb through armaments catalogues to select the most expensive ‘toys’ to purchase on behalf of the Malaysian government. 

He is found at the most swanky KL bars, breezing through the VVIP airport lounges, or crucially, every five years, making his presence felt in the villages in his constituency.
 
The Umno Baru politician is a part of the traditional Malaysian scene and is equally at home in Knightsbridge or Bayswater, where many have purchased apartments for their children who are studying at colleges in London.
 
Unlike his relatively repressed and overworked foreign counterpart, our inaccessible Umno Baru politician does his job armed with nothing more than his sense of entitlement, a bevy of bodyguards, a fleet of expensive cars for his entourage, and a gold Mont Blanc pen with which to approve tenders.
 
Unsurprisingly, it is every Malaysian child’s dream to be an Umno Baru politician when he grows up. Race or religion is not a problem. Some converts or born-again Malays can put to shame the likes of Ibrahim Ali and his ilk.
 
The aspiring child need not have brains, but street smarts will help. He does not have to believe in what he says, just as long as he can find others who do. History has shown that any politician who can make others dig a large hole for the construction of a lake, and then erect a city around this hole, will be successful. Anyone who can convince the gullible to build the tallest structure to reflect his ego, will also be famous.
 
The Umno Baru president, Najib Abdul Razak, has talked about transforming his party. He is right. Below are just a few of the situations which inspire every young boy or girl, to become an Umno Baru politician.
 
Last October, 3,000 cows had to be imported from Thailand, for Hari Raya Haji. Public furore erupted when it was alleged that some farmers had to make the stark choice between feeding their children or feeding their cattle.  Money destined for these farmers had allegedly gone astray. Public anger was intensified when the shortage of cattle for Raya bumped up the prices for beef and Malays were angered by the high cost of their rendang.
 
azlanThe then-women, family and community development minister, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, was so absorbed in her work that she had not realised her husband and children had allegedly used RM250 million ringgits of taxpayers’ money, destined for these farmers, to purchase expensive condominiums, imported cars, luxury holidays and pilgrimages to Mecca.

Najib has been conditioned by strong women, so he did not sack Shahrizat. Yesterday, Shahrizat’s re-election vindicated her, and wiped her slate clean. Publicly, Najib had denied that there was a lack of talent in the Wanita wing of the party. Shahrizat’s re-election has put new meaning into the expression “Why buy a cow when you can get milk for free?”

Combining the work of two departments
 
Malaysians have often complained about the bloated civil service and the ridiculously large Prime Minister’s Department. To counter these criticisms, Najib and his Home Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, have increased efficiency by combining the work of two departments - the police and the judiciary, with a little help from the underworld.
 
Despite these initiatives, both men are puzzled by the rakyat’s anger over Zahid’s kind offer to be judge, jury and executioner.
 
NONESchoolchildren are often told to work smart and be creative. This is also expected of Malaysian ministers, but when the Tourism Minister, Nazri Aziz, decided to engage his son, Nedim, as his special adviser, to improve efficiency, the rakyat recoiled in horror.
 
They were doing Nazri a favour and they were also trying to protect the reputation of Malaysians overseas. Since childhood, Nedim has excelled in contact sports. Travelling would bore the young man, claimed the rakyat.
 
Nazri took the rakyat’s advice and Nedim is now serving his father as a special representative in his father’s constituency in rural Perak. Nedim is doing so well that his fiancée has been able to purchase a RM7 million house within months of his appointment. Malaysia needs more young men with Nedim’s skills.
 
Like elephants, the people of Malacca city have long memories and they never forget a deliberate snub. Ali Rustam, the former chief minister of Malacca, blamed the Chinese community when he failed to win a parliamentary seat in the 13th general election (GE13).
 
NONEHe is wrong. He lost the election because he rebuffed the people of Malacca and extended invitations to only 130,000 of the city’s population, but failed to invite the remaining 350,000 city dwellers, to celebrate his son’s wedding with him.
 
Najib told the rakyat that the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) payment of RM500 was generous and that with judicious budgeting their families would be able to survive on RM300 per month, especially with the low-cost items being sold in the Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) shops.
 
If every Malaysian had the business acumen of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s children, they could turn the BR1M payment into a few billion ringgit within a couple of years.
 
When it was revealed that Najib had spent RM86.4 million ringgits between 2010 and 2012, on his official trips, the rakyat were sympathetic. They know that he has to use a private jet because it is difficult to transport one’s family’s shopping in the normal MAS cargo hold. Besides, the MAS airline staff may talk to reporters.
 
The Education Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, has done us all a favour by dumbing-down the education system, thus giving us a chance to be as successful as him. You don’t really need to excel in English to cook the books.
 
As we all know it’s not what you know, but who you know in Umno Baru, that counts.
 
Many retirees are anxious about boredom after they have spent a lifetime in a structured day at work. Wives do not appreciate the retired husband who tails her about the house, and demands attention, like a lost puppy.

Older role models are plentiful in Malaysia. Retirees like S Samy Vellu and Ong Ka Ting are special envoys to India and China respectively. They have reduced the workload of the Malaysian diplomatic and trade staff. Their monthly salaries and perks are more than what the average Malaysian earns per year.
 
Perhaps, the best proof that a man need never retire is shown by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who keeps on working selflessly for the good of the country.
 
Umno Baru members need not worry about achievement. The size of a person’s donation determines how Umno Baru rewards him. Attractive prizes await those with a less than impressive political career.
 
It’s as Shahrizat said; Umno Baru politicians are an inspiration and a role model for everyone.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO).

~ Malaysiakini