Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Assalamu'alaikum Tan Sri Sanusi Junid.

Wa'alaikumussalam Warahmatullaahi Wabarakaatuh.

I am Syauqi Jamil, a journalist from online portal Beritadaily.com. As per agreement via SMS earlier, kindly respond to the questions below:

Q1. From what has been happening lately with Umno, do you think Umno members today are giving their full support to Umno president Najib Razak? If not should they speak up?

A1. DS Najib himself knows, by now, that he does not have the full support, for his leadership, from UMNO members. UMNO members at all levels are already speaking against DS Najib, but only some are doing it loudly.

Q2. Is the sacking of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin seems to you as the Prime Minister's attempt at silencing his critics or as his approach to having a better united and solid team in his cabinet?

A2. I am not sure by sacking Tan Sri Muhyiddin from the post of Deputy Prime Minister, and other ministers from their portfolios, DS Najib is getting a better team. The new cabinet appears to be united in only one way, and that is they are defensive of whatever has happened to 1MDB, and they are also vocally loud in their attack against Tun Dr. Mahathir. That is why I called it as the 1MDB cabinet. 

Q3. Should Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin continue to criticize the PM now?

A3. Tan Sri Muhyiddin did not start criticizing the PM and therefore it is wrong to ask whether he should continue. Tan Sri Muhyiddin has only been giving his opinion on whatever little he knew about 1MDB; and what he said, though non-provocative and more enquiring, appeared to be unpleasant to DS Najib.

As Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin knew too little about 1MDB as DS Najib, being a Prime Minister and Finance Minister, had kept everything to himself, without really getting the approval of the cabinet, or even letting them know about the massive financial dealings of 1MDB whose loans are fully guaranteed by the Malaysian Government.

Should DS Najib goes the government, without him, will still be responsible for the loan repayment which is fully guaranteed by the government. Can the cabinet be made responsible for something that they do not even know?

Whatever Tan Sri Muhyiddin knew was read from such publications as the 'suspended' The Edge - so he said. DS Najib's replies, even in Parliament, were conflicting and raised more unanswered questions. 

As party Deputy President, or even as an UMNO member, he has the right to keep on asking questions on 1MDB as he has to answer questions asked by UMNO members and the public. Tan Sri Muhyiddin has also to explain the wrongs he had done to deserve the sacking.

Especially now when he has NOTHING2LOSE and NOTHING2HIDE. 

Q4. With the Umno internal elections postponed, we are likely to see Tan Sri Muhyiddin keeping his post as deputy president of Umno, when Dato' Seri Zahid Hamidi now the deputy prime minister, sits as vice president post below Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in Umno.

Q4. Dato' Seri Zahid Hamidi should not have accepted the post of Deputy PM in place of Tan Sri Muhyiddin as Tan Sri Muhyiddin rejected the offer to replace Dato' Seri Najib as DPM when Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wanted to replace Dato' Seri Najib.

A team of Tan Sri Muhyiddin and Dato' Seri Zahid would have been an ideal and potent challenge to Dato' Seri Najib and any other partner he choses, in facing a party election.

But Dato' Seri Zahid's acceptance make sense as the party election has been post-poned.  

Q5. In your opinion, should the postponement of the Umno's internal elections be called off? Either way, how will it affect the upcoming general elections?

A5. Of course, as there is no party election then there is no opportunity for DS Najib to replace TS Muhyiddin from the post of Deputy President of UMNO. In fact DS Najib need not even think of replacing TS Muhyiddin as party Deputy President, as he might go against DS Najib for the Presidency of UMNO.

Even if DS Najib decides to change his mind on party election, the risk of having the elections at all levels, at this point in time, will put the current UMNO Division Heads in jeopardy; UMNO members are likely not to support the incumbent divisional leaders to continue as divisional heads, especially when the members are aware that their leaders are accumulating cash for themselves. Some divisional heads have confessed openly by admitting such receipts.

DS Najib, as a strong believer in 'money being king' needs time to buy up the loyalty of UMNO members at slightly lower levels to ensure that the UMNO machinery will operate smoothly in preparation for the coming General Election. Having purchased the hearts and souls of many division heads he is reluctant to sacrifice this investment and put his position in jeopardy by having party elections at all levels.

I don't think that DS Najib will agree to any pressure to call off the postponement of party elections unless someone can mislead him into guaranteeing the success of rigging the party elections in his favour.

Q6. Many critics, including the fourth premier Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad have been voicing out that if Prime Minister Najib Razak does not step down as the Prime Minister and Umno President, then Umno and Barisan as a whole will lose the next general elections.

A6. Tun Dr. Mahathir is an experienced politician who was active in UMNO and national politics even before DS Najib was born. He has a vast network of contacts with feedbacks that he could not ignore. He has many Chinese and Indian friends which some current leaders have only in the form of girl-friends.

Tun Dr. Mahathir was right in his prediction on the outcome of the 12th General Election led by Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi; he was also correct in his prediction of the outcome of the 13th General Election led by DS Najib.

When UMNO State Heads were promising marvelous performances in their respective states before the last two General Elections Tun Dr. Mahathir's forecasts turned out to be true.

Tun Dr. Mahathir earlier on believed that either DS Najib or his policies and ways need to be changed in order to win General Election. I had earlier responded that DS Najib would be lucky if Tun Dr. Mahathir is wrong as he chose to stay on as Prime Minister and continue with his programmes, policies and ways. As of now, I have not met any party member who is honestly not worried about the coming General Election. Among the non-party members it is difficult to find even one in twenty who says that we have a chance of winning.

Q7. By the look of things, do you agree with the critics? What are Umno and Barisan Nasional's chances to remain in power? What should Umno do to regain the trust and confidence of the Malays?

A7. The issue of 1MDB was first raised by a member of the opposition party. As the BN government appeared to ignore the issue Tun Dr. Mahathir studied the subject and found, to his horror, that it could result in the defeat of BN if it is not solved.

Tun Dr. Mahathir raised this issue with DS Najib in addition to other issues. All issues raised fell on deaf ears. Tun Mahathir then started writing memos and long letters on the various issues. These too were ignored. Tun was then forced to voice out loudly as he does not want BN and UMNO to lose.

Unfortunately, the UMNO leadership tried to lump Tony Phua and Tun Dr. Mahathir in the same opposition camp. They refused to see the difference between the two. Tony Phua raised the issue of 1MDB in order to defeat BN in the next General Election, but Tun Dr. Mahathir raised the issue in order to solve the problem and to ensure that BN win in the next General Election.

Should DS Najib cooperate with Tun Dr. Mahathir from day one we could have solved the problem without DS Najib resigning. As matters are now exposed despite an extensive attempt to hide, no solution appears to be in sight except to transfer the burden of debts to trust institutions to bear them.

The people will not now be pacified with just DS Najib's resignation; they would like to see the culprits in the 1MDB scandal brought to justice.

But DS Najib does not appear to be in the mood to sacrifice his friends, associates and relatives who are involved in the scandal.

There are other issues which need satisfactory explanation which are not forthcoming. Examples are:















Fall in the value of the Malaysian Ringgit

Change in Deutsche Bank CEO

Change in Aabar Corporation CEO

The difference between CORRUPTION and DONATION

There are many more mind-boggling topics

Q8. I was a student in IIUM when you were the President. It's an honor for me to be able to talk to you. May I ask Tan Sri a few questions involving IIUM?
A8. You are welcome.

Q9. Recently it was announced that two of International Islamic University Malaysia Student Representative Council members were suspended for a year for organizing 'an illegal forum' on GST that had involved PKR's Rafizi Ramli, Umno's Lokman Adam and a representative from the customs department.

A9. The students were suspended probably because Lokman Adam lost in the debate. If illegality was the question then Lokman Adam and the representative from the customs department should not have participated. Had Lokman trounced Rafizi Ramli in the debate similar forum would have been organized somewhere else.

I am informed that Lokman Adam is famous as a bad loser especially when he had the ambition of being up-graded to a higher post in his present JASA department in the Ministry of Information.

My advise to UMNO is to send a good debater of higher caliber when the opposition is represented by a member of the opposition like Rafizi. Lokman himself should have checked who was going to be his opponent before he accepted the responsibility of defending the unpopular GST. Had Lokman been more meticulous he would have known why he should not represent UMNO.
Q10. As a former president of IIUM, do you think that the SRC members were on the right track to pursue their academic freedom? If not, what better approach would you have recommended to them?

A10. When students talk of freedom it carries different meanings and interpretations even among themselves and with what the establishment interprets the meaning to be. Whatever be the meaning the first responsibility of a student is to his study and to passing in his examinations. A student who does not perform in his study should not be allowed to use his extra-curriculum activity as an excuse for his failure.

However,  being able to understand what is happening in one's country, and the world, especially for IIUM students, should also be a student's responsibility.

I have always enjoyed debating and oratory from younger days. As a result I took up reading as a hobby as I did not like losing merely out of lack of reading as the only way I then knew on how to acquire knowledge.
A student in IIUM, however good a grade he or she obtained, would have failed as a student if after spending many years in the university he or she has not cultivated the reading habit. 

Q11. It was also reported that the suspended students could appeal to the current president Tan Sri Rais Yatim once the written ground of judgment is released; however there is a risk that their suspension period will be extended.

A11. I would not worry about that. As a student one must be prepared to shoulder the responsibility for one's action. It is also the responsibility of the President of IIUM to enforce the discipline in the university. If a student regrets the punishment that he will be receiving as a result of his action or activity then he should not be doing it in the first place.

I have done many things as a student which was disapproved by the authority and I have never regretted being punished. I was one of 115 classmates at Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) who were caned by the Headmaster for organizing the 'Dragon Dance' or 'Tarinaga' at dawn, in 1961, on the first day of our Senior Cambridge Form V Examination, against the Acting Headmaster's advice.

We were all caned for varying number of times, with a maximum of 12 times each depending on the intensity of each student's involvement in the planning. We were proud about it and we now have a WhatsApp group with the name 'NAGA TAQWA' in memory of our 'Dragon Dance' and the painful caning. 

Accepting punishment should be part of life.

Q12. If you're still the University's president today, what would your judgment be? Any advise for the current president?

A12. Being an UMNO member who likes debating I would have been present at the forum; and I would not have allowed a low caliber representative from UMNO if I know that the opposition's representative is a smart guy. But the organizer must seek the permission of the University, and should the Student Affairs Department reject the application, I would have approved it upon receipt of an appeal.

But I will take the necessary disciplinary action, not tantamount to dismissal, should the organizer not ask for permission to have the forum in the campus.

Q13. Lastly, is Mukhriz Mahathir doing a good job today as the Menteri Besar of Kedah? As a former Kedah Menteri Besar yourself, how do you see the development of Kedah today? Is it on track and is it heading for the right direction?

A13. Kedah is a difficult state to lead. It's majority Malay population is more religious conscious as, being a padi growing state, the independent religious schools or 'pondok' are spread all over the rice growing areas and funded by the 'zakat' from the padi farmers who support the 'pondok'.

Kedah's civilization is about the oldest in the country and its sultanate is the oldest and longest unbroken family lineage in the history of the world.

During earlier period it was a very rich state as padi used to be the right crop to grow for a good return on any piece of land. With industrialization it is no more the case.

In order to reverse the pathetic economic condition of the padi farmers I had given some thought, when I was the Menteri Besar, of turning all the padi fields into oil palm plantations, but I could not pursue the idea when I was thought to be 'insane' when I proposed the idea of growing padi on roof-tops.

Dato' Seri Mukhriz has targeted tourism and industrialization to provide employment and improve the economy of the state, and I think, with time, he will be proven to be correct. Without Dato' Seri Mukhriz as the candidate for Menteri Besar the Barisan National would not have won in Kedah state during the last General Election.  

Syauqi Jamil

+6019 317 2399


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