I REALLY wanted to attend the 2018 Umno General Assembly; but was turned off by the requirement that I showed my pass – pardon my miscomprehension; for I thought as a visitor I had to be a PAS member to be given access to the hallowed halls of PWTC during the duration of the scaled-down annual party jamboree.
“Oh, you mean I have to register and be issued a pass that would give me access. I thought you meant I had to be a PAS member,” I pretended to be horrified as I ribbed the UMNO media liaison staff detailed to deal with the media.
In the end, I was so preoccupied with other matters that left me little time to engage in any form filling that the weekend came and went and I was nowhere near the Chow Kit area the entire weekend.
Significant – since it is the first time it goes into an assembly without the President holding the position of Prime Minister
My loss entirely; as by all accounts ; this could be the most significant UMNO PAU ever!
Significant – since it is the first time ever it meets without the usual wanton abuse of government machinery for UMNO use.
Significant – since it is the first time it goes into an assembly without the President holding the position of Prime Minister.
Significant – since it is the first time when its future is in doubt.
I can go on; but you get the drift.
In the past, the event would be stretched over the preceding weekday with the compliant local media devoting free column inches, airtime gratis and fawning editorials in praise of the wisdom of the party leadership.
The roads leading to the PWTC would be double-parked with gleaming rows of Alphards and Vellfires, with the police and City Hall turning a pliant blind-eye to traffic obstruction.
Denizens of seedy dangdut lounges in Lorong Haji Taib would have been licking their lips at the prospect of leery middle-aged politicians discarding their sampins for ill-fitting dungarees letting more than just their guard down.
Enough with this `post-party party’ – what emanated from the dais in the hall as delegates did their best to project an air of normalcy.
Khairy Jamaluddin continued taking a dig at party leader Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi on the issue of forming a unity government with any and/or all-comers
But wait, first appearances matter. Social media was abuzz with the appearance of UMNO nemesis Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
His picture which disappeared from the line-up of party leaders’ posters in the main corridor of the PWTC had been magically reinstated. Less in grudging recognition that this nonagenarian simply could not be erased from the collective party memory but perhaps more to keep the embers of its continued existence alive. How that will pan out remains so much subject for conjecture though.
One female delegate stole the show by ditching the red and white baju kurung for a luminous orange garb daubed with graffito – excoriating the efforts of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission in charging her hero in court recently for the offence of graft.
On a more cerebral note, Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin continued taking a dig at party leader Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi on the issue of forming a unity government with any and/or all-comers.
Astro AWANI came for scrutiny – with delegate Tun Faisal venting his spleen at what he deemed biased reporting. Memorably; he compared AWANI’s stance with that of the pre-GE14 TV3.
There was room for sentimentality too – the former President on whose door many cite as responsible for UMNO’s present predicament showed up. He expressed some sadness at the ingratitude shown for his services to the party.
Perhaps as a newsman, I too felt a tinge of regret – that I did not attend this PAU.
My colleague took to boasting on Facebook by posting her 2018 PAU pass – with the naughty caption that if this were to be the last ever party gathering; her pass would one day be a historic relic.