"I don't want to know or hear any problem. My officers in charge of my constituency know what is best to safeguard my interest. I pay them well and I believe in them. As far as general election is concerned, I am confident of retaining my Parliamentary seat. Forget about the Opposition... they are not my match." - a senior minister told me last week.
"Bro. No worries. I will take on any PR candidate for ..... (Parliamentary) seat (in Kelantan). We have conducted our survey. PAS will contest but its supporters are getting fed up with the leaders. So, I don't have to sweat it out. All reports are in my favor..." - a potential candidate said this over coffee in PJ.
"Hahaha. PM knows me, Jai. We are very close. He promised to retain me. Reports from my constituency is all about good thing. No Opposition threat," a deputy minister wrote this in a text message to my question about his chance in the next national poll.
All are Umno men, confident of winning and undermining the Opposition.
I met and told them about the stiff challenges awaiting them in the next general election. They laughed to point out that I was wrong and don't have bona fide evidence about the 'threat' from the Opposition.
They are my friends, the ones whom I often spend time following them in their trips back home. I know each and every officer serving their constituents and ministries. To me, some of them are just a pack of rotten wood who deliver nothing. Their main objective to join the pool is to get a few projects. Whatever happens next is none of their business.
I think I am more worried than they are about their 50-50 chance. 'No worries' is their favorite line and I am not sure if they get the right information from their appointed officials at the respective constituencies.
As one of the minister's senior officer told me: "My boss does not like bad or unpleasant news from officers at his constituency. Any problem would be left to them to settle. All that he cares is good and stimulating news."
I think PM and Umno President Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak will have a big problem here should his generals are taking the Opposition lightly. The problem will swell if they refuse to listen to news from the ground.
In 2008 national poll, I sent a text message to Datin Seri Wan Azizah on the eve of polling that her PKR would win at least 23 Parliament seats. We have differences in political ideology but friends are friends.
She was elated and replied that PKR would be happy enough to get 15. But they got 31 instead.
I also called some journo friends and aides to Umno candidates that Shahrizat, Samy Vellu, Tsu Koon and Aziz would lose their seat. A close friend of mine who was helping Awang Adek was mad at me when I said Awang could not win Bachok.
I have covered seven general elections. Some of my journo friends too have been with me making rounds throughout the country few months before any national poll was called. We have been passing the message to respective representatives of the prime ministers we had served but we believe it fell on deaf ears. I wonder whether it got to the prime ministers of not.
This has been the main obstacle for any PM to chart what is best to dominate the election result. The message didn't get across! Their cadres and advisers are too scared to pass on the 'bad news' to them as it will reflect the weakness of Umno at all levels - division to State's liaison committee.
As ministers and deputy ministers, they regard themselves too high and so perfect to attend to such 'petty' matters. In the 2nd case above, the potential candidate failed to capitalise on PAS weakness in his constituency. Knowing how mad PAS supporters are toward their leaders, this Umno division chief did not do anything to leverage on it. And he is so sure of winning!
I have written many articles in newspapers about Umno and Barisan Nasional. During Umno General Assembly last year, I did three postings on 'My Umno' and received overwhelming support from readers. But I have a feeling that Umno leaders who also read have forgotten about it.
As a grassroot member - and other journo bloggers and fellow-bloggers who know much about the situation on the ground - such information will continue to find its way up. Whether it reaches the right people or not, we are satisfied with our job and effort to lend our hands. Our intention is clear. And as to whether we are being appreciated or not, we don't care.
A-aahh... Almost forgotten another incident. On the eve of Kuala Terengganu by-election (parliament) on January 17, 2009, I told Ahmad Said that Wan Farid would lose... only to be chided by him and his men at the Media Center!
Nope! I didn't mind... and I didn't have the last laugh either. I was subdued!