Thursday 25 August 2016

Ghani, Umno election 2000 and Sultan Iskandar

I got a bit of time at the moment between my works.

So, I would like to entertain a commentator who wrote this in my last post,

Hi Annie,
You have been singing high of TS Abdul Ghani since I first read your blog. He would have been an ideal candidate to replace current PM but he remain low profile.. I'm eager to know more from you on the why..

First, let me thank Norick for the comment.

Actually, the answer to Norick's question is simple - Ghani has retired from politics.

That's about it.

But let me tell Norick and you all some more about the guy.

It should take a whole complete book to properly explain why I'm always so full of praise of TS Abdul Ghani Othman instead of just a blog post.

But, let me try my best here.

I think it's okay to write a bit more about the former Johor MB since he is now retired from politics and not a threat to anyone still in office.

Some of my friends actually thought that Ghani had given me something, either it be land, money, etc that I'm still writing nice things about him despite him already being retired.

The truth is, the only thing personal he had ever offered to assist me was to fund an acupuncture treatment for a boy with autism.

I really appreciate his kind gesture but declined the offer.

I'm being supportive of Ghani simply because he is a good man and a good leader.

Nothing more than that.

I believe that one of the main reasons why my blogging captain Rocky put this blog on his blogroll back then was because of that.

My political views were mostly neutral before I met Ghani in person for the first time in 2001.

Ghani is not a spectacular guy. He hardly gives fiery speeches or came out with statements which could drive the public into a frenzy.

I remember a Johor-based journalist once wrote that it's easier to squeeze water out of a rock than getting Ghani to say something bombastic.

But the guy is calm and collected. And he never tolerated much nonsense.

He believes that things must be done properly.

No hanky panky, no glamour.

On top of all that, the guy is very intelligent and with vision.

Any member of the Johor Civil Service who had worked closely with him can confirmed this assessment  about  Ghani.

I was impressed of him because of all that.

Ghani is also the only Umno leader up to this point who I can say with certainty of being incorruptible.

That's because I had been observing his leadership very closely for several years and found it hard to find faults with it.

I'm not saying that the guy is perfect but I found him as clean as a politician could be.

As with any other leader, Ghani has his detractors, but throughout his 18 years as Johor MB, the only real issue which could be pinned on his personal self is the sale of the Danga Bay land to businessman Lim Kang Ho during the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. The rest that they tried to throw at him were just garbage.

To have a better understanding of what actually happened with that Danga Bay issue, please read this speech by Ghani on the 15th anniversary of Danga Bay which was posted on the now mothballed BIGCAT blog,

KPRJ and Danga Bay

Under Ghani's leadership, Johor enjoyed a holistic approach to its development, which enabled a balanced priorities between the urban and rural areas.

Bear in mind that the rapid development as witnessed in Iskandar Malaysia till now was initiated during his leadership.

For that, please read this other post in the BIGCAT blog,

Birth of Iskandar Malaysia - for non-Johoreans

There are a lot more I wish I can write about Ghani's achievements here but as I said, if I do so, this blog post may turned into a book.

So, let me save those for other postings, okay.

On Norick's inquiry as to Ghani, being an ideal candidate for the PM's job, let me take you back to the Umno election in the year 2000.

It was the only time Ghani had shown interest to move higher up the Umno leadership when he contested the vice-president post.

Ghani was at that time riding high after leading Johor BN to a 100 per cent victory in the State during the general election the previous year.

That, despite significant losses of the coalition in other states because of the Reformasi movement, triggered by the sacking and jailing of DS Anwar Ibrahim.

Ghani received the second highest number of nominations behind DS Najib Razak among the nine candidates who contested for the three vice-president slots.

It was also the lowest point in his relationship with his Johor MB predecessor TS Muhyiddin Yassin, when he was accused of blocking his former school classmate's nomination in Johor.

Ghani had denied the allegation.

The turning point of that contest came at the very end of the nomination period when Najib, along with Muhyiddin and former Selangor MB TS Muhammad Mohd Taib received the nomination from the Kubang Pasu division, which was headed by then Umno president and PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The outcome of the Umno vice-president race 2000 was as reported by Utusan Malaysia here,

Kejutan Dalam Pemilihan Naib Presiden UMNO

I still remember at that time that even Dr Mahathir was shocked when his own division nominated Muhyiddin and Muhammad for the post, which was deemed a signal to the Umno delegates that the duo, along with Najib were the Umno president's choice.

Almost every observers that I know at that time discreetly cited one reason for the outcome - money politics.

I believe that because of that reason, Ghani never tried to contest for that post again.

He was dead against the practice of money politics and due to that he must had concluded that he would never be able to win.

I'm of the opinion, Umno would not be as messed up as it is now if Ghani had won that vice-president post instead of Muhyiddin who has now set-up Parti Pribumi Bersatu and Muhammad who had defected to Pas and now to Amanah.

I also believe that another reason as to why Ghani never tried to move up in politics from his number one post in Johor was because of a story told to me by a close aide of him.

According to the story, Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Sultan Ismail had told Ghani that he wanted Ghani to remain as Johor MB as long as he was still alive.

I was told that Sultan Iskandar's exact words to Ghani were these,

"Ghani, engkau jangan nak berangan nak pergi mana-mana selagi aku masih hidup. Duduk diam-diam kat sini. Jaga Johor ni baik-baik."

Sultan Iskandar had actually blocked two serious attempts to replace Ghani as MB, that was in 2004 and 2008.

Ghani had declined all awards which were offered to him at the Federal level or by other states when he was MB and because of that he was only addressed as just a Datuk at that time.

He did so out of respect for Sultan Iskandar because his datukship was the Johor Darjah Kerabat 1, which was rarely conferred to a commoner.

If I'm not mistaken, there are only five commoners at the moment with that title. The others are Dr Mahathir, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Sarawak's Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud and former Bank Negara governor TS Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

To understand better the relationship between Ghani and Sultan Iskandar, please read yet another post in the BIGCAT blog,

Remembering the good old man of Bukit Serene

Ghani only accepted his Tan Sri title after he retired from politics and relocated himself to KL.

Till today I find it difficult to call him Tan Sri.

So far, he doesn't seems to mind me calling him Datuk, as I always had.


  1. OK lah Annie,let Tina play the praises for you ....
    Datuk Ghani, a dedication for selfless service, sir.

  2. Annie,

    For a supposedly DAP blogger, you speak very highly of Abdul Ghani Othman.

    He does sound like a good guy and it is unfortunate that he got nailed by Lim Kit Siang in GE13.

    Who knows what would have happened if Ghani had won.

    I am beginning to have greater respect for some of the UMNO people you mention in your blog and hopefully you can introduce others who are deserving of respect by all Malaysians for their efforts in building a fairer and better Malaysia.


    1. Ghani was not nailed by Lim Kit Siang. It was the Chinese tsunami which caused his defeat. He was asked by Najib to contest the Chinese majority Gelang Patah in order to try to stop the Chinese tsunami. He was originally not to contest the election as he had wanted to retire at that time. He abided to Najib's request out of his loyalty to the party. It was a suicide mission from the start. Ghani is the first Umno leader ever to contest in a Chinese majority constituency. If he had only wanted to win he would had insisted on defending his Serom state seat or at least contest the Ledang parliament seat where his division is located.

  3. My O my Annie. I don't know how you arrive at all those perceptions about Ghani Othman. He is the opposite of what you wrote!!!

    1. Please read my posting slowly and carefully to understand it. And please be specific on why you think he is the opposite of what I wrote. Thank you.

  4. damnnnnn.... how did he lose to uncle Lim...

  5. Annie please laa. What sort of former Dean of the Faculty of Econimics and Admintration UM who could think of borrowing from banks to build rural roads, sekolah ugama and mosques/surau. In the end KPRJ burdened with almost RM500 millions loan, had to surrender thousands of acres of Johor land to Lim Kang Hoe. Not only Danga Bay, he gave Tebrau Teguh Bhd to Lim Kang Ho. Tebrau Teguh Bhd was the sole owner of Senibong/Tebrau coastal lands. Ask the senior JCS officers about jungle lands alienated to Lim Kang Ho. In his first term, so much was said about helping the Malay professionals. Second term and beyond, the opposite was the truth. He could leave meetings at the command of Lim Kang Ho. Snake. Now the former CEO of KPRJ is the advisor to Lim Kang Ho. Very convenient isn't. Petualang.

    1. You obviously didn't read the blog posts at the links I provided in this posting which explain the Danga Bay deal and why Ghani had to borrow money for KPRJ to build the kampung roads, mosques etc. As for Lim Kang Ho, have you ever wonder why he is still hanging around in Johor now that Ghani is no longer there? Siapa bela dia sebenarnya? Anyway, if Ghani had not initiated the building of the kampung roads, mosques, etc via KPRJ and waited for allocation from the Federal government, many of the orang kampung in Johor would still be without those things till now. The Federal allocations for those things are simply just not enough while the state government itself didn't have that kind of money, okay.

    2. Whatever your comment is, I strongly feel the construction of rural road, surau, sekolah ugama and mosques using bank loans had caused swapping of under-valued/over-valued shares with Lim Kang Ho. We are discussing the long-term effects of the State's development and the welfare of the majority. Dialogue sessions with local inhabitants had caused abusive tensions. Verify with the senior JCS officers. Look at City Square. Sold to Temasek Holding subsidiary. Look at Duty Free Zone. Sold to Berjaya ultimately. These two assets were partially owned by MBJB. Where is the Malay interests safe-guards? Now this trend continues, while the Malays are hoping that more low cost houses be build at affordable prices. The sitruation of the Malays is still the same as that of 20 years ago -low income at poverty level, education is costly and employment opportunities are limited despite the huge inflows of foreign investments. I dread a repeat of 13 May Annie.

    3. Building things like jalan kampung is actually a long term effort to improve the social economic well being of people in the rural areas who are mostly Malays.With better connectivity life would be improved. As for being afraid of May 13, I think if we don't listen to people who wants us to hate Chinese or Christians or any race or religion, we would not end up killing one another, insyaAllah.

  6. YPJ's cash and assets worth over RM200 million gone under his administration.

    1. Why don't you lodge reports to MACC and the police on that one so that Ghani can be thrown in jail?

  7. Should Ghani won in Gelang Patah, he would most probably had moved to federal capital and taken up ministrial post like Idris Jusoh and Shahidan Kassim, or Mat Taib at one time before spectacularly being dropped after Najib took over from Pak Lah. Once you settled at state level politics, the only way to go higher up is to move to Kuala Lumpur to advance your political career taking up plump positions there.
    Before that, the first hurdle you need to clear is to contest any parliamentary seat in your home state and try your luck. Either you move up to higher chain to play a bigger role if you win or you opted out of politics altogether if you no longer get the support. There is no such thing as to still linger at state level politics after your attempted move to federal level fizzled out.
    It would be embarassing if you were to do so and seeing someone else take over the reign of the state from you. That's what happened to Mat Said of Terengganu. He couldn't accept the fact that his time at the state has finished prematurely and he'd to revert to his former role as local leader or just mere state assemblyman.
    It such a huge humiliation to find yourself in that kind of situation. That's the reason why he's hell bent stirring trouble to his fellow assemblymen every now and then. Umno top brass had failed to adress this issue and let it spiralling out of control. Even Pak Lah were much much more adept and shrewd in when it comes to managing crisis in the state by quickly handed over Idris Jusoh diretorship at Mara to calm him so the situation would be manageable and the political climate in the state could returned to normalcy.
    I believed Gani and Ali Rustam had had enough at their respective state and wanted to move higher up but both had lost miserably and have to reconsider their option. Either taken up senatorship or directorships in GLCs or faded into the oblivion with an early retirement. That's how it works.

    1. Najib, during his visit to Johor a few days before GE13 polling day admitted that Ghani had wanted to retire but was asked to contest Gelang Patah. Najib said so in his speech at Southern College. The whole thing was not about Ghani wanting to move up. I was told that, Ghani had felt that at 69 and Sultan Iskandar no longer around, it's time for him to retire and let a younger leader to take over.

    2. Another thing, during campaigning, Ghani promised the people of Gelang Patah that he would live in that constituency if they elected him. Knowing Ghani, he would had done exactly that instead of moving to KL to become a minister or whatever. He would probably spend a single term serving the people of Gelang Patah before handing back the seat to MCA and retires.

  8. Annie,

    People are not understanding Tun's remarks on Johor and separation at all. Suggest you blog about it? He's not agsinst Johor pride (I'm a proud Johorean, BTW). But just commenting on secession from Malaysia.

    My two sen (excluding GST : ) is that Johor is fine as part of Malaysia, but - BUT - we just need to kick Najis Tong Rosak and his merry band of Umngok thieves out, and put a clean gomen in place. Simple kan.

    Though I'm 100% sure we could be very well off as a separate state. Johor has tons of resources and can form a trade hub with Sing & Indon.

    1. I had actually wrote several times that I'm against the concept of Bangsa Johor. To find those postings, please type Bangsa Johor at the search column on the right side of the Web version of this page. Thank you.

    2. Hi Annie,

      Yes, I know that : )

      My point was actually directed to: "People are not understanding Tun's remarks on Johor and separation at all." The recent remarks, I mean. I think you would have seen this. Some people are spinning it wrongly, including the current MB.


    3. Nice take from DAKJ on the whole issue:

      Like I say, people should just read carefully what Tun was saying. Of course the dumb Najis macai like Khaled Nordin will try and spin the issue (and fail).

      (BTW, I prefer Ghani to Khaled but I don't want to comment too much on some things Ghani did. I'm taking the silence option. But he's still better than Khaled by far.)


  9. Even making yr point of hating a Muslim leader no need to mouth filth boleg(?) Sdr mdzrfs
    ikutlah in-sya-Allah abad Sunnah

    M Zin
    Alor Gajah DPH


    1. Saudara M Zin,

      Sorry, tak "boleg".

      And please do not insult Islam by calling Najib Razak a "Muslim leader".

      What does Islam say about lying?

      Ikutlah in-sya-Allah abad Sunnah, yes indeed.

      No doubt both you and your Bugis hero should do that more diligently, it seems. Supporting a proven liar (and thief) is also not right.

      In the meantime, the fake piety should be kept to yourself, boleg ke tak boleg?

      Thank you.

    2. M Zin,

      Does it matter whether it is a Muslim leader or not?

      I thought that good leadership is not dependent on religion.



    3. I also critisise others faults but not mouth others with filthy names, kan(?) Sdr mdzfrs

      Re. Adab Sunnah, narrated Abu Jubairah bin Ad-Dahhak, The Prophet SAW reminded:
      ( Book 47 Tafsir al Quran, Hadith Sahih 3578)

      A man among us would be known by two or three names. He would be called by one that perhaps he disliked, so this Ayat was revealed:
      ".. nor insult with insultory nicknames"
      ( al- Quran, 49:11)

      -- Hadith Sahih Imam Tirmidhi

      NB. All people matter, Sdr Gladiator
      ( Muslim only in above case, OK?)

      M Zin
      Alor Gajah DPH

  10. Hi Annie,

    Thanks for information relating TS Ghani. Pardon me as I'm not aware he has retired from politics.. as i thought he still hold a minister post / senator..
    Nevertheless, thanks for the kind effort.. Will go through the link provided when time permits


  11. Awak bangsa apa Annie? Cuba komen sikit...

  12. Najis Tong Rosak28 August 2016 at 06:53

    Hantu Gigi Jarang,


    How about you Hantu? Which BANGSA?