Most disappointed over UMNO betrayal of Ghani Othman who was completely by-passed instead of being appointed Senator and Minister in new Cabinet line-up

I am disappointed over the UMNO betrayal of former Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Ghani Othman who was completely by-passed instead of being appointed Senator and Minister in the new Cabinet line-up announced by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday.

The UMNO leadership had praised Ghani sky-high during the 13th General Election campaign when fielding him as a parliamentary candidate for Gelang Patah against me, and it is most unfair and ungrateful for UMNO leaders to drop Ghani like a ton of bricks after Ghani failed to defeat me in Gelang Patah in the May 5 polls.

General elections should not be regarded as a zero-sum game, and in the case of Ghani, whom I had openly acknowledged as having made invaluable contribution to the development and progress in Johor, his talents and experience should be tapped by the Federal government as Ghani can have still many years of national service and contribution in him.

I am surprised that Ghani is facing so much resistance in UMNO as there are powerful forces who object to his return to national politics, to the extent that MUBARAK, the association of former Barisan Nasional wakil rakyats, have come out with a statement opposing any UMNO candidate who lost in the 13GE being appointed a Senator and a Minister – clearly targetting at Ghani.

It would be interesting to know who are the UMNO leaders behind the MUBARAK statement for it would throw an interesting light on the UMNO power tussle which has started escalating after the 13GE preparing for the “royal battle” in the UMNO party elections at the end of the year.

One criticism of the Cabinet announced by Najib yesterday is its distinct lack of “star” or “wow” quality.

The only person who stands head and shoulder over the rest of the Cabinet line-up in intellectual prowess is the Oxford graduate, UMNO Youth leader, Khairy Jamaluddin, but who had stepped on too many toes in his heyday as the son-in-law to Tun Abdullah in the brief period his father-in-law as the Prime Minister in Malaysia.

I had in fact had occasion to castigate Khairy in Parliament as the “richest unemployed youth in the world” when he was too big for his boots. I hope that in his many years in “wilderness” eating humble pie although he has UMNO Youth leader, conspicuously sidelined from government front-benches although his deputy was made Deputy Minister, have taught him the qualities of humility.

His final rehabilitation in being appointed to the Cabinet is however a great let-down, as his appointment to the comparatively minor Cabinet portfolio of Minister for Youth and Sports is a great injustice when he should be appointed to more substantive responsibilities.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Gelang Patah