The Minister of Defence, Dr. Zahid Hamidi who is also Umno's first Vice President was in Dubai for the Airshow 2009 last week.
The latter, as Umno's no.3 would have significant impact in our political landscape for the next few years. No. 3 slot does not mean the holder will rise to the hierarchy as in politics, anything can happen. Some VPs never made it as some deputies under Mahathir.
It is interesting to note that with the current Umno's situation, Dr. Zahid may have extra miles to go. He has his ups and downs and his loyalty to Umno plus with Najib's long connection, we can expect him to aspire for higher position in the land.
Dr. Zahid had a dinner with about 50 or so Malaysian expatriates in Dubai together with the diplomats and his entourage. I was in the audience and even though was very late, still managed to listen to his 'ceramah' as he also came one hour later than the schedule. This is bad for a leader as punctuality is good first impression, even Sheikh Mohamed Al Maktoum is always on time and he is very much busier as the leader of the UAE.
Of course, Pak Lah is notorious for his unpunctuality and sleeping in the meeting or functions. We do not want to have another premier like Pak Lah again.
We nevertheless had all ears to Dr. Zahid before our dinner. A moderate good orator with a bit of loghatul arabiyah and English thrown in. He might have realised that the audience was also mix in terms of political inclinations when he had cautioned about being wise (hikmah) during dialogue session.
Whatever it is, whoever the minister from Malaysia, he or she represents the country and political aside, it is always good to listen to his/her vision. Beside of course free meals, paid by rakyat.
Somehow, Dr. Zahid was trying hard to convey his boss' 1 Malaysia thingie. He had some good points and some could be disputed. He elaborated on one stream school, and wanted to clean his ministry from those military equipment agents and runners. He wanted to build a defence manufacturing industry rather than being user of western powers.
However, comparing to certain Singaporean cabinet ministers of the same level, and most like other Malaysia's cabinet ministers, including both nation's PMs & deputies, there is certainly a huge gap of standard.
Dr. Zahid should polish his speech for international audience if he really wants to be a PM material who can have real impact. As per now, he is only good for certain Umno crowd.
He has some good approaches in winning Malaysia citizens. He looks sincere (well, politicians can also be dubious) , seems very open and wants to listen to other opinions. Not to mention to join the others for smoking session, well, this can be also seen negatively, a minister of his repute and age shall stop smoking!
He may write about his vision in a book for us to know his plans etc. While straightening his influence within Umno, he should also stand beyond political parties outside the Umno tempurung, going for international presence esp in the Islamic world and keep his feet on the ground with his background.
I remember most when he proudly claimed, "I used to have 4 public listed companies." I would like to ask the question pertaining to this matter but was hurry for another meeting.
Umno has no dearth of good politicians to become leaders in the future, however it is hard for common people like me to choose among the tainted politicians. I believe the future PM materials are currently outside Umno. I maybe wrong.
Dr. Zahid as no.3 in Umno may be in a good position to pursue his ambition to lead the nation. He may have his potent strategy, well-equipped team, runners and he is working diligently on the game play to win every battle and war ahead, good luck to him. He has charisma for our standard and I would like to support him, well, comparing with the others in Umno (tell me who else?)
Then again, I could be wrong for all the right reasons.....Malaysia needs the best leader to bring forward the nation into a developed status...