Or light at the end of the Umno tunnel? Two newspapers called for my views earlier today on Khairy Jamaluddin's victory. First to call was Harakah. The journo asked me if KJ's win was a petanda buruk (bad omen) for Umno. Sure, I had a nightmare last night [read about my meeting with KJ at a Muslim cemetary in the comment box here] but the outcome of the Youth chief contest is an opportunity for Umno.
Firstly, it is a chance for KJ himself to prove everyone wrong. That he is not averse to change. That he ain't as bad as they (and I) claimed.
Secondly, it is an opportunity for Najib Razak, Umno's new President, to help Pemuda to close ranks (remember, KJ garnered only about 35 per cent of the delegates who voted last night; the remaining went to losers Khir Toyo and Mukhriz Mahathir). To rapatkan saf, Najib could appoint KJ and Mukhriz to his Cabinet and Khir to the Supreme Council. Conditional, of course, on their being cleared of all corruption charges.
Thirdly, it is also a signal for the party to move fast and adopt a review of the voting system. The 1 member = 1 vote system will make Umno the most democratic party in the country, help abolish money politics, and even encourage Malays who have shunned Umno all this while to join the party.
The Oriental Daily reporter told me that the MCA debated the 1 member = 1 vote system and found that it would be costly and time-consuming. I said whatever the cost, it would not be greater than the cost of losing the next General Election because of the party's failure to fight money politics and corruption in the party.
In short, I see a silver lining ahead for Umno. And yes, if you allow each Umno member one vote to elect the party's leaders in 2012, I would consider signing up as an Umno member.
But if they elect in Muhammad Muhammad Taib as the Deputy President tonight, I will have to take back my words.