21 June 1998
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It was the first time the National Front, which then included PAS (whose president,
Asri Haji Muda, became Minister of Land and Mines and Minister with Special Functions
accompanying- Razak to religious council meetings as an adviser), fought the election
with the "dacing " or Scale of Justice as symbol.
I polled the highest, percentage wise, among the 10 parliamentary candidates in Kelantan
with - Asri a close second. It was a proud moment for me because I was deemed by
friends and foes alike as a "novice" in elective politics since I had spent
a good many years working behind the scene in Jalan Datol Onn.
I never worked so hard to achieve the distinction to prove my detractors wrong and
give them notice by way of shocking them.
The nie-party coalition led by Razak won a massive mandate because never before had
so many races or parties fought an election on a. common manifesto of "less
politicking more development", pledging to build a strong, just and prosperous
Malaysia for all Malaysians.
The fourth general election shall be remembered for all time as Razak's first and
only election he contested as prime minister and also the first time he ever won
without a contest.
The general election was held three months after he paid an official visit to the
People's Republic of China, in the spring of 1974 which formalised the establishment
of diplomatic relations between the two nations.
Razak's visit and his Picture shaking hands with Mao ZeDong at the latter's residence
in Beijing on May 19th became a major theme in the polls in August. We stirred much
zeal and enthusiasm for Sino-Malaysian friendship which brought much good for both
peoples. That was Razak's first and last visit to China. I subsequently visited China
I am never weary of politics. I never become unduly upset with talk of scandals nor
with gossips which go on all the time in Kuala Lumpur. Like any other capital, Kuala
Lumpur's chief industry is government and with it comes every kind of wild allegation,
and, somewhat to my dismay, the source of it all often comes from within the ruling
cabal or those close to members of the competing cliques.
I received a surat-layang (poison letter) through my fax machine against Deputy Prime
Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on the last day of my stay in the federal capital
during a visit there last week. How disenchanting Malaysian politics has become and
how low it has sunk.
I served Parliament for two terms and covered the first Parliament (1959) as a reporter
and attended it as a political secretary between 1963 and 1974. Most unexpectedly
my attempt for a third term failed when all Umno's parliamentary and state candidates
in Kelantan were wiped out by PAS and the Semangat 46 Coalition in the 1990 general
During the last election held in 1995, Umno made few gains in Kelantan and I retired
from active politics to go to New York, a city which I am beginning to like and enjoy.
People everywhere ask me about the chances of Umno Kelantan in the next election.
I am mystified by all this great interest. Umno"s chances in Kelantan - as I
perceive it - are as good as the republican Party winning the White House in the
year 2000 or the Conservative Party ousting New Labour in the next few years.
Of course, this is subject to what might happen between now and election time and,
more unimportantly, who will be spearheading the Umno election machinery in the state
and who the candidates would be.
Sabah? A Sabahan lawyer said to me and confirmed by a tycoon with impeccable connections
with Sabahan interests that even if the incumbents in Kota Kinabalu had their eyes,
hearts and minds (and they do not) firmly fixed on the next election they would have
a rough time facing their experienced opponents drawn from both Muslim and non-Muslim
While in Kuala Lumpur in late May and early this month, I heard a lot of talk, not
so much about the economic slowdown, weak ringgit and financial troubles, but rather
amusing debates about Viagra.
A Kelantanese friend deliberately mispronounced it as "Viakeras" and caused
much laughter at a 'tahlil' (prayer for the dead) session. For a s long as
we can laugh at ourselves, I suppose, everything will be all right. As my grandmother
would always say, there is no better medicine than laughter.
Not everybody I know has financial problems but many acquaintances asked me for Viagra
pills. I was rather embarrassed because first I don't need Viagra so I didn't carry
any. Life goes on everywhere whatever happens with or without Viagra. We should be
thankful. It could have been much worse!
One cheerful word for Viagra' "addicts". The US Food and Drug Administration
has cleared Viagra manufacturer Pfizer in the deaths of more than a dozen men who
were taking the so called love drug. Since the FDA approved Viagra in March, 16 men
have died in America and many more elsewhere particularly in the Middle East and
Southeast Asia after Viagra-aided sex!
However, since the news came out that Viagra is safe, Pfizer shares rose more than
four points to US$112.5 (RM 450).
Viagra's safety label does warn of the danger of mixing the impotence drug with heart
medications, like nitroglycerin, which could cause blood pressure to drop to fatal
levels. So, please shun Viagra
however tempting - if you are taking nitrate based heart medications. I am told that
more than 1.7 million Viagra prescriptions have been written for men over 50 since
Men above 50 have a far higher rate of heart attack than the general population,
so, do be careful.
Sexually active people like my friends "Gung-ho", "Aim" "Bull",
- "Smoky", "Lim Ping" and I have no need to resort to Viagra,
I suppose. Some people have all the luck!
Dato' Abdullah Ahmad is Malaysia's Special Envoy to the United Nations
(This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of Sun )