The problem with working with Umno - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, March 22, 2021
Malaysiakini : “With so much chaos, someone will do something stupid. And when they do, things will turn nasty.”- Alan Moore, V for Vendetta
DAP’s Anthony Loke is correct when he says that depending on how the
next general election turns out, the political class in this country
will need to reconfigure the political power system and this would mean,
Umno and the DAP collaborating in some way.
is the thing. It makes sense for the two parties which represent the
“Malays” and the “Chinese” to collaborate on the political front.
However, the problem is that for decades the DAP has been the whipping
boy for Umno.
leaders or at least those who have left the fold have made public
statements acknowledging that the demonisation of the DAP was propaganda
meant to deflect for their own political failings.
The fact that
Umno can come up with euphemisms like “strategic partners” when dealing
with the DAP, is evidence that when push comes to shove, Umno can work
with the DAP on mutually beneficial political goals.
that state-level political cooperation is possible makes the genuine
conservative in me smile - but also exposes the lie that any cooperation
In my last article, I argued that sections of
the Malay establishment and political operatives from across the
spectrum would rather engage in political shenanigans of making deals or
halting democratic processes through “emergencies” by using the
pandemic as an excuse than to have elections. The reason for this is
Potentates in Umno know someone like Loke is more right
than wrong that with the state of decay and internal warfare in the
Malay establishment, scared political cows would have to be sacrificed
if there is no clear winner in the next election.
of course brings us to the nonsensical statement that Anwar Ibrahim and
PKR are in talks with “Umno” on a possible collaboration. First off the
PKR president is in talks with political factions within Umno which may
not represent the vox populi of Umno.
This is why we have
Pakatan Harapan political operatives disavowing working with the
so-called “court cluster” of Umno and Anwar and his coterie attempting
to spin any association as based on the “good of the country” or
screwing with Bersatu's electoral prospects.
This is also why
folks like Ismail Sabri Yaakob and whichever cabal that supports Prime
Minister Muhyiddin Yassin run around claiming that Umno members should
not be influenced by Anwar while other Umno members attack Bersatu and
their proxies while making sympathetic noises or remaining silent about
the moves Anwar makes.
The fact that many political operatives in
Harapan understand the danger of collaborating with factions within
Umno, as opposed to Umno itself, is indicative of how tenuous the
political situation is now with all the moves made by the state against
Umno political operatives but also Harapan political personalities.
this political milieu, there is really no question of working with
Umno. As it is statements made by the various factions within Umno
contradict one another but the fall back has always been that nobody in
Umno should work with the DAP.
Indeed when PAS president Abdul
Hadi Awang, whose party has been called a political prostitute by an old
Umno hand, has to take this insult in his stride, this should tell us
about how many in Umno feel about collaborating with PAS and PAS knows
who is DAP organising secretary, said: "More people are saying that one
way out (of our political crisis) is for Umno and DAP to come to the
same table. But this needs political courage and will from both sides.
Is Umno prepared to even talk about it?”
The fact that
the two biggest parties, in terms of representation and voter share,
cannot find common ground because both sides use race and religion (in
their own ways) to gin up their respective base, indicates that this
country will never move forward.
Meanwhile, the DAP when
collaborating with Malay power structures has bent over backwards to
accommodate policies and diktats which caused more political and social
upheaval in the communities they represent.
The old maverick made
statements about how lopsided policies were made in favour of the Malay
community at the expense of the non-Malay community but nobody could
talk about this during Harapan’s tenure, which informs us of how
duplicitous the agents of change were.
It is not that the DAP
cannot play nice with Malay power structures, it is that it plays too
nice and ends up alienating the base and folks are left wondering, why
vote in the first place?
Another issue is that the political base
of non-Malay political operatives, and by this I mean the base which was
birthed with the ejection of Anwar from the Umno paradise, has
sublimated desires for systemic change in favour of a Manichean agenda
of replacing Umno or whatever bogeyman they can come up with in lieu of
promised egalitarian reforms.
at this time, Umno is fractured to the point that various potentates
and their proxies are waging war in the press. Can you imagine any kind
of working relationship between Harapan and Umno at the moment? With PAS
on the sidelines, who knows what kind of mischief they would engineer
to further demonise the DAP.
It has always been like this.
Remember in the 13th general election when Harapan did well? The old
maverick made statements that reflect how the Malay establishment thinks
of the DAP. He said the Chinese community has been taken in by DAP's "propaganda" to topple a "corrupt Malay" government.
unfortunately has always been the default position of Umno and the
Malay establishment. Like spoilt children, they cannot take “no” for an
answer , which is why even in the go-go years when the MCA was riding
high, Umno pressure groups were attacking the MCA when the MCA was
attempting to stand up to policies that would have further
disenfranchised the Chinese community.
Unless Umno comes to grips
with the reality that. for the time being, the DAP is the best partner
they can have and unless the DAP understands that they could go the
route of the MCA if they continue genuflecting to Malay power structures
with their sycophantic behaviour towards Malay power structures, we may
be able to hold off the inevitable for a little while longer.
Sadly, demographics is destiny and one day the majority of Malaysians will be wondering what the fuss was all about.