How long will Umno bend the knee to Bersatu? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, April 08, 2021
Malaysiakini: "If the Umno president and BN chairperson is strong, no
component party would think of inviting an outsider. This is really
embarrassing." - Umno's Padang Rengas MP Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz
| Former Umno supreme council member and longtime loose cannon Nazri
Abdul Aziz, who claims to not be in any camp, "court cluster" or
"cabinet cluster", took shots at current BN president Ahmad Zahid
Hamidi. He said as long as Zahid sticks around, the perception of Umno
“not being clean” will persist.
reality check is needed here. The reason why Zahid is perceived as weak
has nothing to do with his corruption scandals and everything to do
with the once hegemonic Umno bending the knee to Bersatu. The fight
between Umno and Bersatu is in reality just a fight between current and
former Umno members and not some sort of deep ideological fissure.
cannot really make a choice between Umno and Bersatu because they are
the same. All those hypocritical calls for Zahid to step down would mean
something if a former prime minister, now a convicted felon, received
the same treatment when he led BN in the last general election. Factions
within Umno that have no love for Bersatu and PAS, clearly have grown
tired of those ensnared by corruption scandals.
With all the
internal bickering going on in Umno, the commonality is that everyone
sees the Muhyiddin Yassin regime as weak. Everyone wants to benefit from
holding the puppet strings of this "new term" government but are unable
to reach a consensus.
It must be galling for someone like Umno
veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to impotently issue diktats from his
bunker when nobody in Umno seems to be paying attention to him. The
so-called "cabinet cluster" is too busy fighting with members of their
own party, which only benefits Bersatu. Meanwhile, the other factions
within Umno are struggling with the "numbers game".
At this moment
the Malay establishment does not want to have an election and this has
nothing to do with the pandemic. Political operatives love to talk
about Malay/Muslim unity, but you can bet your last ringgit that closer
to the election, nobody in this Malay uber alles government would make
way for the other.
Umno to survive, the party needs to reassert dominance in the political
landscape and this needs to be done with huge electoral gains. For
Bersatu, it has to demonstrate that it commands the majority of the
Malay vote. Hence, it needs to demonstrate that it is not a political
party that relies on other Malay parties to remain in power. Umno never
Nobody has any idea of what Perikatan Nasional (PN) stands
for. I know, from public statements, that their agenda is to stop PKR
president Anwar Ibrahim from becoming prime minister, upholding Malay
rights, which they claim Harapan was derelict in, and hating and blaming
DAP for everything. Beyond that, there is nothing that points to
coherent strategies and policies.
While Umno has a track record of
corruption and government malfeasance, it also has a track record of
winning elections and in those days, when the idea of BN meant
something, it had a track record of winning the popular vote. In other
words, a majority of Malaysians voted for BN.
Now, of course, MIC
and MCA mean very little and Umno, like the rest of the Malay uber alles
parties, have to share the pie when it comes to the Malay vote. The
thing the Malay establishment feared all those decades ago, about the
split in the Malay polity, has come true. Not because of Anwar's antics
but because the Malay establishment could not control the systemic
corruption and ultimately the tentpole party which was Umno.
this situation, how exactly are these Malay uber alles parties going to
compromise and work together? And forget about who is leading Umno or
BN. It does not matter if the cabinet or court cluster prevails. The
political game that Umno set up all those decades ago means that there
needs to be a dominant Malay party, otherwise there would be chaos.
complete horse manure, of course. Malay unity has been the rallying cry
of the establishment for years and the great lie that built a
kleptocracy. However, it does present a horrifying dilemma to Umno.
Both Umno and Bersatu have said, if need be, that they will contest in
“all seats”. Umno, or at least a faction within Umno, has said that if
need be, they will fight against Bersatu and PAS.
Now for all
those Umno folk supportive of the PN regime and Muafakat Nasional, does
anyone really think they are going to allow an upstart party and a
traditional foe to dominate the political landscape? Are these PN
sympathisers suddenly going to share the “Malay” vote with Bersatu and
PAS? Are these folks really telling us that when the general election
finally arrives, Umno is going to abandon its narrative of being the
only game in town when it comes to race and religion?
let us forget about all this talk of BN. There is no more BN. This is a
fight for Umno and Umno alone. The next in line, if Zahid is removed by
whatever method, is Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan, or Tok Mat. As
Nazri says, Tok Mat is next on the food chain, so everybody should follow him as he is the next in command.
believes that a firm and decisive leader is needed for the next general
election but the big question is who? Seat allocations, especially in
Malay majority areas and "traditional" seats, will determine who is the
biggest wolf in the pack, and will that Umno leader, or whoever leads
BN, compromise with the other two Malay political parties when such
compromise weakens Umno further?
Umno will be heading into the
next election with a fractured party where warlords are nursing
grievances. They will be up against Bersatu, which controls the levers
of power and which has demonstrated that it is not shy to use them.
way this plays out, the coming general election will be the fight of
Umno's life and will determine if there will still be a dominant Malay
party in this country.