not fear the political instability that comes, but rather fear the
further fossilisation, if Umno and DAP never find common ground, however
they define it.
COMMENT | The chance meeting between Wanita Umno chief Noraini Ahmad and Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming (above),
characterised by some as some sort of “normalisation” of a possible
political hook up and denounced as fitnah by others, is the kind of
immature politics that defines mainstream narratives in this country.
reality is that there are elements in the Malay political establishment
that do not want to see any cooperation between the two biggest
race-supported parties in this country.
who wish such support are compromised and therefore have to walk that
fine line between trolling the current Perikatan Nasional (PN)
government and establishing some sort of rapport till a possible
post-election game-changer would necessitate an Umno/DAP hook up.
biggest stumbling block coming from the DAP - besides the often
conflicted and confused rhetoric from political operatives - is that the
DAP will not work with tainted leaders. This of course is complete
The DAP, by making its Faustian bargain and working
with Bersatu, demonstrated that working with morally suspect and
corruption-tainted politicians was not an impediment to “saving
Indeed, when Pakatan Harapan briefly formed the federal
government, and Bersatu was accepting Umno frogs, the DAP bent over
backward attempting to justify why Bersatu accepting Umno members was
part of the grand plan to save Malaysia.
Meanwhile, the Umno
grassroots who for decades were fattened by the propaganda and resultant
entitlements that came with demonising the DAP, have to be reoriented
that working the DAP was not the end of bangsa and agama.
I do not see this as much of a hurdle because as far as partisans are
concerned, Harapan and Umno, it is much as how Orwell defined
doublethink - “Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory
beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
sort of cooperation, of course, would have to happen after the dust
settles in the next general election - if we have one - as many
strategists in Umno and the DAP have said. And of course, any form of
cooperation would be defined by how PKR positions itself as the only
viable contender for the crown of Putrajaya.
the DAP brings to any kind of coalition is the majority backing of a
voting demographic and hence they can claim to be the “voice” of the
community on secular and egalitarian issues.
The fact that they
have to downplay such aspirations proves how well they can play with
weak factions of the Malay political establishment.
if they could do this with Umno, which is a vital part of the Malay
power structure, and work on a reform agenda which many in Umno know
needs to be carried out if Malaysia is to remain a viable democracy and
not some sort of theocratic nightmare.
There are many in Harapan
who believe that any sort of cooperation with Umno is untenable and what
they wish to see is Umno continuing to implode and Harapan achieving
some sort of landslide in the next GE which could mean that Harapan
(with its allies) are in a position to dictate terms or secure enough
seats to reject any cooperation with Umno.
After decades of
witnessing the power plays between two coalitions, I see no need to
replicate the formula that brought us to this mess in the first place.
And by formula I mean coalitions of "unequals" pretending to be unified
in political ideology when there was no common framework beyond
The fact that governments could collapse may seem
like an unstable political and economic gambit but this is a far better
proposition than what the previous stability brought us, which was the
radicalisation of the majority and the polarisation of the minority.
Umno elected official who falls neatly into the moderate camp but who
is aligned with someone from the "court cluster", tells me that working
with the DAP would be far better for Malaysia than working with
theocratic PAS, even if it meant more “headaches”.
lies the rub. These headaches are not really genuine policy issues but
rather manufactured outrages, to demonstrate the superiority of race and
religion through the political apparatus. All of this has to stop of
course, because in these pandemic days, the economic and social reality
of decades of political neglect is coming home to roost.
the aftermath of the next GE because it would force disparate political
power groups to attempt to form a government and nobody will be secure
in their positions.
The Sheraton Move was an attempt to define what a Malay uber alles
(above all) government could do, and what they have proved is that
unity based on race and religion is not feasible, especially when it
comes to the urban/rural dichotomy.
What is driving Malaysia apart
is the fact that the illusory nature of political stability based on
the “social contract” was broken by first the ouster of Anwar Ibrahim
from Umno paradise and the gradual erosion of federal BN power, which
culminated in the brief Harapan win the in the last election.