UMNO on war footing

July 12, 2010

UMNO on war footing

COMMENT by Terence Netto

It’s the winter of UMNO’s discontent with Pakatan Rakyat, with PKR in the eye of the maelstrom.

The heightened attacks on PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim, the suspension of Suara Keadilan, the warnings to Harakah, the investigations of Pakatan legislators for alleged corruption, the claim that the Selangor Pakatan government is in the red, all point to the commencement of a new phase in UMNO’s run-up to the next general election.

Given the stated unpreparedness of UMNO allies MCA, MIC and Gerakan for the polls, it’s a surprise why UMNO has gone on war footing this early.

It is too early to ratchet up the tempo to battle-speed if, say, the election is for the period April-June next year. Public fatigue with electioneering is a real danger, and given that UMNO-BN has the greater need to come up in the numbers turning out for them, they stand to lose more from any danger of voter apathy.

Could the new frenzy in UMNO’s attacking salvoes on Pakatan be a tactic to disperse and cause confusion in its ranks so that an anticipated jailing of Anwar for sodomy will be a fait accompli foisted on forces too demoralised to resist?

The case is scheduled to end in August just when Ramadan begins and a verdict expected to be delivered shortly after. Thus far, the case has been remarkable only in the court’s refusal to grant the defence aspects of due process normally accorded the accused.

In this respect, it’s ominous for Anwar that the contretemps surrounding his criticisms of communications consultant APCO Worldwide and of Israel’s attack on the humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza have attracted adverse notices in Washington.

Those criticisms have put Anwar in the bizarre situation of being branded anti-Semitic in the US and a puppet of Jewish interests by his critics in Malaysia.

Hurtful to Anwar’s cause

A Washington rendered mute over his anticipated jailing would be hurtful to Anwar’s cause. Needless to say, his being seen as a friend of the Jews is damaging to his standing among Muslims in Malaysia.

In the event of Anwar’s jailing, no amount of pressure from his allies elsewhere in the world will have as much effect on Kuala Lumpur as an admonishing word followed by a modicum of action from the US State Department.

UMNO appears determined to portray Anwar as philo-Semitic among Muslims in Malaysia even as the sodomy case against him is enfeebled by the stark refusal of the court to grant him significant aspects of due process.

They are opting for the next-most lethal stick with which to beat him after the deadliest one – a charge of sodomy – withers for lack of credibility.

And by attempting to shutter the party organs, such as Suara Keadilan and Harakah, UMNO is trying to shut off the conduits by which vital sections of the Malaysian electorate are fed information for an informed choice at the next election. In this light, then, it is not surprising that UMNO has gone on a war footing this early.

TERENCE NETTO has been a journalist for close on four decades. He likes the occupation because it puts him in contact with the eminent without being under the necessity to admire them.

15 thoughts on “UMNO on war footing

  1. Mr. Netto,

    Why shouldn’t UMNO and Barisan Nasional be on a war footing? UMNO must start reforming itself, although it is going to be tough initially to change its culture and modus operandi. But it must– and it will– if it is to meet the challenge of the opposition, Pakatan Rakyat and respond to the needs and expectations of a new generation of Malaysians who want change, not more of the same.

    The UMNO leader must lead and it helps if Najib has his own mandate from the people. A lot is at stake for Najib who wants a fresh mandate from the country–a strong one with 2/3rd majority–so that he can really govern and with that mandate, he can take on conservatives and reactionaries within his party who are trying to stall his new agenda for the nation.

    I am not usually pro-anyone, but I do think that Najib with a strong mandate can make some difference for Malaysia. What choice has he got if the mandate from Malaysians is about the need for change, real change not tinkering at the fringes.

    Najib knows that the sooner he gets cracking and prepare his UMNO-BN machine the better it will be for him. The Opposition is in disarray at this time, especially in Selangor, and the economy in the next 11-12 months is expected to be good. He will win when the economy is good, the stock market bouyant, people have jobs, and business is brisk. It is the economy, stupid.

    The Malays too must realise that they have to embrace globalisation before it consumes them. It is a flat, technology and information driven world where competition is the name of the game. To compete, the Malays build their own resilience and reduce their dependence on government. Government help always comes at a price of personal freedom. They know that now because Mahathir stayed in power by buying their loyalty with goodies and deals.

    They have to invest on their own resources in the education of their young. A knowledge economy depends on the quality of its people. The sooner they accept this reality the better it is for them and Malaysia. They must wake to the new realities and have faith in themselves. As a creative and passionate people, the Malays can do it if they have to; if they are challenged, not pampered, they are capable of competing and exceeding expectations. So far they have not been challenged.

    So Mr. Netto, isn’t the Pakatan Rakyat doing the same thing, that is, to up the stakes? PKR cannot survive under conditions of relative calm; it must go back to the streets as they only know how. They are a bunch of anarchists; stability and order are not in their lexicon. Sorry about that but that is the truth. Your response, please.

  2. Ahmadi, we will wait for Terence’s response. It should be an interesting rejoinder from him. In the meantime, we have commentators like Bean, Semper Fidelis, Tok Cik and others to deal with Netto’s piece. Let us get some mature debate on this UMNO on a war footing piece. Cheers.–Din Merican

  3. Since 2008, UMNO has been on a permanent campaign mode. Just like the Bush Administration was prior to Bush’s second term. This comes out directly out of Karl Rove’s Playbook. Karl Rove as you guys will remember was Bush’s political strategist.

    So what’s new??

  4. UMNO is like a cornered dog. UMNO is under siege not only from without but from within. There are so many factions that are unhappy with the state of affairs in UMNO. Some are unhappy because the fountain of easy wealth is drying up, others are unhappy because they have been sidelined. UMNO itself is suffering at the polls. Thus they try to find a distraction in the name of Anwar Ibrahim

    UMNO has tried almost everything in the books to regain the voters even going so far as “lu tolong wa, wa tolong lu, wa bagi cek RM 5 million hari Isnin” This has also failed. UMNO is careening out of control and will crash on its own. Najibur and Moydin find themselves at opposite side of the ring and each cornered by supporters who want more and more. But both have no more to give.

    UMNO tried to play with Perkasa and Ascot and got themselves burned not only by non Malays but the Malays themselves. The pulse of the rakyat is “enough is enough” Give us back our Malaysia. UMNO needs to prove that it is still valid and needed. Only way out is to take out the opposition and PKR is the weakest opposition. PKR is also made up of ex-UMNO members and so Najibur feels that these ex-members needed to be punished.

  5. This sabre rattling means only one thing – desperation. Umno is like a spoilt kid needing attention. But the only attention it gets is from the legion of ill-informed supporters who would go to the end of the world simply for some crumbs promised to them by the party’s chief honcho. My advice to them is don’t be fooled. The rakyat don’t buy the party’s rallying call. You can force the donkey to the water but you can force it to drink. That’s the analogy…

  6. Najib who?
    A victim of his own circumstance.
    A privileged towering Malay with ancestral roots in Makassar.
    A Womans Own addict.
    A one time carouser with his once upon a time good buddy Anwar.
    A brandisher of the fabled Taming Sari, except that his, was made of brass.
    A last minute switcher of sides, flanks and divisions.
    An avid proponent of sheep breeding in the tropics.
    A person who needed French translation when the whole commercial world spoke English.
    Enough lah, we deserve better.

  7. “You can force the donkey to the water but you can force it to drink. That’s the analogy…” Tok Cik

    Make up your mind Tok Cik. Is it can’t or ‘cunt’ (as in pronunciation)?

  8. The anal-ogy you are alluding to goes this way;

    “You can bring the horse to the water, but you cannot make it drink”

    Hence there are a lot of wateringholes in CT Kathy’s neck of the woods.

  9. Bean,

    Does anal-ogy also include the study of “gostan-ism”, i.e. the abrupt 180 degree change of policies that take 10 steps forward, then 12 steps backwards when all the howling starts? I thought the Americans were pretty good at ‘vectoring’, until all these brain dead “labs” sprung up for NKRAs and like. Some people call such places ivory towers ‘cuz they don’t live in the real world of blackened periok nasi – but they seem more like posterior workings of the semi-fluid kind.

    I think its time some “great leader” grabs the bull by the horns (or that spanish word again), and wrestle it to the ground. The present head honcho has to take care of his manicure and besides he’s like the proverbial little boy afraid of the hairy monster under the bed.

  10. Bean, the horses ,as you rightly alluded to Tok Cik, are drinking well in my neck of the woods. There is no need to force them, they are here and well taken care of.

    Just a matter of widening your forray thats all considering your watering hole has been shut?!.

    Whats with the CT anyway?

    It is strange ( or maybe not ) that coming up to election in any normal country, the Government and oppostions talk about policies and lay down the plan on how to woo states for votes . In Australia Gillard is already to announce a $50 billion helath care plan to woo South Australia to vote Labour.

    In Malaysia they are on the attack of the other party with no policies to convince the voters of their plans for the people.

    What sort of governance is this? On the attack of PR and Anwar? Havent the people had enough of this BS?

  11. Sorry, Bean. I mean can’t. Donkey, horse, mule, zebra, ass etc what difference does it make. Over in Bolehland when it concerns Umno anything goes.

  12. CT (short for Siti) Kathy,

    Without Emmie doing the pole, I have had to shut down my wateringhole for good. In fact she stole my idea of nyotaimori and has opened her own in nearby Calgary, just north of the border.

  13. Considering Umno is on a war footing ( what else is new in our world today?) and has NO policies to convince the voters to put them into power once again and is using Anwar and PR as a diversion ( how obvious is this?), you Bean should not be suing the same strategies to distract by using Emmie,the learned opposition.

    One hopes that the voters in Malaysia who are so educated and matured and well informed will this time not vote the same Government into power and would have ,by now enough of the same tired old songs being played over and over.

    Not that the opposition has proven at any time to be a force to be reckoned with. Have they come up with any policies that will strike at the heart of populace? Such as economic reforms, tax reforms for families, Office of the Ombudsmen for check and balances in Goverment administration and decisions, a firm commitment of Judicial independence once again?

    Are the people even demanding any policies and questioning the politicians on issues ? hard questions to which firm answers must be given.

  14. “Sorry, Bean. I mean can’t. Donkey, horse, mule, zebra, ass etc what difference does it make.” Tok CIk

    Difference there is! The camel gives us the hump and the camel toe. What does a donkey give us?

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