Everything has changed but UMNO

December 4, 2012

Everything has changed but UMNO

by Terence Netto@http://www.malaysiakini.com

UMNO no longer rules the roost in Malaysian politics. There was tearful lament among its delegates over this fact but no introspection over how this had come to be.-Terence Netto

COMMENT Everything has changed for UMNO, but nothing has changed within UMNO.It used to be that UMNO got what UMNO wanted. So powerful was the party, it was monarch of all it surveyed on the Malaysian political stage.

The gaudy theatre of the just-completed annual general assembly last week could not hide the salience of the new reality that UMNO no longer rules the roost in Malaysian politics. There was tearful lament among its delegates over this fact but no introspection over how this had come to be.

Rarely adept at self-scrutiny, it tried to outdo itself in projecting its fears: by excoriating the Opposition with invective and reassuring itself it enjoys divine sanction. In the process, it underscored the reality that the party has no new ideas of what to do to overcome the problem of its decline in popularity.

NONEYears of regurgitating clichés had brought it to the stage where it relies on a reflex, rather than a fresh idea in the face of new challenges.

Thus the Head of its women’s wing, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, conjured up the spectre of renewed racial riots – the May 13 bogey – when the national consensus is that the scab should not be peeled back to expose the wound of that incident in the collective memory.

Some incidents are too traumatic for recall and so the mere mention of them brings out the gooseflesh. UMNO’s boosters know this, which is why they trot out the memory of May 13 to cow voters supporting their opponents into subservience. But this time around, any violence that occurs after the vote in the 13th general election would not be inter-racial but intra-racial violence.

That’s a radical proposition, with those who conveniently elide this certainty exposing their attenuation from the reality that’s out there by the extent of their self-delusion about the race of probable enforcers and targets in any post-balloting flare-up.

But the biggest delusion of all is that UMNO thinks it can plausibly mount a good fight in an election when its President is clearly under duress from factions within its party, and that rival candidates can be whipped into acquiescent unanimity if they are not nominated to stand.

Murder that grows more curious with time

From the time of the last election in 2008, UMNO has struggled with its delusions, the principal one being that its urgent need for reform could be filled by a leader who, if reform’s logic were to be fulfilled, would be displaced by its thrust.

That it can’t do that was starkly exposed by ominous disclosures by operatives, timed for just before the party’s annual confab, peripherally embroiled in the saga that will never die – the Altantuya Shaarriibuu murder case of 2006.

altantuya razak baginda crime scene 180707 explainUnlike the May 13 incident, whose trauma renders its legatees catatonic, the murder of the Mongolian woman grows more and more curious with time.

Like Banquo’s ghost in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, it hovers over the parties with links to the personnel that have been indicted and found guilty for the deed.

It’s the proverbial hungry ghost that will not be appeased until the demands of justice in the case have been satisfied.

It has not been, which is why, like the puzzle of an unsolved crime, it comes back to haunt those with some connection to the details of the incident.

The difference between the most recent disclosures about the episode and previous ones is that more individuals on the periphery of the episode are tending to reveal how they got involved in its convoluted strands.

This tendency will keep the reel of disclosure spinning until the story on the periphery crumbles and collapses on its centre. Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold, was the sage observation of the poet WB Yeats.

The Irish bard was talking about cataclysmic events in Europe almost a century ago.His haunting lines do resonate with present times in our country that is poised on the verge of seismic change, against the backdrop of murder that continues to give off reverberations reaching high places.

Until the Altantuya murder gets its full reckoning, everything that has caused UMNO to be reduced from monarchs to plebeians of the political survey will not jolt it to turn things the other way round.

11 thoughts on “Everything has changed but UMNO

  1. This is a well written piece. The case of the brutal murder of a foreign national in 2006 simply refuses to go away. As Lady Macbeth said, “[H]ere’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh!” It is no wonder that Deepak the Carpet Dealer is now squealing over the affair. –Din Merican

  2. One of the way to compare and contrast is to compare say the Altantuya-Scorpene case Vs. Anwar’s Sodomy 2 case. Whereas even after Anwar’s trial, more and more details is still coming out about how flimsy the case was in the first place – EVEN more flimsy than the first case, whereas even before the Altantuya-Scorpene case goes to trial in France – mind you for corruption, not murder, we find more and more SHOCKING DETAILS of Abuses, of corruption is confirmed leading one to ask how SHOCKING IS THE REAL TRUTH??

    Its clear Najib has no moral standing to continue to lead this nation but he can because UMNO/BN don’t have any sort of standards anymore be it moral or governance itself. You can’t really organise and plan anything without some sort of standards – the end of money and power is the end all and be all.. You really have to respect procedures, standards of conduct and performance.

    But ultimately the reason why the farce continues is because Mahathir is the one who insist on it. He is the one propping up the regime with the political capital he has accumulated with a legion of weak minded political narcotics addicts. UMNO BN is a cartel dealing in political narcotics with Mahathir still as their Narco-Lord..

  3. One reason why UMNO continue to talk about May 13 and instilling fear of “being slaves in their own Malay land” is because many Malays, esp rural Malays, are still influenced by that constant reminder. UMNO continue to win many votes this way. Education of the masses should continue, inspite of the propaganda in mainstream media.

  4. rosiah, I really beg to differ. You see the rural Malays have not ever witnessed what exactly happened on 13th. May and could only about imagine what transpired, but, could never feel and witness incidents/happenings. Even K.L. folks, majority of them too had no first hand witness, so, how could you say they are constantly reminded? reminded of what? of something they have absolutely no comprehension of? If, on the other hand you mean they are constantly reminded of “being slaves in their own Malay land” it also doesn’t gel with May 13. Who are they slaves to, if not mamak kutty and his band of Umno pirates? and if they are now beggars intheir own land, huh? they got a promotion because beggars are free while slaves are chained? May 13 should just go down history as an isolated incident like a hit and run accident case and shelved. Its continous playing up is just political capital with expired shelf life.

  5. Still on this May 13 thing. As Dato Din has rightfully commented in one of his previous postings re- Sharizat’s Umno assembly speech, the Malays are not what they were 43 years ago.

    They are now more than in control of the economy, surpassing 30% even though Umno and Kutty continue to deny and insist that it is still less than 10% to continue to maintain the bastardized NEP (quote – Nazir Razak).

    Bumis own luxury cars (Kutty’s sons), luxury bungalows in prime areas, are captains in GLCs and listed companies, in fact owners of numerous listed companies.

    Put in Syed Mokhtar’s, Kutty’s children and cronies’ and other genuine bumi businesses listed and quoted in the KLSE and you will find that the % cannot be less than 50%.

    So what rubbish talk are they drumming up with repeat of May 13? Will Umno go to town to incite riots and civil commotion? to drive away investments? to crash the KLSE and reduce bumi shares/stockholdings to worthless pieces of paper? who stands to lose most?

    Robert Kuok has already moved base with hordes of other Chinese market players, so, what May 13 are they talking about?

    Without Syed Mokhtar’s OK they won’t dare.

  6. Excuse me, you all. Umno has changed.

    Dalam perhimpunan agung minggu lepas, takde lagi laungan Hidup Melayu. Sedih Mak Chik tengok. Umno tu parti Melayu untuk orang Melayu.

    Pasal nak please sangat bangsa macam Frank, takde lagi Hidup Melayu. Nak sangat jadi politically correct.

    Saya ingat kalau Chinese or Indians the majority race, you all takkan henti kata Hidup China, Hidup India.
    Tak begitu,

    Pak Din yang dimuliakan dan yang saya sayang Didi and Mr Bean????

    Makcik, bagaimana UMNO Sabah? Semua Melayu ke? Semua Islam ke?

  7. Makcik jangan sedih kalau tak de lagi laungan “Hidup Melayu” – sekarang “Hidup UMNO, Hidup BN & Hidup Malaysia” – this is a courageous & positive transformative change which reflects the inclusiveness of UMNO. This is a welcomed change for the better whereby UMNO, as the backbone of the BN, fights for the general interests not only for the Malays but for all Malaysians. Its party President has also repeated his recognition & acceptance that the time for those in power to claim to know all, is now history – he recognises that it is the rakyat who know better and the people in power must serve the rakyat’s needs. Note that UMNO has undergone changes in leadership too, 6 times over the decades, with Najib now at the helm bringing with him many new progressive ideas for his transformation policies. Compare that with the DAP & PAS, how many leadership changes have they made?
    Makcik, go back to the grassroots and tell them that the people, especially those outside UMNO but whose interests must also be served, don’t want representatives the likes of Sharizat who will not be a winning candidate. She may be the current leader of the UMNO Wanita whose support BN wants but tell your grassroots, the Wanita especially, that they must accept the necessary sacrifice from Sharizat for the good of your party which is to serve all Malaysians. Let’s see if you can do this.

  8. We all know the rich Malays are relatively small in number. The majority are still poor. These are the relevant voters. All I’m sharing is, many Malays I know, are still fearful that they may become “slaves in their own Malay land”. The spite and angry words of the dissatisfied non-Malays make us shudder (we read a lot of these in the internet ) – they seem so very vengeful – how will they rule the country once they have more say after GE13?

  9. This year I give very high marks for the manner in which the UMNO GA was presented. The Speeches were of high quality and the debate was very good with a touch of humor at the expense of the PKR. But they did not answer the thousands of questions that have been raised by the Citizens and the Main Stream Blogs.

  10. Of all the countries I’ve been to, I’ve never heard the people shouting “long live … (whites, blacks, Arabs, German, etc2). Only in Malaysia would people like makcik lament about people not shouting “hidup melayu”. What do you get from that? How bad are you really suffering from the inferiority complex?

  11. It is sad to acknowledge that the malays are still afraid of the non malay immigrants after so many years in power on their own land. The malays must not forget that the malay sultans were also responsible in bringing the non malay immigrants for many reasons mostly the economics. The chinese for example, bring with them the technology which benefit the nation and the natives.
    This is also the way that the ruling government bring quick wealth to the country i.e by bringing the foreign investors to make the investment with lots of incentives.
    Whether we like it or not, if the malays still have bad sentiments against China or India, the malay will find eventually find the land they love gets poorer since investments hardly come from other regions in this tumulted global economy.

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