UMNO abandons its former liberal base

September 2, 2016

UMNO abandons its former liberal base

by Hafidz Baharom

Image result for najib and rani kulup

It is a handicap, just like in golf. And thus given time, it will need to be removed.This was the mindset in slowly removing the Bumiputera crutch. Unfortunately, it became too politically popular among the Malays as a way to win votes that it was maintained even at the cost of leaving the poor of other races to be taken care of by their respective race-based parties.

However, I’m sure it is evident in UMNO and even its allies the MIC and MCA, that this race-based strategy can no longer appease their respective supporters.

Truth is, the younger generation are no longer limited by race, especially in the urban areas. As such, urban affluent Malays – upper and middle classes – and other races will continue to be driven away by race-based policies and political talk with racial overtones.

To this end, we now see more urbanite youths joining political parties that are diverse – PKR and DAP being the two obvious ones.

As such, all UMNO can do is resort to name calling, going so far as to call the Malays joining the DAP as traitors to their own race. It is actually the opposite.

Image result for Mat Rempits

Mat Rempits: UMNO’s new constituency

To paraphrase multiple international politicians including the UK’s youngest MP Mhairi Black, the Malays did not abandon UMNO, UMNO sold Malay dignity and abandoned the Malays.

In their quest to appease their voter base, UMNO decided to abandon their former liberal base in order to counter the growing conservative factions that support PAS. We have seen how this has become their legislative agenda as well as their continued support of religious authorities regardless of how ridiculous those authorities may be.

Image result for the Malays

The new UMNO Malay

In order to appease the poor rural Malays, they abandoned the urban Malays by letting the urban poor fend for themselves against the higher cost of living. This is obvious in the poorly constructed, wasteful  and corrupting welfare programme of Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia or BR1M.

UMNO was willing to reveal to the Malays that it would cater to the ridiculous, unlawful actions of some, to keep themselves in power – street races for Mat Rempits, abandoning the homeless by a highway. These made the Malays, especially the ones that the government themselves manage to educate right through tertiary education, to question what the heck was going on.

Image result for pekida

The Real Najib –The Racist

At the same time, the government no longer controlled the source of information flowing out to the public – the Internet allows Malays, many with the ability to read websites in either English or Bahasa Melayu, to come to their own conclusions.

Subsequently, those who are reading such articles are able to share their thoughts on social media to become influencers.

On top of all this, is the issue of age. The median age for Malaysians is now 28.5 years old. Thus, what exactly is UMNO doing to cater to the needs and wants of a 28.5-year-old Malaysian who has a global viewpoint? This is a question that all political parties must ask themselves.

Image result for UMNO leaders as Arabs

Teiku Adnan and Zahid Hamidi –UMNO Leaders of the Najib Era

There is no longer an issue of Malays versus the Chinese and Indians, the Low Yat Plaza incident was further proof of that. You had a Malay youth junkie robbing a smartphone vendor, and UMNO’s reaction was to create an exclusive Malay marketplace. Because somewhere in the twisted mind of UMNO, the Malays won’t cheat the Malays. Instead of looking at why a youth became a drug addict, or even why he needed to rob a smartphone store rather than buy one himself – an issue of cost leading to crime, no doubt – UMNO found it necessary to use the imperial old strategy of divide and rule instead.

The Malays are now diverse, and to cater to it, UMNO itself has become schizophrenic. They banned a concert in Sepang targeting youths while their president’s son went and stole the spotlight from an international DJ in Zouk Singapore.

They say criminals should be punished, and yet willingly give Mat Rempits the streets of KL to race. The bottom line is this – the Malays are not sheep nor stupid, not all of them at least. And thus, there are Malays who believe in the need for targeted affirmative action based on income groups instead of the entire race including the Datuks, Datuk Seris, Tan Sris and Tuns in the mix.

Similarly, there are Malays who are liberal, there are those who are conservative, there are those who read articles in the Wall Street Journal while others limit themselves purely to Harian Metro. UMNO has failed to cater to this diversity. And as such, their loss is everyone else’s gain.


5 thoughts on “UMNO abandons its former liberal base

  1. Its a college level argument that is uncovincing of its projection. UMNO ideology is problematic BUT UMNO especially the current and future leaders political machining are primal, predatory, brutal – they do not just stack the odds against their opponent, they stack it so they can have more odds if the odds change.

    The Malays are getting more diverse which makes it harder for anyone especially the opposition to bring them together. UMNO can keep getting a majority seat so long they can cheat, buy and control just a significant minority while dividing the opposition. No matter how diverse the Malay get, so long as Islam does not have global reformation, guarantees that UMNO will control enough significant majority.. Can Malay lead in Islamic reformation? Otherwise, then, the theory of changing Malay will change the politics does not hold.

  2. UMNO Baru had a “liberal base” in the past ?? (!!)

    Liberalism = a political ideology that emphasises the rights of individuals and believes in limiting the power of the State.

  3. Dr Phua:
    Liberalism = a political ideology that emphasises the rights of individuals and believes in limiting the power of the State ? (!!) 😛

    That is American Republicanism. Hopefully, that is not all Liberalism is all about.

  4. Dr Phua,

    I like the above frank recent write-up from Ecnomist in that we are not afraid to admit what we don’t know about liberalism. I definitely agree with you. Malaysia has never dabble into liberalism. Even for as progressive an ideal as NEP (i.e. focus on building a more equitable bigger pie), NEP carries so much grudge. It is all about continuing the raw ugly truth of grabbing a bigger piece for oneself that began with a pogrom in 1969, in which no one in my generation wants to face up to the reality, and work on a different ideal based on a cathartic spirit from the painful 1969 experience. Given that didn’t take place, neither will we wake up from this 1MDB fiasco.

    In any case, I don’t see DAP as a liberal force either. Since when I came to my realization of what is happening around me, I have always found DAP to be a reactionary force, but never a movement with a soul to ‘just’ help the least. Else, in more recent past, DAP would have no reason to shun Hindraf.

    More recently, I actually think the last sermon by the Prophet carries a strong liberal ideal also. Nonetheless, it never took place in DAP. Of course, it would never took place in UMNO. The so-called ‘Islamic Finance’ which both DSAI and UMNOb wants to herald is the cure for the world, is at best a most irresponsible act to sweep all squandering into an unaccounted for sovereign debt. To say that there is no riba in the current practice of ‘Islamic Finance’ is almost suggesting to the world that there is no wrong doing within 1MDB.

    On the teachings of the Prophet’s last sermon, I don’t know see it in UMNO, nor do I see it in Harapan, not to mention Bersatu. I don’t know even a hint of will in either alliance to want to understand more about that ideal.

    I like this write-up on Liberalism also which quoted John Rawls. that I copied from

    Liberals follow The Theory of Justice from the American philosopher John Rawls. He demonstrated that people are able to combine freedom and justice in a rational way. In order to come to an effective social justice Rawls uses a thought experiment. He starts from an initial position whereby people find themselves hidden under a veil of ignorance. He asks everyone to try and imagine how he would see social cooperation and distribution of means if he were to find himself in an original position not knowing whether he is rich or poor, black or white, man or woman, healthy or ailing, etc. Following this train of thought man will always take into account the potential situation in which he will necessarily have to appeal to the support of others. Freedom and justice are the keywords in liberal thinking. In his book The Law of Peoples John Rawls extends the idea of a social contract to the Society of Peoples and lays out the general principles that can and should be accepted by societies as the standard for regulating their behavior toward one another. So we come to liberalism as the best Cure fot Poverty.

    But before and beyond John Rawls’ veil, we Malaysians need to ‘grok’. But, do we really ‘grok’?

    @CLF ‘grok’ is the new happy term I came to realize after taking anti-depressant drug. @groksayang!

  5. Being a dominant political party and holding power for more than half a century, to constantly resort to narrow, divisive and damaging politics of race and religion for support speaks volume of a political bankrupt party and their partners.

    Fear of losing power and grossly misguided, the abuse of power by lawless and criminal politicians is rampant.

    Power given to the ‘ politicians ‘ by the ordinary people must be used for the good of all, it must be gracious and fair.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s