December 1, 2016
UMNO’s past, present and future
UMNO have adopted a number of radical measures that has destroyed the spirit of consultation with component parties that BN had preserved for 6 decades.
With the spirit of democracy and rule of law retrogressing, the country’s international reputation suffering a major setback and under the gloom of a sluggish economy, UMNO’s General Assembly this week is set to be immersed in a much worse atmosphere than a year ago when the RM2.6 billion political donation scandal first came to light.
IN 2015, UMNO had yet to sack Muhyiddin Yassin while former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had not to set up his own party. UMNO today is in a much more difficult situation.
The party has been established for seven decades now, and in the past, even in the face of any major crisis, the party would never abandon the urban and middle voters or antagonize civil society. Moreover, the party’s past leaders never condoned violence and thuggery.
UMNO was strongly against PAS, and the delegates would hit out hard at the Islamist party. But today, these two parties are working together and the focus of this year’s debates is expected to be “grand unity for the Malays and Muslims”.
This year’s assembly is expected to target its firepower at Mahathir because of his betrayal of UMNO.
That said, the “political legacy” left behind by Mahathir is still very much enjoyed by UMNO today. The party’s dilemma today could be attributed to a host of historical and political cultural factors, and everyone from top down is culpable.
Some say UMNO has become so powerful that BN– MCA, MIC, Gerakan and others– itself is being marginalized, and racism appears to be the natural political pathway for the coalition party should take.
This is because racist politics in the very end can only rely on an insecure base for survival , betraying the principles of democracy and alienating tself from civil society, and in so doing putting the country into a real mess.
As the backbone of the BN administration, UMNO. The party must take the initiative to deal steadfastly with the brewing political, economic and democratic crisis, not perpetuate it. Unfortunately, the party is now slanting, and UMNO members need to save it first before it can take on the challenges ahead and lead the nation.
Undeniably, as the 1MDB and MO1 issues get increasingly heated up, the BN mechanism has already been rendered irrelevant.
Take the RUU355 to expand the jurisdiction of shariah courts for example. UMNO leaders never consulted its component parties before giving PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang the green light table his private bill in May.
To hold on to power, UMNO has decided to adopt a number of radical measures that have destroyed the spirit of consultation and cooperation that BN had preserved for so many decades, thereby dwelling a severe blow to the country’s moderate image.
Members of BN’s component parties are unhappy with what’s taking place under their noses, and this does not augur well for a united BN to face the upcoming general election.
UMNO’s fortress is the vast rural Malay hinterland while other BN component parties must still face urban and young voters. The detention of BERSIH 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah under the Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) has dealt a fatal blow on the electoral prospects of other BN component parties. Economic hardship in the coming year, on the other hand, could undermine the party’s hold on the rural Malays and the other marginalized folks in Sabah and Sarawak.
Without changing its style of governance and restricting its members’ out-of-control actions, UMNO is poised to put itself in a very precarious position.
UMNO’s cooperation with PAS is also a highly risky game because this will only radicalize the Malay Muslims. In the long run, UMNO itself will be playing the PAS tune.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has said that out of 687 tertiary students interviewed, some 133 or 19.5% subscribe to the philosophy of Islamic State.
As a matter of fact, UMNO must adhere to the Islam Hadhari concept of former PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in order to stem the advances of Islamic radicalism.
On the economic front, owing to the resistance from the party’s right wing, it is getting increasingly difficult for PM Najib to push ahead its NEM and economic transformation agendas. The economy will only slide further in the absence of new policies, reforms and liberalisation. The dramatic fall of the ringgit now should set off the alarm bells, too.
We cannot wrap ourselves inside the cocoon of antiquated thinking if we as a nation want to move forward. An example is the refusal by the Federation of Peninsula Malay Students (GPMS) to recognise the UEC certificate. Our competitiveness can only be lifted if all our talented people are accepted into the mainstay of this country irrespective of race and religion.