UMNO – Dulu, Kini dan Selamanya (Yesterday, today and forever) ?

Barisan Nasional

Barisan Nasional

In the aftermath of the recently concluded PRU13, many an ‘expert’ opined that the time has come for Barisan Nasional (BN) to evolve or merge into becoming a single party, should it be wanting to stay ‘relevant’ and ‘in keeping with the times’.

This ‘in keeping with the times’ and wanting to stay ‘relevant’ comes despite the fact that the BN time-honoured practice of sharing power has worked all this while, keeping the different communities in Malaysia maybe not totally happy but certainly happy enough to continue voting BN in every edition of the general elections, including the recently concluded PRU13.

But as they say, ‘the magic word’ and ‘the magic phrase’ of today has been mentioned, and therefore its best to take heed of such opinions.

If the collective advice of the ‘experts’ were to be accepted and adopted, this would basically mean that ALL component parties of BN, parties whose existence and being lie in their claims to represent the different races and cultures in Malaysia as well as no less are those whose claim lie in their respective party’s proclamation to be multi racial, taking the necessary steps to dissolve themselves or merge themselves, with their members either absorbed en masse or have their membership transferred to a restructured and reconstituted BN.

Whatever or however the mechanism with respect to the membership may be, that is however not the primary and overriding issue. The primary and overriding issue is and will always be that whether the individual leadership and members of BN’s component parties agree to such a proposal?

But first and foremost, why was such a proposal, with some even calling it drastic, mooted? Afterall, did not BN won the recently concluded PRU13? Maybe not two-thirds but surely a comfortable enough simple majority, yes?

In the eyes of the Malaysian Election Commission (EC), yes. From the viewpoint of the Chinese-centric DAP (Democratic Action Party) and the Islamist political party, PAS, yes, with official announcements to such effect.

The Strange Bedfellows of PKR, DAP and PAS

The Strange Bedfellows of PKR, DAP and PAS

The only party that is not even close to accepting the results of PRU13 is PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat), whose overwhelming frustration at not winning PRU13 gave rise to an overpowering sense of loss and alleged injustice that claims of a rigged elections suddenly became the new party mantra, replacing ‘UBAH’ and ‘INI KALI LAH’, the party’s mantra during the run-up to the May 5th polling day.

Are these ‘experts’ saying just that because they are after all ‘experts’ and being ‘experts’, they are supposed to have an opinion? Or at the very least, say something sounding like an opinion, regardless of whether it makes sense or otherwise?

Or are these comments actually concerned comments coming from ‘experts’ who actually have the best interest of BN at heart? Or are these comments meant to throw the spanner into the works, the very works that are supposed to have BN start working to fulfil all the pledges as well as the commitments made, after the conclusion of PRU13?

It must be admitted by any political observer worth his salt (or hers, for that matter) that PRU13 did throw up some ‘pretty nice ones’, as they say. General consensus have it that the Chinese community voted almost en bloc for the DAP (opinions range from 80%-90%) and where the DAP did not contest, the same community presumably threw in their lot with DAP’s partners (in this election anyway), PKR and PAS. In other words, it can be also said that the Chinese community rejected BN, regardless of whatever that BN has been done for that particular community over the years.

This ‘conclusion’ being despite the constant denials of DAP and PKR. Say it often enough and I guess, over time, it will be accepted as the truth may be the operating maxim here. However, the silence of PAS on this issue is deafening. Did they notice something pre-, during and post PRU13 that they are slowly beginning to admit to themselves?

It was also noticeable that as the Chinese community voted almost en bloc for the DAP and to a lesser extent, PKR and PAS, so has the Malay and Bumiputera with their votes going BN’s way. Maybe not en bloc as with the Chinese votes but a significant majority nonetheless, as most opined.

It is also remarked that victories recorded by the PR alliance of the DAP, PKR and PAS were mainly in the urban areas and in the states that were under the control of the PR (namely Selangor, Pulau Pinang and Kelantan). With respect to the former, its PR’s way of saying that PR has the support of the masses in the cities.

The fact is also that BN too recorded victories in the urban areas, and in seats that BN did not win, the votes for BN also showed a marked increase especially from the Malays and Bumiputeras. But then again, hey, is anybody interested? And does this little bit of PRU13 trivia interest anyone?

With regards to the latter, very surprising that. I guess, one can only surmise that when it concerns the PR, they are allowed all the time in the world to fulfil whatever that is contained in their election manifesto. (So 25 years is not too long, after all especially in Kelantan. After all, patience is a virtue, is it not? And with a place in heaven to boot, why not?)

And as for pledges? Well, they are pledges and are just that – pledges. A pledge is a pledge. Nothing more and nothing less. As for fulfilling them, remember that patience is virtue.

It does make you wonder though. It would be safe to say if these pledges and commitments were contained in BN’s election manifesto and they were not fulfilled by the time the next general election, PRU14, comes along, BN would be nailed to the tree with its ‘failure’ there for all to see. It would also be not surprising that PR would be harping about it, even before PRU14 had even appeared on the far horizon. After all campaigning for PRU14 has already begun, if anyone care to look and observe.

There were also other observations made and other conclusions drawn fom the recently concluded PRU13. But that we leave it for another time.

From BN’s viewpoint, there were prominent casualties during PRU13, both tangible and intangible, racial relations notwithstanding. It must be said that BN’s biggest casualties happened to be also the parties most linked to the Chinese community, namely the MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association) and Gerakan (Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia), despite the latter proclaiming itself being a multi-racial party.

It must have hurt both parties pretty badly that their community rejected them so, so much so that their very existence is now being brought into question, especially the MCA.

But both MCA and Gerakan, as political parties, have had their ups and downs in the past and both have bounced back. This time should be no different, though it may take slightly longer than before.

No thanks to the so-called Red Bean Army (RBA)’s extensive use of social media to spread deceitful and malicious lies of misinformation and disinformation, designed to sow mistrust and distrust between the communities. And all these in between choosing which hair colour bleach or hair gel suits their hair best or surfing for the latest and the hottest in Taiwan fashion whilst chomping down these red-bean paste buns.

Somebody ought to knock it into their heads that life is not a video game. A new start just doesn’t come as easily by pressing the “START” key.

It can be safely said that the many years of hard work by our forefathers, regardless of whether they were Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban, Kadazan etc etc, to build and maintain good inter racial and inter religious relations as well as inter communal trust, have suffered a very major blow. One that can take generations to rebuild, for the question is, how do you rebuild trust?

The Flag of UMNO

The Flag of UMNO

As for UMNO, questions with regards to its continued existence is, as far as most, if not all, UMNO members are concerned, a non-issue.

UMNO were first founded to represent the interests of the Malays, in light of what was happening then, to the Malays due to the erosion and denial of rights affecting the identity and dignity of the Malays, especially after World War II. The struggle to re-claim what the Malays had lost and what the Malays will further lose became the meeting point of all like-minded Malays then, and thus UMNO was born.

What are the interests of the Malays, you may ask? Five words best represent UMNO’s ‘struggle’ and the philosophy behind UMNO’s struggle then and is today, still relevant.

‘DEMI AGAMA, BANGSA DAN NEGARA’, which can loosely translated as ‘For the Faith (Islamic that is), For the People and For the Country’. And so it has been, ever since UMNO was first founded and proclaimed its being to the world at Istana Besar, Johor Bahru on 11th May, 1946 and will remain so for so long as UMNO members hold true to the credo.

UMNO has since then evolved to include the Bumiputeras of Sabah, both Muslim and non-Muslim, and it is without doubt that UMNO will certainly continue to evolve over time.

But despite whatever UMNO’s detractors have said or may say or will say, despite UMNO’s underlying philosophy which has remained unchanged over the years, UMNO has never transgressed nor impinged on the rights of other races to practise their religious beliefs or acquire property and businesses.

The number of Chinese temples and clan houses as well as the Hindu kovils and the Sikh gurdawaras, churches (both Catholic and other denominations) sitting side by side with mosques and mushollas are testimony to that. That and the recognised fact that non-Malays and non-Bumiputeras effectively control more than 70% of the economic cake is another. Whether these businesses are listed on the stock exchange or not, it is beside the point.

It would be so easy for UMNO to attempt a grab for all that exists, businesses, properties, assets etc, if it so desired. However, that is not the path that UMNO has chosen.

SHARING is UMNO’s operative word here. Even power, as practised from the very first general election in 1955 to the most recent just concluded PRU13.

UMNO, with its proud history and ideals, has therefore no need to disband nor do its three million members want UMNO to be disbanded. Afterall, UMNO has always not only looked out for the rights of the Malays and Bumiputeras but the Malays and Bumiputeras also look to UMNO to protect and ensure the rights of the Malays and the Bumiputeras.

And when empowered and entrusted with power, UMNO looked out for the interests of all Malaysians as well, by sharing political power with other races to ensure that peace, prosperity and development reaches every nook and cranny of the country, for the benefit of the people.

In short, UMNO leads and protects not only the Malays and the Bumiputeras but also those who look to UMNO for leadership, guidance and well being. Some will wholeheartedly agree to these conclusion, whereas some will grudgingly agree and no doubt, some will vehemently oppose. But thats realpolitik ala Malaysia.

The UMNO Logo

The UMNO Logo

UMNO and by extension BN may not be perfect in every sense of the word but hey, what on this planet called Earth is? Thats what you have tweaking for. That and that six-letter word, ‘EFFORT’.

UMNO has done just that ever since it, together with MCA and MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress) won the very first general election in 1955 together as the ALLIANCE and will continue to do so, for so long as UMNO and its friends in BN is entrusted with that power to govern and manage the country.

Question is, can anybody else say that?


Date : 14 June 2013



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