Umno trapped in its own game?

Unless the leaders are willing to break the deadlock. The question is, will they?


IT HAS been three days since Umno concluded its general assembly. All eyes are now on the Malay dominant party and its next move, as it pledged to break away from the Perikatan Nasional government, albeit with a caveat: Until the Parliament is dissolved.

However, to normal spectators, the party’s resolution carries no weight if the leaders are not willing to walk their talk.

For supporters and detractors alike, the main question is, why should Umno wait?

As it is, the calls for Umno Cabinet members to vacate their posts are getting louder from within and outside the party.

Former Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz had even challenged these ministers to not be “cowards” and quit now. The same remarks were made by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof a day earlier.

Interestingly, only a few of Umno ministers have stated their readiness to do so. Pasir Salak MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman was apparently adamant to remain in his post as the Prasarana Malaysia Bhd chairman until the Dewan Rakyat’s dissolution.

They have been gung-ho about severing ties with Bersatu, so it makes no sense to remain in the government at this point.

There were lame attempts of using “managing the pandemic” to justify the decision “to keep the government intact”. Malaysia needs a properly-run government to manage Covid-19 and economic recovery, some would say.

But honestly, what kind of functioning administration is this? Are the Cabinet ministers actually speaking to each other on issues that matter?

Or are they merely hanging on until Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin decides to call the shots? What kind of leadership does these leaders actually choose to display to the people?

More importantly, are the ministerial government-link companies’ perks too good to let go for Umno ministers that they are willing to backtrack on the party’s stance?

Were the war cry and fiery speeches on Sunday only served as rhetorics? Maybe, only the party leaders have the answers to these. What seems more obvious is the fact that the party is now getting more divided than ever.

It is public knowledge that Umno is now split into various clusters, a fact acknowledged by party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in his speech last week.

Muhyiddin, at this rate, as analysts predicted, would have been immune to these threats. He knows that the ball is in Umno’s court to actually prove their words.

It remains to be seen who actually calls the shots in Umno. If Ahmad Zahid’s calls are left unheeded, it speaks volumes of the leaders’ perception of his leadership.

At the same time, the grassroots members would not be too forgiving towards ministers who are cosying up to Bersatu leadership that they have branded as traitors.

This puts Umno and its leaders in a catch-22 situation. The party has been issuing threats every other month that they have lost significance as days go by.

The party seems to be trapped in its own game. Unless the leaders are willing to break the deadlock.

The question is, will they?

  • Azreen Hani is the online news editor of The Malaysian Reserve.