Umno and its coalition BN have yet to learn their lessons
pic MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
ONCE the smoke clears, it is evident that the 15th General Election (GE15) biggest winners yet — against the backdrop of a hung parliament and power jostling — are the parties of two spectrums, Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) and Democratic Action Party (DAP).
In the preceding era, both would’ve been referred to as the “parties of two extremes” but we shall not use such derogatory term as labellings, as we’ve learned within the past decade or so, is itself an act of extremism propaganda and would conveniently bound to be abandoned at the first convenience of the accuser’s interest.
PAS won 49 parliamentarian seats — the single largest share by a single political party in GE15 — to form the majority (67%) of Perikatan Nasional’s coalition win of 73 seats. DAP won 40 seats, also the majority or 48.8% of Pakatan Harapan’s 82 seats.
Both are riding high, sitting atop the negotiating table as royalties, in their respective coalitions’ jostling for power-sharing with other parties, as they have the numbers but their respective partners, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and PKR, are doing the talking.
It’s a comforting view, actually, since despite their dominance in their realms of the rural and the urban electorates, PAS and DAP are graceful in their victory and letting both Bersatu and PKR to lead.
It’s a sign of moderation, and also a sign of acceptance that they are aware of the wishes of Malaysia — that there is no place for extremism and that her citizens demand moderation.
It’s the key to stability and balance that the country has been yearning for since the electorates started toying against the perpetuity of Umno-Barisan Nasional (BN) dominance in GE12. Both electorates and politicos, have come together a long way to eventually arrive at the political maturity that is shown in the run-up and subsequent to GE15.
Knocked off its pedestal in GE14, Umno and its coalition BN have yet to learn their lessons, and instead had wrapped themselves around an invisible wall of denial.
Controversies around the president and former president aside, Umno is a lost cause for the new generation Malays it’s supposed to represent. The Malays do not condone corruption, and one president’s incarceration is not going to change their perception since the party itself failed and refused to expunge itself off the abhorred scourge.
The voters’ rejection of BN as a coalition in GE14 is not an act of protest either. It was an act of despise, and GE15 showed their intent as both the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and Malaysian Indian Association (MIC) had maintained their unbelievably lame performance from GE14 too, barely keeping their pathetic duo and single parliamentary seats respectively.
Call it blindsided or blame it on a false sense of comfort, the fact remains that there was no attempt made by BN, in the run-up to GE15, to engage other races as a coalition partner, at all. Revamp is clearly not an exclusive necessity for Umno, but for both MCA and MIC as well.
Without any reform and at their current rate of showing, both might as well be driven to extinction by the next GE.
Asuki Abas is the editor at The Malaysian Reserve.
- This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition