UPDATE 10.15pm : Blogger Saga Merah wrote an interesting article here. It asked questions which I am sure Chua Soi Lek and the rest of the chinese community leaders will find it hard to answer. Please share your opinion there.
There are talks that the Prime Minister, Dato Sri Najib Tun Razak will give the most watered down speech in the history of Umno General Assembly.
He disguised this with a new term which he calls the ‘New Political Model’.
He has instructed all the Umno wings and Umno representative speakers not to use a hardline approach in this year’s assembly.
This year we shall see an Umno assembly which is devoid of any keris thrusting or fiery speeches made by attention seekers.
Come to think of it, as far as I remember, the only time a keris was used as a prop for a speaker at the rostrum was back in 2006 when Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein tried to show the world that he has enough gumption and manliness to wade through any challenges towards Umno leadership. What a tough man he was (is?).
That was when Umno thought they can be popular forever.
That was when pride grew to become arrogance and conceitedness.
There are talks however that Najib will extend conciliatory effort in appeasing the public a little bit more, especially towards the community MCA is trying to woo. This is where risks of further alienating himself from the source of his political power will become more prominent.
These days, two other main components in Barisan Nasional had taken a strong approach in rebuking Umno out in the open.
In their party conventions, MCA has no qualms in stating that they will disagree with Umno from time to time especially when it is concerning the chinese.
MCA is doing what a communal party would do. That is understandable. Gone were the days when collective responsibility and tolerance were the founding principles of Barisan Nasional’s administrative policy.
MCA is asking this and that to appease their community. Naturally, MIC as a party struggling for the benefit of indians is also demanding something from the government.
Although both MCA and MIC are not in the position to demand anything due to the fact that, after the 12th general elections, their powerbase had become so small, that it defies logic should they want to ask for more.
If you are not in the position to negotiate anything more, what else can you bring to the table for the whole group i.e., Barisan Nasional?
Cannibalising the group for the sake of vague, future profits is not a good strategy at all for the whole group.
Can MCA and MIC guarantee votes from the chinese and indians in the next general election? Only the most optimistic person on earth can give such guarantees.
This is where Umno clearly do not understand its role as a member of the Barisan Nasional party.
If Umno do not want to lose further support from its powerbase, taking a hardline approach is needed.
Let’s look at the spirit of this coalition. It started as The Alliance of three main parties pre-Merdeka which were Umno, MCA and MIC.
Each one of them represented the community. The letter ‘M’ in Umno stood for ‘Malay’, the letter ‘C’ in MCA stood for chinese while the letter ‘I’ in MIC stood for indian.
Each of this party will demand concessions and benefits that will improve their community. They will ask for the sky in their own party meetings.
All these demands in the form of party resolutions will be thrashed out in The Alliance’s weekly or monthly meetings. It became the Barisan Nasional monthly meetings after 1973.
All the racial resolutions and demands will be discussed, sorted and deliberated in these meetings. It is a tried and tested formula.
Your party will do all the posturings but it is Barisan Nasional who will have the final say. This is what we call collective responsibility and accountability.
Nowadays, the presidents of other parties besides Umno treat themselves as if they are not part of Barisan Nasional and not having collective responsibility altogether. Worse, they do not feel accountable to all the decisions made by Barisan Nasional.
Bear in mind. Umno is not the only party in Barisan Nasional. What on earth do you guys talk or do in Barisan Nasional monthly meetings?
If Umno became the only party who do not wish to present themselves as the fighter for the Malay’s cause IN ITS OWN general assembly, then like I said earlier, it will further alienate the Malays in the near future. It has failed to embrace the Demi Agama, Bangsa and Negara motto they had cradled so close to their hearts all this while.
Even PBB in East Malaysia will look after their community first. Is Umno ashamed to take up the mantle of thinking about its people first?
Yes Umno is allowed to talk about the Malays in their general assembly. Yes, they are allowed to talk about the fate of 16 million malays in this country. But talk in a sensible manner. Not like the ones we see in 2006. No keris is needed to deliver a point.
Barisan Nasional is there to water down any demands from all communities. Everything is held behind closed doors. Angry proposals, dire threats, tough negotiations are to be made behind this closed doors. But once a decision is made, everyone will stick to it with open hearts and a smile on their faces.
You then will have a strong coalition and importantly, a credible one.
What we see now is the breakdown of leadership in Umno. A weak leader going the wrong way of the spectrum trying to diffuse the rant and tantrums of a weaker partner in the coalition.
Is this the way forward? Bending over backwards to satisfy the demands from weak parties that won’t necessarily translate into votes?
No more. Umno leaders must show they have a backbone. The annual assembly is the place to affirm their raison d’etre. Tell the Malays that Umno will always memperjuangkan nasib Melayu.
And back it up with actions.
The delegates can demand anything they wishes. No holding back. Show to the Malays that Umno, amidst the onslaught from racists and agents of disunity, have huge reservoir of Malay spirit left within the party.
Question, if other parties within Barisan Nasional are looking after their own communities first, should Umno lose focus and become more inclusive towards other races?
If the answer is yes, will the people now acknowledge the fact that Umno is indeed seen as the leading party in Malaysia? And if they are the leading party, should they be given the clear mandate to rule the political landscape?
I find it odd that people often asked Umno to be more multiracial in its approach but said nothing when other parties time and time again would take up issues that belong to their own race only.
Umno must never lose sight of their struggle. If they are too soft in their stance on the challenges facing the malays, they may be left alone going towards the next general election.
Therefore, one just have to ask, is Umno’s current endeavour a misplaced struggle?
As usual, I am open for discussion. Thank you.