All eyes were on the Umno party elections yesterday for indications whether the government and country will continue to be haunted, as in the half-year since the General Elections, by the politics of hate and lies projecting the completely false image that Malays and Islam are under siege or whether the government and country will be able to set off on a new trajectory of nation building and development.
Former Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam played the race card to the hilt in the Umno party elections, continuing to indulge in Chinese-bashing for his defeat in the Malay-majority Bukit Katil parliamentary seat in Malacca, oblivious to the fact that he would not have lost in the May general elections if he had not also lost the support of the Malay voters in his constituency.
Is Ali going to blame the Chinese again for his loss in the Umno Vice President contest yesterday, where even the overwhelming majority of the Umno divisions in his Malacca state did not vote for him?
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir was equally irresponsible, ruthless and reckless in playing the race card, reiterating the preposterous allegations and lies since his failed attempt to racialise the Gelang Patah battle in the 13th General Elections that the Chinese in Malaysia were out to oust the political power of the Malays and dominate Malaysian politics.
But the Umno party elections yesterday is further confirmation that Mahathir’s aura and magic have been on an unchecked decline, not only among the Malaysian and Malay public from his 13th general elections campaigns in Gelang Patah, Shah Alam and Pasir Mas but also inside UMNO.
For some six months since the 13th General Elections on May 5, 2013, the government and country has been adrift, even regressing on many fronts on the various national transformation programmes pledged by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak – whether 1Malaysia Policy based on the concept of fairness to all; Government Transformation Programme to achieve an incorrupt, accountable and transparent governance; New Economic Model with a needs-and-merit based affirmative programme to uplift the quality of life of the low-income 40% of the households regardless of ethnic groups or backtracking on pledges to remove from the statute books oppressive legislation like detention-without-trial laws.
Malaysia should now move forward to end the half-year of drift and even regression from May 5 to Oct 19 to forge national reconciliation to build a united, inclusive, competitive and prosperous Malaysia for all Malaysians.
Pakatan Rakyat is prepared to fully co-operate with Najib and Barisan Nasional government in this national challenge – but has Najib and his government the political will, capacity and power to rise up to the occasion?