Some 10 days before the recent UMNO General Assembly, the Deputy UMNO President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in his speech to 1,000 Barisan Nasional leaders in Pagoh that Malay support for UMNO had dwindled to 30 per cent when Malay support for UMNO over the years had always been above 50 per cent.
He warned that unless this warning signal to UMNO, in particular the unhappiness of the people over Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s twin mega scandals of the RM2.6 billion “donation” in his personal banking accounts before the 13th General Election and the RM55 billion 1MDB debts, is faced by the UMNO leadership, UMNO may be defeated in the 14th General Election in two years’ time.
This theme was taken up by the Perak Mufti, Harussani Zakarai who warned at the Regional Conference (Multaqa Serantau) for al-Azhar University alumni in Kuala Lumpur that Malays will lose their political power in about two years’ time if their leaders continue to fight against one another.
In an apparent reference to the 14th general election, Harussani called for the defence of Malay power in the country, saying the maintenance of that power would protect the position of Islam.
He said: “Malay leadership in this country must be defended because that’s where the strength of Islam lies.
“If the Malays are defeated, then Islam will too.”
There are two dangerous fallacies here.
Firstly, that the defeat of UMNO in the 14th General Election will result in Malay losing political power in country.
Secondly, the defeat of UMNO will result in the defeat of Islam in Malaysia.
Desperate, unscrupulous, unprincipled and unpatriotic politicians are going to spread these falsehoods in next 30 months, ratcheting them up in ever-growing intensity with the approach of the 14GE Polling Day, to foment fear and hatred among the electorate in order to avert the electoral defeat of UMNO in the 14GE.
The electoral defeat of UMNO is a given, not whether UMNO would be rejected by voters in the ballot boxes but when!
In fact, if the electoral system had been really “one man, one vote, one value”, UMNO would now be in the Opposition benches and the Prime Minister today would be Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and not Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and the country would have been spared the catalogue of political and socio-economic scandals plaguing the country, including Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal; the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal; a Prime Minister being investigated by seven separate countries on corruption and money laundering, and in particular by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and US Department of Justice whether he is a “kleptocrat”; the devaluation of the Malaysian ringgit; the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) adding to the hardships of low-income Malaysians already sandwiched between rising cost of living and falling incomes; and horror of horrors, the National Security Council Bill which usurps the constitutional powers of the Yang di Pertuan Agong on the proclamation of an emergency, the Cabinet and 13 State Governments.
So far, nobody in UMNO and its propaganda apparatus has been able to give a decent reply to the question asked by National Laureate Pak Samad as to how Malays would lose political power if UMNO is defeated in a general election.
Pak Samad had found it odd that the Malay community are obsessed over the loss of power to the country’s other minority groups if UMNO loses control of Putrajaya, and how the Malays and Islam could be under threat, and asked:
“How are Malays under threat? How can religion (Islam) and Malays be threatened when those in power have been Malays for over five decades?
“What have they (Malay leaders) been doing for five decades (if Malays can be under threat)?”
The demographics in the country is the surest guarantee that the Malays will not lose political power whatever happens to UMNO in the next general election.
In 1970 Malaysia’s population was made up of 44.32% Malays, 34.34% Chinese, 8.99% Indians, 11.89% non-Malay Bumiputeras, 0.67% others.
In 2010, the percentage of Malays increased to 55.07%, Chinese reduced to 24.34%, Indians dropped to 7.35%, non-Malay Bumiputeras maintained at 11.94% and 1.3% others.
During the 13th general election, 52.63% of the voters were Malays, 29.68% Chinese, 7.31% Indians, 8.96% non-Malay Bumiputeras and 1.43% others.
Out of the 165 Parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia, 114 are Malay majority seats, 22 Chinese majority seats and 29 mixed seats. There is not a single Indian majority seat.
Is Harussani suggesting that if UMNO loses in the 14GE, it would be possible for the new Malaysian Government in Putrajaya to ensure the Chinese capture political power by increasing the present 22 Chinese-majority seats to over 83 seats as to constitute a majority of the total of 165 seats in Peninsular Malaysia?
No magician can perform this impossible feat. In fact, the trend is the opposite with fewer than 22 Chinese-majority seats in the coming years because of the demographic realities and declining Chinese population in the country.
If Pakatan Harapan succeeds in winning Putrajaya in the 14GE, one of its top priorities will be to do better than UMNO/BN to look after the rights and interests of all Malaysians, including Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Kadazans and Orang Asli as we do not want to be a one-term Federal Government but to have the confidence and support of the Malaysian electorate to continue to enjoy the mandate in Putrajaya in the subsequent general elections.
The Pakatan Harapan Federal Government will compete with UMNO and Barisan Nasional to have a better record in upholding the fundamental features of the Malaysian Constitute and looking after the rights and interests of all Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Kadazans, Orang Asli and the question of Malays or any community losing political rights, or Malays and Islam under threat, will not arise.
Pakatan Harapan will ensure that the defeat of UMNO will not be a threat or disaster for Malays or Islam, or for that matter, for any race or religion in the country.
Will UMNO’s electoral loss in the 14 GE be such an unmitigated disaster than it will end in UMNO’s demise.
I do not believe so. I do not believe UMNO is in such a terminal stage of political cancer that it will die and can never recover if it loses the 14GE.
Other countries in the world provide examples of the resilience of ruling parties which had dominated their nation’s political scenes for decades but who could still spring back to relevance and importance after the shock of their first electoral defeat and rejection in n the ballot boxes.
In fact, it will be good for the soul of UMNO to be defeated in 14GE – as it is the only way for UMNO to get rid of corrupt leaders and to reform to be politically relevant again like what had been experienced by Indian National Congress, Taiwan’s Kuomintang and Japanese Liberal Democratic parties.
(Speech at the “Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang & Mana RM2.6 billion?” ceramah kopitiam in Hutang Melintang on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015 at 6 pm)