UMNO General Assembly: Beating the drums for another May 13

Dr. Lim Teck Ghee
6th Dec 2011


The UMNO General Assembly has come and gone. Most political observers had expected it to be the usual rah-rah event aimed at rallying UMNO members ahead of the coming elections and in support of the leadership of Najib Razak, the party president. They were right. The public were subject to yet another spectacle of sound and fury on how important the party is to the future of Malays, albeit with the occasional reminder of how indispensable the party is to the well being of all the citizens of the country.

Optimistic observers who had hoped that the party would live up to its rhetoric of being a mature and transformed party of moderation – at least for the duration of this publicly viewed occasion – were disappointed. The collective breast beating led by the party president and deputy president – on the greatness and goodness of the party compared with the weaknesses and evilness of the opposition – was quite unprecedented in the history of the party’s general assemblies.

The attacks against PAS, PKR and especially the DAP during the meeting have only just begun. Can we expect it to continue with greater viciousness and spitefulness as UMNO leaders fan out into the grassroots to campaign in the next few months leading to the elections? What should be of concern is not just the running down and bad mouthing of the opposition. This has been the norm in past assemblies, especially those leading up to the elections. What is new and unexpected is the vitriol and venom directed openly and without inhibition at opposition parties and their leaders.

In many speeches made at the assembly, there appears a concerted attempt at inciting racial and religious emotions and issues and exploiting Malay insecurities with imagined and wildly exaggerated threats of the looming new dawn of non-Malay and Christian dominance for Malaysia should the party fail to win the coming elections. The many socio-economic and political challenges facing the community and nation – many arising from bad governance, abuse of power, and corrupt practices practiced or condoned by the party and its coalition partners during the decades of Barisan rule – received little mention or attention.

UMNO’s Ultimate Game Changer

The question which arises now is whether the party is laying the ground work – deliberately or inadvertently – for the game-changing political development sought after by hard line UMNO leaders in case the coming election results do not go UMNO’s way. This game changer is a repetition of the 1969 May 13 racial riots.

In his opening address to the assembly, it is notable that amongst the developments listed by the Prime Minister, Najib Razak as influencing the party he referred to the 1969 racial riots as one of the party’s eleven game changers in its past and current history. What is regrettable is the way in which he appears to condone the racial violence that resulted in authoritarian rule and the suspension of Parliament, and pins the blame for this darkest event in our history squarely on the opposition.

“Let us never be negligent because there are some among the opposition leaders who are stoking flames and slogans to belittle the Malays so that there will be a 13th May”.

The PM as the responsible leader of our nation must clarify this statement and allay the anxieties and fears of our citizenry and voters on the possible recurrence of racial violence. He and his Deputy President must never give the impression to Malaysians and to UMNO supporters especially that they are seeking to fan or are condoning extremist sentiments in any way whatsoever.

The oblique warning by the prime minister that there is a possibility of another recurrence of racial violence may not have been apparent to political analysts, drowned by the assembly proceedings and verbiage. However, that this potential game changing option is being contemplated in high circles is beyond doubt.

May 13 was sparked off as a result of election results in which the opposition parties denied the UMNO-led Alliance their customary two-thirds majority in Parliament. Should the coming election fail to deliver the expected victory for UMNO, are we to expect hard-line UMNO leaders to resist the handing over of power peacefully and to agitate for power by other means?

Ominously, the scapegoat for any new outbreak of racial and religious violence has already been identified – not UMNO extremists but those on the other side of the political fence.

Besides being alerted to UMNO’s and the BN’s efforts to cling to power through well honed electoral manipulation (especially through massive gerrymandering and mal-apportionment in constituency electoral numbers) and using a combination of divide and rule racial and religious strategies as well as the buying up and harassment of the political opposition, it is important that the public – Malays and non-Malays – pay attention to – but are not intimidated by or co-opted into any attempted deployment of this ultimate game changing solution to the loss of political power. Neither should the public be confused or taken in by the spinning on who are the patriots and who are disloyal to the country.

Fascistic elements in UMNO (as well as various support elite groups in key institutions) will push the line that the best way to deal with the political challenges confronting the party and failure to win the coming elections is to declare emergency rule and to suspend the democratic process. A return to authoritarian rule a-la the period immediately after the May 13 racial unrest can then be justified in terms of preserving national unity, security and harmony and the thwarting of the enemies of the Malays and Islam. In reality, it will amount to an UMNO led coup and a major setback in the country’s evolution to a normal democratic system.

It is hoped that wise and responsible leadership will prevail in the campaigning during the coming elections. All of us will be losers if the irrational logic and ferocity of the UMNO meeting is unleashed on the country in the next few months.

  1. #1 by wsleong2 on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 - 12:12 pm

    First PR have to plan and expand the prison size nationwide. Worry overstuffing !

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 - 12:41 pm

    Now Najib is going around recruiting and urging Pekida, which is called by their own community as the Malay Mafia.

    Those who oppose UMNO/BN already accepted that May 13 will happen again and they know again its UMNO/BN doing just like the last time..

  3. #3 by dagen on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 - 1:12 pm

    You see because umno is rotten therefore umno is afraid of DAP pointing out its faults all the time. And because of this fear umno decided to fan another may 13 to preserve its rotten status. Of course today is not the same as yesterday and so may 13 will not happen. In fact umno’s recent attempts (raising the keris in public, stomping on cowhead and torching churches) all failed miserably. The point is this. Umno’s logic in this new may 13 attempt at instigating a new may 13 is going to be this. DAP started it by criticising umno. If only DAP could leave umno alone and not criticise them then there will be no next may 13.

    It is obvious that umno is all bound up in tangled knots of its own doing.

  4. #4 by k1980 on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 - 1:35 pm

    umno is so desperate that it is registering non-existent voters under such names as Encik Balai Polis bin Kerinchi. How many more votes can umno get from his wife Puan Polis Balai binti Kerinchi, his sons Encik Polis bin Balai and Encik Po Lis bin Ba Lai and so on?

    • #5 by Bunch of Suckers on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 - 3:00 pm

      This is one form of UMNO/BN cheating method apart from bribery and buying votes with money…

      Another form is using IC’s & other profiles of those registered Malaysian voters, who are currently residing in overseas, and they never cast their votes in any General Election…

      Well! Endless list of UMNO/BN cheating methods that you never think of; but not for UMNO/BN… They suck in many damn good ways…

  5. #6 by Godfather on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 - 2:46 pm

    Any attempt to trigger May 13 will result in the Malaysian Spring movement, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. They can beat the drums, but they also know that this is the 21st century. Not like 1969.

  6. #7 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 - 3:11 pm

    Though a lot of beating of drums for another May 13- and anything is possible in life- it is more to intimidate than to execute, even if one argues as Dr Lim Teck Ghee does, with the objective to thwart an election loss and return to authoritarian rule by another set of warlords! May 13 of 1969 is not so easily repeatable. It served its purpose then but will fail now. The parameters then and now are different. First reason is the one who sought to be removed by a such a coup is well prepared to pre-empt & thwart it, having learnt lessons of 1969; secondly, its not easy to scapegoat minority group for any racial riot now especially if it is due to loss of election due primarily to a split amongst majority group! Third, a gambit of such nature requires solid support of all security forces/apparatus/civil service which is not assured if its going to be one part of majority group feeling cheated off an election by the other part. Fourth, a convulsion of such nature would, short term, devastate equity/asset holdings of UMNOputras and their cronies/proxies.

  7. #8 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 - 3:11 pm

    Continuing: Fifth, in period before May 13 1969 the Alliance did not lose the election/federal power. Then authoritarian rule via NOC could be legitimised to restore public order and ease out an incumbent. Its vastly different if same gambit were launched due to the election being lost : how long could such authoritarian rule via NOC. Even assuming all opposition leaders are incarcerated, forestall or postpone the results of the election? No one but the greatest nincompoop will try such a gambit because if it fails – and there is no assurance that parameters are similar to 1969 for such to definitely suceed- it is a very serious offence that may be construed as treasonable attracting long imprisonment if not death penalty. Any guy having much ill gotten gains would prefer to transfer assets away and enjoy them than to risk a venture of such nature of uncertain outcome and grave repercussions both to nation and himself personally! Besides, so what if BN loses and goes into the Opposition? I am sure there are other simpler ways to get back to power by negotiation of cross overs aided by money. If one weighs pros & cons, it is a nincompoop who would seriously think much less plan such a thing!

  8. #9 by monsterball on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 - 4:00 pm

    It reminds me of the same old acts performed at circus…until it lost all audience and wound up.
    The three deadly sins….RACE…RELIGION….HYPOCRISY.
    What else…if not these 3 to fool Malaysians and keep stealing…diverting attentions to the real facts..Malaysians are facing.
    What else if not twist and turn and telling half truths.
    What else..if not accused others …before others accuse them for what they are?

  9. #10 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 - 5:12 pm

    Such is the true colors of Najib’s 1Malaysia.

  10. #11 by monsterball on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 - 6:07 pm

    Instead of spending money to build more prisons…barbed wired a large the jungle…build concentration camps like housing war criminals…cheap and best.
    Few thousands to be arrested and face court charges…no joke.
    Judges must have these crooks tried and judged as fast as possible.
    Billions stolen and hidden around the world must be recovered.
    Then build few cheap condominium to house these political detainees..and only cow they eat and feel the sins they committed.
    Since few huge store houses at PKFZ not rented out….convert them to be prison house too.
    Najib and Rosmah…separate rooms..near to each other…can see…cannot touch…near Teoh Beng Hock’s grave yard…with prayers every night to make them mad….or confess.

  11. #12 by Sallang on Wednesday, 7 December 2011 - 3:34 pm

    There are more than enough Khidmat Negara camps to house these goons.
    Check their numbers against the membership list again. 1.5 million?.

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