A Malaysia without Umno

Azrul Mohd Khalib
The Malay Mail Online
December 2, 2014

DECEMBER 2 — No, the reality of the political landscape in Malaysia is such that it is just not possible at the moment, to not have the United Malay National Organisation (should translate this into Bahasa Malaysia, no?).

Actually, when I really think about it, we have much to thank Umno for and we should be grateful. Indeed we have to bersyukur to them. Their continued presence and actions remind us of the work to be done.

For far too long we have been complacent and comfortable in enjoying the fruits of economic prosperity and have been placid in our engagement with the democratic process. We conveniently outsourced our civic duty and responsibilities to elected representatives and others.

Only when it hits our interests and our periuk nasi, do we wake up to discover the existence of laws passed decades ago which infringe on fundamental human rights and are unconstitutional, the diminished stature of the Federal Constitution due to the hundreds of amendments made to this bedrock document, and the erosion of institutions meant to ensure transparency, governance and accountability.

If anybody was sleeping before, this year’s Umno General Assembly was a rude wake up call.

Rather than use the annual gathering to trumpet and take pride in the latest achievements, progress and successes of a people with a proud history of overcoming adversity and contributing towards the building of a young nation, we heard threats, unsubstantiated and malicious accusations, and fear mongering on a scale rarely seen before.

The way the delegates spoke last week, it ironically sounded to me as if the Holocaust was upon us and the Malays were fleeing and fighting persecution from an enemy who wears multiple masks: Chinese, liberals, feminists, transgenders and the occasional stray blogger.

Veiled threats and insinuations as to “what could happen if you don’t support us” came in the form of an Islamic State video of people about to be beheaded. You can’t make these things up, seriously.

Playing the helpless victim has been turned into an art form, perfected over the years and performed to an impressionable and unquestioning audience. This is today’s Umno.

A party which seems to have forgotten that they represent the majority and not a minority. When once upon a time, we would hear talk of Malaysia Boleh!, today’s collective mindset seems to be “tak boleh” instead of “boleh” or worse, aku tak boleh sebab kaum lain rampas hak aku. Disempowered, helpless, weak and wrong.

Sexist remarks, jibes at sexual minorities, unashamed demands for the reinstatement of crony practices (e.g.surat sokongan) and calls for 1 Melayu to replace 1 Malaysia. This is what has become of the party of Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Dr Fatimah Hashim.

Today’s generation continues to stand on the shoulders of giants, but are minnows unworthy of the mantle of those who came before them.

Umno has made us realise the need to abandon the system that has enslaved us to unblinking obedience and compliance. A system where the PPP president Tan Sri M. Kayveas stated that, “There are only two rules in the game: the boss is always right. If the boss is wrong, refer back to Rule 1.” Where a father can say to his son that every grain of rice you eat is due to Umno. Where the retention of the colonial era Sedition Act is celebrated instead of cast off. Do we need to say more?

It is ominous that Umno depends more and more on Perkasa, Isma and the uniformed and dark spectacled lot from the Pertubuhan Martabat Jalinan Muhibbah Malaysia to be at the frontlines (of what exactly?). Where they are celebrated as the “reasonable” ones while the rest of us are extremists.

It is cynical to note that those who call for reform and change are labelled as extremists and radicals. Reformists and progressives like Saifuddin Abdullah are marginalised. In people like him and rational and thinking politicians like Khairy Jamaluddin are the hopes and dreams of an alternative future for the party.

Make no mistake. This party is fighting for its political survival. It will sacrifice all that is dear to remain in power. Nothing is sacred. Let’s be realists here. This is existential politics. A game of thrones.

You know, many have said that the day that Malaysia sheds off its racial baggage will never come. That the goals are too lofty and too high. That we, as a country are too divided and that we are too disillusioned to ever support the common purpose of a diverse but united nation. Let us prove these naysayers wrong.

Let us work towards a future where there is no need for political parties which are ethnic centric and discard the waning premise that only a Malay political party can fight for Malays, only an Indian politician can champion the Indian community, only a Chinese voice can speak out for their fellow Chinese and so forth. A future where race based political parties are lapok, obsolete and irrelevant.

Maybe Onn Jaafar who fought for this future in the early years of Malaya was a man light years ahead of his time with the right idea and the right vision.

As the colonial masters before, those in power have preyed on the divisions which exists, created barriers where there were none and reinforced differences where there were commonalities. We have a choice. It does not have to be this way.

We are neither serfs beholden to a feudal system nor indebted for life or in perpetual servitude to a party whose successors take delight in exploiting past deeds and the gratitude of a people for their own benefit.

Our gratitude, appreciation and love for Malaysia lies in our speaking out and engaging to contribute to efforts to make this a better country for all to live in. We cannot afford to be silent, put our blinkers on and berpasrah.

We must summon the courage and audacity to travel the road untaken. We need to take a leap of faith.

We need to work towards ending this colonial strategy of divide and conquer. We need to build a new political narrative, a new vision and a new deal for a coalition and a society which speaks, breathes and believes in inclusion and not exclusion. We need a new deal for Malaysia.

We need to stand up and speak out loud that we are one nation, that we are one people. And that our time has come.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 3 December 2014 - 11:15 am

    There is no question that UMNO/BN will continue to lose legitimate votes and 2% is not easy but not too hard either but couple with gerrymeandering, fraud and vote buying, we are rally looking at least 5% more vote swing before change will happen. All the effort to get 52% of the voters to vote against BN in the last GE, will not be enough to swing the 5% or maybe more needed.

  2. #2 by boh-liao on Thursday, 4 December 2014 - 1:11 am

    OK without UmnoB/BN
    What abt PKR?
    Can rakyat trust PKR kaki 2 look after our interests n $$$?

    Wow, Selangor Mentri Besar Incorporated’s (MBI) board of directors – VERI well paid civil SERVANTs
    Esp MBI chief executive’s monthly pay = RM38,000
    Wow, wow – BIG FAT salary
    How can rakyat (bosses) apply 2 bcome SERVANT?

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Thursday, 4 December 2014 - 12:42 pm

    D KEY 2 “A Malaysia without UmnoB” is d VOTE of rural Malays n Bumiputra

    They need 2 WAKE up fr d on-going nightmare: UmnoB make sure dat they remain ignorant n continue 2 believe dat UmnoB look after their interests (when actually even funds 4 hardcore poor also kena makan/jiak by UmnoB kaki n their cronies)

    BREAK dat supply of votes 2 UmnoB/BN, then we will certainly hv “A Malaysia without UmnoB” – BETTER 4 almost all rakyat

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