In one sense, the 18-month postponement of UMNO party polls is good news as Datuk Najib Razak will be an easier target in the 14th General Election with the avalanche of scandals – socio-economic and political – as well as the continued festering of internal UMNO warfare.
Never before in Malaysia has a Prime Minister amassed such a huge brew of socio-economic and political scandals within so short a time, creating a most explosive mix with far-reaching consequences in the next general election.
Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor was not being candid when he merely admitted that the postponement of the Umno election was due to “current political crisis” but not related to 1MDB, as the truth was that the postponement was caused by “current political crisis arising from scandals like 1MDB”.
Unlike the 13GE, the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal will be the lead “scandal” in the 14GE although desperate attempts are being made to defuse it, including an elaborate script of “The Empire Strikes Back” based on the notion that the allegations of the 1MDB scandals were all based on the “tampered” emails (not only unsubstantiated to date but clearly impossible) including the last desperate option of a winding-up and asset-stripping of 1MDB.
But even after being wound up, 1MDB scandal will remain alive in the 14GE although it will be one in a shoal of seething multiple scandals – whether economic and financial like the Felda Global Venture (FGV), Tabung Haji, GST, weak Malaysian ringgit and now MARA’s Australia property scandals, or socio-political like Najib’s major failures including his signature 1Malaysia Policy, Global Movement of Moderates initiative, the National Transformation Programme, the worst racial and religious polarization in the nation’s history.
There are no signs that Najib could take a grip of such an avalanche of scandals, putting them under firm check and control, as all signs point to the opposite – a runaway situation with everybody abandoning ship with whatever benefits they can grab before the sinking of the “Titanic”.
UMNO/BN coalition seems to infected by the “make hay while the sun shines” syndrome, even if it is for an ever-shortening period of three or less years!
Mahathir is half-right that the UMNO/BN coalition under Najib will lose in the next general election, except that even if UMNO/BN coalition changes a new leader, the chances are still very high that the UMNO/BN coalition cannot be salvaged and would be voted out of office in the next polls.
Although from the narrow and selfish perspective, the postponement of UMNO party polls for 18 months to ensure that Najib would lead UMNO/BN coalition into the 14GE polls is good news, this is not so from the larger national perspective – as the country urgently needs a change of leadership and government to end the decades of corruption, cronyism, abuses of power and selfish and petty politicking at the seat of Federal Government, which had destroyed Malaysia as a model to the world of good governance and successful and harmonious nation-building in a plural society.
For the past two years, Najib had prioritized the politics of survival over the challenges of ensuring Malaysia shine as a model of good governance and successful and harmonious nation-building in a plural society.
He can claim limited success, in not only breaking up Pakatan Rakyat but also PAS, but he cannot afford to continue with his game of irresponsible politicking, such as to give Prime Ministerial support to the PAS President’s private member’s bill in Parliament on hudud implementation as he risk alienation of the 48 Barisan Nasional MPs in Sarawak and Sabah and the even greater risk of a break-up of the 52-year Malaysian Federation because of a fundamental breach of Malaysia Agreement 1963.
A golden opportunity seems to have been lost to Malaysians for Pakatan Rakyat, which won 52% of voter support in the 13 GE, should stand ready to replace the Umno/BN coalition at its weakest point in the 14GE.
Instead, Pakatan Rakyat had fallen into UMNO’s trap and ceased to exist.
There is no PR if there is no PR Common Policy Framework and the PR consensus operational principle.
I do not believe that Pakatan Rakyat could mount a serious challenge to overthrow UMNO/BN coalition in the 14GE if PR abandons its Common Policy Framework and operates purely as an opportunistic alliance.
What is the difference between Najib’s Umno/BN coalition and the Pakatan Rakyat if PR can abandon its Common Policy Framework for a new start for Malaysia?
Although Pakatan Rakyat is no more, there is no reason to despair as the hopes and aspirations of Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region encapsulated in the PR Common Policy Framework for an inclusive government and nation-building policy to restore justice, freedom, dignity and good governance remain valid, relevant and achievable in the 14 GE.
There needs to be a realignment of political forces in the country, as the achievement of the people’s PR hopes and aspirations in the 13 GE in the 14 GE, although there is no more PR, is the greatest challenge of the present generation of Malaysians.
(Speech at the DAP Air Putih durian party at Bukit Bendera on Sunday, 28th June 2015 at 7pm)