FRANCIS PAUL SIAH
COMMENT | Three major political parties held their assemblies over the weekend – PKR in Malacca, Umno in Kuala Lumpur and Parti Amanah in Shah Alam.
Of the three, there is no prize for guessing which one is the most troubled and problematic party. The ruckus in Malacca was a disgrace and all associated with such violent behaviour should be ashamed of themselves.
But, are they? This party is sick to the core. I don’t find the fighting and violence surprising at all. A party infested and soiled with hooligans is bound to attract characters of the same breed!
Hired goons or not, the fact remains that only a political party with a samseng (gangster) culture will attract such shady characters.
How come no professional rabble-rousers, if indeed they exist, gate-crashed the Umno and Amanah assemblies?
In Shah Alam, the Amanah assembly saw some fiery debates but many speakers raised pressing and pertinent issues. Amanah has matured a lot over the past five years. Credit is due to the party leadership.
I’m glad that Amanah president Mohamad Sabu (below) took note of a delegate’s concern of the need for a transition date for the prime minister, stating that he would raise the matter at the next Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting.
It is clear that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad must be told, in no uncertain terms, to stop dilly-dallying on the matter as it has serious repercussions on the Harapan government and the nation.
If Mat Sabu and his Amanah could press it hard on the grand old man to come out with a clear transition plan (which means not overstaying the two-year agreed period), that would go down on record as one of their greatest contributions to the Harapan coalition and to ‘Malaysia Baru’.
Oh yes, we did witness a surprise over the weekend. The three-day Umno general assembly was conducted in an orderly fashion without any untoward incident, unlike in the past.
Leaders and debaters were calm and collected. Perhaps, Umno has finally decided it was time to grow up. Or party leaders and members have now realised that they are not invincible nor infallible, but only human.
The right tonic for Umno?
A stint in the opposition could have been the right tonic for Umno. Having been brought down to earth in GE14, it is time for the once almighty Umno to wake up from its many decades in slumber.
This is the best time for Umno to consolidate itself and if the just-concluded party assembly is any indication, it is heading in the right direction.
This is one of the few occasions I pen my thoughts on Umno. If anyone, either those party deserters or the hardcore foes of Umno, believe that the party is finished just because it lost one general election, they need to do some real, serious re-thinking.
I don’t think Umno will ever be buried for good. That is unlikely to happen, not for many decades down the road.
The party will always be relevant because it has no dearth of diehard members and supporters. Umno politicians may desert the party from time to time but the grassroots remain.
They are proud to be Umno members and are immensely loyal to their party. To them, it is the only party they know and perhaps the only one they believe should be entrusted to hold the mantle for the nation.
Umno will always remain relevant because the Malays are a very proud race and are generally faithful and loyal to their leaders too.
Nineteen months after the party’s disastrous GE14 outing, the more than 2,000 faithful who turned up at the Umno assembly – and all buoyed up – reflect that pride and loyalty.
Boisterous welcome for Najib
Yet another clear indication is the boisterous welcome for their former president, Najib Abdul Razak, when he turned up at the assembly. That the “Bossku” fanfare is gaining momentum should also raise some eyebrows.
Those who have jumped ship or will do so in future are only a handful of politicians and their supporters, who are out for short-term personal gains.
While it is true that politics is bereft of ethical principles that govern political relationships and engagements at times, it must also be emphasised that there is also one great unifying factor among the Malays – their religion.
In this respect, I see the new Umno-PAS tie-up as a very wise, solid tactical move. It is a giant step that will further strengthen Umno as a force to be reckoned with, years down the road.
If you ask me whether Bersatu or Umno will still be relevant, say a decade or two from now, my answer is obvious.
A glance at the current Bersatu line-up does not give one much confidence, moving forward. After Mahathir and Muhyiddin Yassin, who else is worthy of mention as national Malay leaders.
Bersatu could well be just a temporary pretender to the throne.
Even within the present cabinet, I only see a bunch of Bersatu clowns who are not even adept at comedy. I can only cringe in disbelief and great discomfort every time they open their mouth saying things they thought would make people laugh.
Seriously, I think Khairy Jamaluddin (above) will do a much better job in youth and sports than that boy minister.
Cabinet veterans Mustapa Mohamed or Rafidah Aziz should immediately replace that “black shoes, jawi khat and medan dakwah” fanatic at education.
Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan will surely be better suited at entrepreneur development than the ‘flying car’ no-brainer. Mat Hasan might not have the status of a power player in Umno for now but I believe he will have his chance to be a national figure one day.
The Umno No 2 has already struck a right chord with Malaysians when he advised Umno members at the party assembly not to be race heroes.
The biggest setback for Umno today is the slew of court charges its president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and a score of other party leaders are facing.
Zahid and the others implicated in corruption and money laundering charges should be magnanimous and step aside for the sake of the party and its future.
Political leaders should ponder on these words of wisdom now and again: “No one is indispensable and the world can carry on without you, maybe in a better way.”
Zahid should. And so too, our grand old man.
FRANCIS PAUL SIAH heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.