Thursday, July 24, 2008

Is there Malay Disunity?

It is most ironic that the UMNO-PAS Malay unity talk failed to raise a pertinent question. Is there real Malay disunity? What are the symptoms and implications of the disunity? What are the social threats to the society?

In the last eleven general elections, the Malay voters were expected to show their allegiance for UMNO by voting en bloc for the party and its coalition partners in BN. This did not happen in the last general election.To make matter worse, other communities have deserted the BN too.

UMNO sees this as an opportunity to drum up communal sentiments, hoping to divert Malay support back to its party. Unfortunately for UMNO, time has changed. Many Malaysians including majority of the Malays have seen through the political ploy of UMNO.

Unlike before, not many Malay voters who voted for the opposition are going to believe that the lost of support amongst non-Malays for the UMNO led BN is tantamount to a challenge against Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacism).

In fact, it is time of the party to learn to accept the fact that the Malay community has grown more sophisticated than UMNO as a political entity which claimed monopoly of Malay representation.

Political loyalty cannot be used as a yardstick to measure social cohesiveness. UMNO's lost of support did not translate into socio-economic displacement or political marginalisation of the Malays. If fact, Malay representation in the legislative bodies and key institutions remained strong and significant.

The perceived threats to Malay special rights and the sanctity of Islam is an imaginary perception concocted by UMNO and its supporters to reaffirm its hold on the communal-based politics in the country. As a dominant communal party, UMNO cannot afford for the transition to non-communal and more Malaysian centric political model to materialise.It must be portrayed as the champions of Malay interests and special rights to remain relevant as a political entity.

However, the rise of other Malay majority political parties most significantly the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has dented UMNO's almost untouchable position in the community.The support garnered by PKR and its charismatic de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim has proven that a large segment of the Malay community is ready to march beyond narrow communal polemics.

Anwar, during the last general election and until now, has been consistent in promoting his party's two key policies - the New Malaysian Agenda and People's supremacism ( Ketuanan Rakyat) - which are direct juxtapose to UMNO's communal biased New Economic Policy and Malay supremacism (Ketuanan Melayu).The fact that more than half of Malay voters in Peninsula Malaysia supported PKR's policies and dumped UMNO's should have gotten the latter to do some serious soul searching.

Unfortunately, the party has refused to acknowledge some of the policies serious defects and injustices. Instead, the party has argued for the continuation of these policies by using the equity onwership, inter-community income disparity and poverty level benchmarks of the Malay community as its prime justification.

These are, beyond reasonable doubt, the symptoms of the failure of UMNO's policy implementation and governance despite its near total control of all power levers in the country. If the party, at this crucial juncture, cannot fathom the real causes of its lost of popularity and accept that the BN coalition is now near defunct, it should not be trusted fully to run this country and hope to provide a brighter future for all Malaysians.

If the lack of support of Malay voters for UMNO and its coalition parties is seen as a sign of Malay disunity, then shouldn't the self-proclaimed "wira-wira bangsa" (communal champions) in UMNO evaluate what were the main causes?

Three words summed up the main causes. Arrogance, ineptness and inefficient are the main reasons. In short, the Malay voters were not misguided and influenced to ditch UMNO. They did so because there are evidences of poor leadership, political arrogance, power abuse, corruption, nepotism and inept governance. These are a powerful cocktail can even knock out an elephant.

It is time for UMNO leaders to sober up. It must take cognisance of the importance of promoting true inter-ethnic harmony, good governance, prudent socio-economic management and a progressive democracy to stay relevant and become powerful again.

Fixation over ethno-nationalism to fire up communal fervour and hope to turn this negative energy into political support will eat away whatever goodwill left in the party and the BN coalition.

At this moment, UMNO needs the coalition partners support more than anything else. The push towards this politically motivated Malay unity talk will affect other component parties badly. When comes to the question of survival and when these parties are forced to face a situation where it is a choice between UMNO or their own survival, the choice is straight forward.

Although many of us are willing to support Prime Minister Abdullah's reform agenda, there is caveat. Reforms made must benefit all Malaysians and not only a certain segment of the society.

He must have the wisdom to avoid any zero-sum game.

7 comments:

romerz said...

Dear Mr Khoo,

Excellent question and excellent reasoning.

Hope you don't mind (since I didn't ask for your permission first) that I've reproduced this posting in its entirety at my blog.

http://romerz.blogspot.com/2008/07/is-there-malay-disunity.html

I've also added a link to your blog in my blogroll.

However, if you do mind, please let me know and I'll remove it asap.

Thank you.

SAJ said...

Excellent! You have captured the thoughts and sentiments of all patriotic Malaysians.
Thank You

Anonymous said...

Let's assume,your theory is right,all barsion national component party's did defact....not counting PKR...with just the
malay party's,that include PAS,UMNO ,PBB(another eastern msia malay bumiputra party),they can easily add up to 83% of parliment seats...with over 3/4 majority.They will able to
take back all the states's with ease with exception of penang and selengor (which they might be lacking around 2 seats or more).selengor also have 5 independant MP's...so they need entice them with reward's.....UMNO's arugument will be "It's best take counter-measure now,then to
avoid the risk of collapse of BN."
it will overally benefit everybody..inlcuding the componet party's.If anwar had said ,I accept the decision of rakyat,I would work hard in this five states,show msians we are able to be better adminstrators than BN,I would have respected him.Rather,he keep's on bragging,how he's gonna topple the govt.Anwar's openly compromising Malay/muslim interest,is actually raising
even eye-brow's among his allies,that's way PAS is talking with UMNO...anwar is takin things too fast,he should try to strengthen his base,especially with the alliance between DAP and PAS..maybe who know's next election,he could be a PM...now,I doubt so.He is facing a former corruption charge,ACA investigation,Sodomy charge,IGP law-suit...growing disentment between not only PAS and DAP,also among the malay PKR and non-malay PKR...(the incident involving malay PKr punching chinese PKR MP
his name is low..something...they guy who videotaped lingam)

ALHAJ said...

Dear Khoo,

I couldn't help but agree with your observations.

Alhaj

Wizzerd said...

As long as there is self interest amongst politicians from both divide. These issues will surface. What is better to garner support other than to play up communalistic sentiments? By sowing fear and distrust of the bogeymen, it is short-cut to shore up one's flagging political fortunes. Dr Khir Toyo must have sensed that he is not too high up in his popularity index in the coming UMNO elections.

This will be the test of resolve for the Pakatan Rakyat government - in -waiting.
Hope that the few black sheep will not tarnish the good image of PR govt..especially in Penang/Perak.

amoker said...

Excellent insight. UMNO is considered a racist party now. So is MCA. Nobody cares about MIC

Anonymous said...

Since the election result's the aura of "instability" is in the air.Anwar's prophecy that he will come to power ,before the september dead-line,send shock-wave's,throughout the nation.There was perception that the opposition would gain ground before the elections,seem's to be common assesment by many,but what they didn't expect,BN to lose so heavily to the opposition.BN had been dented,but not neutralized.It's still not over.Anwar does not have a decisive victory.The question is, will he able to court the big gun's.The month of July is nearly over,nothing substanial yet.The defactions so far are two gerekan members,wanita MCA and former Deputy minister in UMNO.most of them are unheard of,not Poltical bigwigs.

I can't help wondering,as it's seem anwar is embarked on some kind of mind game.anwar's stragedy will be to act cool and anounce that he's currently in talk's with the ruling front.nobody know's who or which party is anwar talking too! Anwar had hoped this would lead to conflicts,arousing from suspicion within the BN or BN component party's might talk to anwar, as none of them wants to be on a loosing end,If anwar ever comes to power.
Out of the blue,eastern msian party with 2 Mp's announce that they want a no-confidence vote on the PM.A rift appeared within the party and the motion was never fielded,It does not make any sense,someone calling for no-confidence motion,later calling it off,unless it is all part of the grand plan by umno to call anwar's bluff.Now they have increased their stake's with high-powered talks with PAS.At first,there were different views coming from Hadi's camp and Nik Aziz's camp.one favouring it,while other asking to halt such talks.Then both of them unanimously backed such talks.DAP can't do much,both are on a different frequency,now it's up to Anwar's to convince them to stay...will they stay?..the combination of PAS,PKR,DAP is still not enough to form the govt...PAS and umno alone can easily form the govt...I can't help wondering does anwar really have that much influence over PAS decision making process? How can he able to promise Pas a Puritan Islamic state at the same time to DAP,PKR a more secular state? It seem's anwar is getting desperate by the day.Is this helpful for our nation or should we be concentrating on how to deal with the problems faced by our people.I hope whether the formation of PR or Pas-umno will materliase swiftly,so we can concentrate on pressing issue's of our nation