In The Star, various political parties still want Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail to make a personal apology although Umno as a party has already said sorry.
Both PM Abdullah and DPM Najib have apologised for his behalf and asked the people to let the matter fade away. However, several Chinese leaders including MCA Vice President Ong Tee Keat, Dr Wee Ka Siong, Gerakan's Dr Thor Teong Ghee and DAP's Ng Wei Aik are pushing for Ahmad to personally apologize.
Why can't Ahmad apologize? Why can't the UMNO Supreme Council takes an action against him? It will stoke the ultra Malay faction within UMNO if the leadership does take action against Ahmad. The fact is there are many other Ahmad Ismails within the rank and file of the party.
An outright apology and a disciplinary action taken against Ahmad might antagonise this faction who embraces Malay supremacy. This is something both Abdullah and Najib are not willing to do to shake the hornet's nest. Similar to what happened during the controversial UMNO General Assembly when the keris waving Hishammudin was supported by the racial chorus of several extremists. Abdullah did not take any action against them but his gesture then was much more arrogant.
There is a lot of humility this time round but yet UMNO is not willing to take any action against its own member. It will be seen as a lost of prestige. The mindset of the party is too deeply rooted and this is not helped by prominent members (or ex-member) such as Dr Mahathir who said that non-Malays cannot ask for equality.
The basis of national unity is equality and a shared national identity. This reluctance to accept all Malaysians as equals will not help us to achieve true unity.
On the other hand, it is doomsday for other non-UMNO component parties in Barisan Nasional. UMNO's lack of sincerity will not be able to convince voters to back them in the next general elections. If electoral victory is key to political survival, these parties may well choose the exit route to preserve their own survival.
The message is loud and clear. If they continue to push UMNO to the brink the end result will probably be much of the same. It is not easy to change a deeply rooted political culture in BN.