Just who is a traitor?

(The Malaysian Insider) KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 — Ground reports cobbled together by Umno suggest that the Malay political party is facing a crisis of sorts: a sizeable number of Malays no longer identify the party as defenders of Malay interest.

Worse yet, there is a growing perception that Umno has not been able to stanch the tide of demands from the non-Malays since Election 2008.

Hawks in Umno believe that if allowed to take root, the political party’s one last reliable supportbase could be an Achilles Heel in 2013 when the next general elections are scheduled. (Note: Umno’s share of votes in 2008 among Malays was largely intact despite the unprecedented showing by the Opposition).

So strategists have advised Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and other Umno leaders that they need to adopt three approaches: attack Opposition icon Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a politician who is willing to sell out the Malays to gain political power, a modern-day traitor; hammer Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) as a stooge of the mainly Chinese Democratic Action Party (DAP); and finally to show Umno as uncompromising defenders of race and religion.

The face of a traitor? Umno is on an offensive to convince Malays that Anwar Ibrahim (right) is no friend to their race. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Of the three approaches, Umno leaders appear to be relishing the chance of rubbishing Anwar as a traitor, alleging that he is more interested in defending the rights of Chinese and demonising him as someone who will barter away the special privileges of the Malays for the support of Indians and Chinese.

The curious thing about using the “traitor” card is that it is a double-edged weapon. Here is a fact: if we go by the common definition of the word traitor, many Malaysian politicians will be considered traitors.

After all, a traitor is someone who betrays his country, a cause, a trust, even a set of principles.

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