Old dog, new tricks?

By Oon Yeoh

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Yet, learning new tricks is precisely what BN — and UMNO to be more precise — needs to learn.

By-election after by-election, UMNO adopts the same old strategy and fails each time:

1. Promise development if only the voters elect the BN candidate
2. To the non-Malays, paint PAS as akin to the Taliban
3. To the Malays, paint PAS as a puppet to the DAP

When are they going to realize that developmental politics no longer works? People won’t vote for you just because you promise to build a bridge here or a school there.

And when are they going to realize in the Internet era, double talk doesn’t work? You can’t paint PAS as the Taliban and yet claim it is subservient to the predominantly Chinese and secular DAP. It’s either too Islamic or not Islamic enough. But it can’t be both.

The voters have come to realize that but UMNO somehow hasn’t. It still thinks double talk works despite evidence to the contrary.

And this misguided belief seems to plague UMNO from top to bottom, from the very senior leaders down to the youth leaders.

Take Khairy Jamaluddin for example. He is young, Western educated, Net-savvy. He knows how to blog and how to Twitter. Yet, he can’t help himself but engage in double talk.

Since March 8, 2008, he has been busy rebranding himself as Mr. Progressive/Moderate — a 180 degree turn from his carefully-cultivated image of being a ultra during Pak Lah’s first term.

Yet, from time to time you see him changing from Dr Jekyll to Mr Hyde. This usually happens when he is addressing an all Malay crowd. That’s when he lets the Ketuanan personality come out.

Is he really Mr. Progressive or Mr. Ketuanan? Who knows. Who cares. The point is, his split personality, his penchant for double talk is a microcosm of what afflicts UMNO.

Read more at: Old dog, new tricks?