From attacking Anwar to attacking Pakatan, will Umno succeed?

By Wong Choon Mei, Harakah

As it becomes obvious that Prime Minister Najib Razak has failed to convince Malaysians the sodomy charges against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim are not maliciously fabricated, his Umno-BN media has switched to attacking Anwar’s Pakatan Rayat in an all-out bid to destroy the coalition’s political pull.

But the move may backfire. Although the Pakatan trio of PAS, DAP and PKR are well established in their own right, the coalition is barely two years old and inter-party fissures that break out now and then are not deep, and will not be enough to upset their joint and overriding determination to wrest control of the federal government.

In stark contrast, the troubles faced by Najib’s Umno-BN grouping of 14 parties are enough to fill the largest cauldron, with dissatisfaction and distrust already at boiling point and hot enough to their shatter common pot.

Due mainly to Umno’s overly domineering behaviour, grouses and woes have been swept under the carpet for the past 52 years and the biggest victims are now the MCA and MIC. Both these embattled parties have become politically bed-ridden and nowhere on the radar of the voting community, while the coalition itself has also lost the majority support of the Chinese and Indians.

Indeed, so deeply locked in bickering over internal and government posts are most of the Umno-BN parties that they seem to have forgotten to clear the electoral debris from the 2008 national polls or to heed the wishes that were expressed at the ballot boxes. And this may well be their biggest undoing rather than any offensive the Pakatan can launch.

Umno itself is bracing for a major fight between its No. 1 and No. 2. It is clear that the blame game and jostling for power has begun, with Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin staking his claim for Najib’s job.

The same is happening at Umno Youth, where Khairy Jamaluddin is facing an internal revolt for not pushing the wing’s traditional ultra-Malay stance. And in Terengganu Umno, there is an uneasy calm between two major feuding factions – with a mutiny and dissolution of the state government a distinct possibility.

Another recent fiasco that has exploded in Najib’s face is the Makkal Sakhti party that he personally helped bring to life last year in the hopes of replacing the MIC. Launched only in October, 2009, Makkal has all but crumbled – again, the victim of bitter infighting for power. 

The only tools they know

Therefore, it is unsurprising that Umno-BN has chosen to accuse Pakatan of the very same maladies that they are themselves entrapped in and guilty of.

“This is the only world that they know, a cut-throat and deceitful environment,” N Gobalakrishnan, PKR supreme council member, told Harakahdaily.

“But what Malaysians want and need now is new politics – either Umno-BN doesn’t understand this or they just cannot envision it because they are already too rooted in their old ways of corruption and racism.”

On Wednesday, the Umno-owned News Straits Times even front-paged PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution as having said, “PKR ready to act on Guan Eng”.

“I got a shock when I saw the papers. Can you imagine the impact on Guan Eng and how angry the DAP members would feel if the news was true,” Saifuddin told Harakahdaily.

He has since demanded that the daily issues a correction. “In my phone interview, I unequivocally said Zahrain was wrong to lash out at Guan Eng. I stressed that inter-party relations and complaints should be brought up in the PR Leadership Council,” Saifuddin stressed.

New politics if Malaysia is to grow again

The Umno-BN media has also been busily hatching stories of plots by the PKR old guard to stop the talented Zaid Ibrahim from ascending a high position in the party. According to these media, fighting and dissension are at an all-time high in the Pakatan parties, and the coalition set to implode once Anwar is convicted and jailed.

PKR stalwarts like Azmin Ali, William Leong, Tian Chua and even Saifuddin – who had fought heart and soul for the party’s Reformasi movement and were instrumental in navigating it through its birth years – were suddenly picked on.

These men were even accused of creating trouble for newcomers like Zaid and Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim.

“If people knew the inner circle of PKR – and inner circle as in meaning core members who helped build the party when it began – they will know that all us – myself, Azmin, Willie and Saif – have only one interest and that is to protect and to improve PKR,” strategic director and Batu MP Tian Chua told Harakahdaily.

“None of us have that sort of bad character. We are devoted to PKR and we welcome the best people to join us so that PKR itself can do the best for Malaysia. Zaid knows that. Khalid knows that. It’s the enemy – the Umno-BN and their press – that is deliberately playing havoc and trying to fool the country.”

Perhaps, Tian need not worry too much. Malaysians are an intelligent lot. In 1998, they could already see could through Mahathir Mohamad’s sodomy plot against Anwar. In 2010, they can spot Najib in the same wannabe-in-power-forever mode through the second round of sodomy charges.

Is it possible then for Malaysians not to be able to spot the truth now? Could they fail to see through the spate of infighting plots unleashed each day by the Umno media, the power struggle intrigues, the Malay versus the non-Malay spin, the Muslim versus the non-Muslim scares that have been used and re-used countless of times before? Sadly, some things won’t and can’t change.

Indeed, it will take new politics to sweep away these overgrown and overhung cobwebs of corruption and moral depredation. The time has come for us to take down the old curtains and open the windows wide – and let fresh air blow in to help Malaysia grow again.