Anti-Umno group hits the ground running with ‘people’s platform’

(The Malaysian Insider) – Eschewing policy for potshots, the Asalkan Bukan Umno (ABU) grouping last night trotted out a laundry list of the ruling Malay party’s failings to drive home a message of urgent change in the next polls.

Drawing on the testimonies of ordinary Malaysians, from housewives and bank executives to students and contractors, the coalition of political parties and civil society groups stressed repeatedly that voters should pick “anything but Umno” to put an end to alleged abuse of power.

Badrul Hisham said ABU was a vehicle through which Malaysians could voice their disaffection with Umno.

Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) president Badrul Hisham Shaharin said the time had come for Malaysians who were fed up with Umno’s rule to unite and reject the party in the next general election.

“The people have opposed Umno’s rule but their (the party’s) advantage is that the people are not united…

“Umno is not strong, the people have just been weak in fighting them so far,” he told the 300-strong crowd at Taman Melewar here.

Also present were PAS vice president Datuk Mahfuz Omar, Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S. Arutchelvan, Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) president Haris Ibrahim, among others.

Badrul Hisham, better known as Chegubard, also took pains to point out that ABU was not a political movement but a vehicle through which Malaysians could voice their disaffection.

“This… is a platform for the people, (a platform) for people’s stories,” the PKR leader said.

But Haris reminded the largely partisan crowd it was meaningless for them to air their grouses and speak of change if no action came of it.

“Let’s not take ABU as just a slogan. Slogans are Umno’s domain. Mahathir gave us Vision 2020, Pak Lah gave us Islam Hadhari, now it’s 1 Malaysia. All merely slogans…” he said in a fiery speech.

“We must spread the word that the people have united with one spirit to topple Umno, to topple Barisan Nasional (in the next election).”

ABU, comprising SAMM, PSM, MCLM, Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM), was launched last week to educate Malaysians on “the evils of Umno”.

The loose grouping last night launched its “DN Tumbangkan BN” video online to counter the government’s chokehold on mass media in rural areas.

According to Haris’s website, over 200,000 hardcopies of the 104-minute video have already been distributed in mainly Malay villages nationwide.