Squabbling politicians leaving Malaysians without much leadership or hope


The Malaysian Insider

Nearly two years after the last Malaysian general elections, both the ruling and opposition coalitions are imploding – one with internal leadership crises and the other with public quarrels over policies.

In the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), Umno and MIC leaders past and present are tussling for influence and leadership, the MCA is largely irrelevant while Gerakan and PPP are absent.

On the other side, Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) DAP and PAS are crossing swords and PKR is just opposing everything with a street protest always a handy tool to keep it seen as championing a cause.

The big loser? Ordinary Malaysians. Never before has this country been so bereft of political talent, men and women of integrity, vision and empathy than today when it faces the twin crises of low commodity prices and currency.

The best example of this fact is Umno. Neither the Najib camp or the so-called Dr Mahathir/Daim camp inspire confidence or hope among most Malaysians. Both are stuck to courting a Malay heartland, leaving other Malaysians feeling disenfranchised in their own country.

Right now, the supporters of Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak are in the midst of a psy-war against his critics, some resorting to the old party playbook of sex allegations and financial scandals to all-out cyber attacks.

While Tun Daim Zainuddin has been quiet, his former boss, Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has turned up the ante by offering caustic comments about a leadership he no longer supports.

For Najib, it is his leadership at stake. For Dr Mahathir and his supporters, it is Umno’s fate at the next general elections as the party and BN have collectively lost more votes in the last two federal polls.

If the trend continues, Umno’s nightmare of losing political and economic power to its former number two, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim becoming PM, might come true. In short, that is the analysis of Najib’s critics who say his political and economic policies have exacerbated Umno’s dwindling support.

The same is being played out in MIC, a party more concerned about itself than the shrinking Indian community it purportedly represents.

But in a coalition of mainly racial silos, the MIC and the BN parties that represent everyone else except Malays now have even less clout than the second biggest BN party, PBB from Sarawak.

One would think that the PR pact would take advantage of the infighting within BN parties to move forward and attract even more support after their successful run in Election 2008 and 2013.

Instead, that success has been more of a bane than a boon for the three parties in PR. PAS were not on the same page with PKR on the Selangor state government leadership change last year.