Umno’s do or die decision this weekend

Meanwhile, let’s wait to hear Umno President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s explanation this weekend regarding his and Najib Razak’s deal with Anwar Ibrahim and about the letter they sent to Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong urging His Majesty to sack Muhyiddin Yassin and replace him with Anwar as PM9.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Much has been said over these last six months by Umno, PKR, DAP, PAS and Bersatu. So much was said by so many people about so many things that Malaysians have been become confused like hell.

Who is the official spokesman for all these parties anyway? Even non-Umno people, or people who used to be in Umno but are no longer in Umno, are speaking on behalf of Umno or are issuing official statements regarding Umno.

And as all these statements are contradicting one another, the confusion is even worse. Yes. No. Maybe. No way. Of course. Not sure yet. Let’s wait and see. Over my dead body. When hell freezes over. We are still talking. The door is still open. Sudah talak tiga.

So, which one is it? Sometimes not only different people say different things, but the same person will say different things at different times to different people.

Anyway, Umno is meeting this weekend in what can be considered probably the most important assembly in three years since the 2018 general election. This is because there is a strong possibility this may be the last annual assembly before the next general election (GE15), which may be held next year — or may not.

Zahid will need to get the blessing of the Umno members this weekend to finalise his deal with Anwar

Hence Umno will have to clear the air once and for all regarding its stand concerning PPBM and PAS. Will Umno stay with Perikatan Nasional? Will Umno go solo? Will Umno continue with Barisan Nasional? Or will Umno go to bed with Pakatan Harapan? Which of the four scenarios will be the decision Umno makes this weekend?

As for me, personally, I do not really care which decision Umno takes. This is because there are no absolutes in life. There is always good and bad, or positive and negative, in all choices. Hence the choice is Umno’s to take, and they will have to take the plusses with the minuses in that decision.

What’s good for one person may be bad for another. So good and bad would depend on who you are and what you hope to achieve. Good can become bad and vice versa depending on the situation. Hence you need to look at the big picture when deciding something and not be myopic like I have noticed some politicians are.

I mean, some argue that Umno has more seats so Umno should call the shots. Some say Bersatu is bullying Umno. Some say Umno can win close to 100 parliament seats because those who abandoned Umno in GE14 will return to Umno in GE15.

In GE14, they said Barisan Nasional can win 135 parliament seats without any electoral pact with PAS (they won only 79 seats). In GE14, Umno said PAS is going to be totally wiped out in Terengganu and Kelantan and they are going to win zero seats (PAS won two-thirds of the 99 state and parliament seats). In GE14, Umno said the 1MDB scandal is not going to be a liability (it actually resulted in Umno losing the general election for this first time in 63 years since 1955).

Has Umno managed to jettison its GE14 baggage or is it still there for GE15?

Yes, the success rate for the predictions Umno has been making, at least as far as GE14 is concerned, is miserable. Their forecasts seem to be based on wishful thinking and steeped in denial. Umno lost track with reality in GE14 and this appears to still be happening.

Much of what Umno is saying these last 12 months is chest-thumping and keris-waving. Malays would call it cakap besar. To be a bit cruel, some would say Umno bodoh-sombong. Is Umno really in touch with reality or do they have their heads in the cloud?

Albert Einstein is credited with saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result (some say it was not him who said it). Anyway, the point is, what is Umno going to do differently in GE15 that they did not do in GE14?

Basically, Umno in GE14 and Umno in GE15 are going to be exactly the same. In GE14 it was Umno Baru and in GE15 it is still going to be Umno Baru, not Umno Lebih Baru. And herein lies the problem, the baggage which Umno is carrying or the albatross around its neck. In short, the same shit in GE15.

The 18-year-old voters do not share the same ideals as Umno, PAS and PPBM

Many are pushing for the voting age to be reduced to 18. I think even more important than that is for Parliament to pass a law where constituencies must have a variation of, say, just 15%, plus-minus, and for each state seat to have 20,000 voters and parliament seat 50,000 voters.

That would mean the number of urban seats would be increased tremendously and there will be less rural seats (maybe just 40% or thereabouts). This will also mean the states in the West Coast of West Malaysia would decide the federal government while the voters in the Malay heartland in the East Coast and in East Malaysia would no longer be the Kingmakers like now.

By law, Sabah and Sarawak, which has about 22% of Malaysia’s population, must have 25% of the seats (this is the agreement). The Malay heartland has about 21% of the population. The Pakatan Harapan states on the West Coast have 57% of the population. Hence if the seats are fairly carved out according to population, Malaysian general elections will never be the same again.

There are more voters on the West Coast compared to in the Malay heartland and in East Malaysia

In short, Pakatan Harapan would forever be in power while Umno, PAS, Bersatu and the parties in East Malaysia would remain the opposition forever. Now that is what I would call electoral reforms. Ada berani tak?

So why not do this first and then hold GE15, say, in June or July 2023? Reduce the voting age to 18 and then limit the constituencies to 20,000 voters for state seats and 50,000 voters for parliament seats with a plus-minus 15% variation. Then Perikatan Nasional will get wiped out in GE15 even if Umno stays with Bersatu and PAS in the coalition.

Meanwhile, let’s wait to hear Umno President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s explanation this weekend regarding his and Najib Razak’s deal with Anwar Ibrahim and about the letter they sent to Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong urging His Majesty to sack Muhyiddin Yassin and replace him with Anwar as PM9.