DAP’s recent statements a blessing in disguise for Umno, says analyst
These issues created an opportunity for Umno to publicly call out its traditional rivals-turned ally in the unity government, by giving the perception it had not wavered from its cause of championing the interest of Malays and Muslims.
(FMT) – A political analyst sees a silver lining for Umno in the recent controversies sparked by DAP leaders, including their remarks on issues that touched on race and religion.
Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said the controversial statements by DAP leaders allowed Umno to boost its credentials as the defender of Islam and the Malays.
Last month, Beruas MP Ngeh Koo Ham’s proposal for the inclusion of a non-Muslim constitutional expert in a special committee to study conflicts between shariah laws and the Federal Constitution earned brickbats from Umno leaders.
It also drew a rebuke from the Selangor palace.
In November, Umno leaders, including Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi and Youth chief Dr Akmal Salleh hit out at DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang for saying that a non-Malay could become the prime minister.
Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur DAP chairman Tan Kok Wai’s call for local elections in the capital city did not sit well with Umno.
According to Azmi, these issues created an opportunity for Umno to publicly call out its traditional rivals-turned ally in the unity government, by giving the perception it had not wavered from its cause of championing the interest of Malays and Muslims.
“So these controversies sparked by DAP are a blessing in disguise,” he told FMT.
Azmi said these controversies also allowed Umno to counter claims by the opposition that it was submissive to the DAP.
“Umno proved that it was not cowed by DAP and showed that under the unity government, it was still relevant and able to safeguard the interest of the Malays.”
Last month, former Umno Supreme Council member Isham Jalil claimed the Malays were rejecting the party because it had deviated from its core principles and also because it was willing to be “DAP’s lackey”.
Meanwhile, Mazlan Ali of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) labelled the recent statements by DAP leaders as counterproductive to the government.
He said though such statements would create friction in the unity government, Umno was not expected to quit Anwar Ibrahim’s administration as a result.
“When DAP touches on such sensitive issues, it can cause anxiety not only among Umno members but also among the Malay community,” Mazlan told FMT.