Home TA Online Six state elections: Boon or bust for ‘unity government’?

Six state elections: Boon or bust for ‘unity government’?

Anwar faces a daunting challenge

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By jem

Isn’t it about time Umno got off its high horse and looked at the reality of what is happening in the country, instead of constantly harping about the DAP being part of the “unity government”?

It is annoying and brings out that sick-in-the-stomach feeling to read what some Umno members are saying.

Recently, Umno supreme council member Ahmad Maslan said that the party’s supporters should vote for DAP candidates in their areas in the upcoming state elections, as these candidates represent the unity government and not the DAP itself.

A few days later, he turned around and said that Umno members would not have to vote for the DAP as there was “no DAP or Umno logo on the ballot paper”. Instead, “there will only be a logo of the coalition” whether Pakatan Harapan (PH) or Barisan Nasional (BN) while their common opponent would be Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Then another Umno supreme council, Isham Jalil, said Umno supporters would be discouraged as there was too much praise for the DAP. He urged party leaders to “stop telling our people to vote for DAP”. Support for the party would erode if members felt pressured to support DAP candidates in the state polls, he added.

For goodness’ sake, it’s time all these Umno people wake up and smell the coffee! Umno lost big time in last November’s general election and had little choice but to join the unity government. It is time for the Umno people to look at the bigger picture.

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Yes, there is some bad blood between Umno and the DAP, but Umno is now part of the unity government. For the PH-led multi-coalition to continue to govern the country and not lose momentum, it needs to perform well in the six state elections.

Umno cannot afford to have a myopic view of the current political situation, especially with PN being smug about its chances of winning enough seats in the state elections to gain momentum ahead of the next general election. Do Umno party members not see that this could be the outcome if they continue to bicker among themselves?

Yes, there will also be new voters, the 18 to 23-year-olds who did not have the opportunity in the last general election. And yes, many – not necessarily just these new voters, but also voters who had voted before – are still undecided about the unity government.

Umno party members should realise they are part of the unity government and they are not fighting the elections under their party banner. They should look ahead and think about what would happen if they lose – they could well be the next opposition party before too long! Do they aspire to be in this position?

Umno party members should not make a ‘song and dance’ about the DAP but look at the bigger picture. They need to get out there and explain to the people that Umno has to depend on the unity government for its own political existence and survival.

They should explain to voters that the unity government represents everyone in Malaysia, including the people of Sabah and Sarawak. It is of paramount importance for the unity government to win, so that everyone in Malaysia will have a fairer and a more just and stable government.

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So, is having Umno, with Zahid Hamidi as its leader, in government a boon or a bust for the unity government?

We will find out when PH leader Anwar Ibrahim attends the Umno general assembly on 7-10 June, especially from how well he is treated and accepted. The same goes for other members of the unity government, if they are all included.

Meanwhile, Bersatu president Mahiaddin Yasin’s comments that he is ready to work with former party leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the sake of “race, religion and country” have raised eyebrows.

Both men seem to be making use of each other. Mahathir has had his day in the sun – he is no longer relevant, seeing how his party lost ignominiously in the last general election.

But Mahathir is not able to let go of the past and appears determined to become prime minister again somehow. He appears to have no compunction about working with someone he called a “traitor” not so long ago. But with the “traitor” now sharing his goals, Mahathir sees nothing wrong with joining hands with Mahiaddin again.

Anyone with a smattering of intelligence can see that these two are out to destroy the unity government. So do not be surprised if the manoeuvres haven’t started already, if the racial and religious rhetoric grows more vociferous. The aim, it would seem, is to scare the majority ethnic Malay community – that they might be marginalised by the unity government.

Hopefully, everyone will remember the widespread chaos, confusion and unhappiness in Malaysia in 2020. Mahathir walked out of the PH government and Mahiaddin hastened the collapse of the government through the backdoor, thus becoming PM – a short-lived tenure.

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Common sense tells us that the latest collaboration between the two is one of convenience – so that votes will be split and the unity government will come up short on numbers, sparking yet more uncertainty in the country.

Should this scenario happen, and many hope it will not, these two men will fight each other for the post of PM again. Nothing strange with this scenario in Malaysian politics.

The reality is the coming together of these two has got nothing to do with “race, religion and country” nor is it about the Malays being at a crossroads, as Mahiaddin put it. It is all about their own twisted ambitions.

If they succeed, it will be the downfall of Malaysia. They are rolling the dice and playing the people for fools.

Do the people of Malaysia, irrespective of race, religion and ethnicity, deserve this? We have something good going for the country now; so, let’s not screw it up!

jem is the pseudonym of a regular follower of Aliran

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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