Some people learn from their own mistakes. Some from others mistakes. Some never learn at all. UMNO seems to fall into this last category.
The arrogance shown in the UMNO general assembly of 2005, the brandishment of the keris and the summary dismissal of the ASLI study statistics on Bumiputra equity ownership, subsequent harassment of the Indian community and other religious groups over their basic Human Rights and many other similar events in the last 4 years has resulted in a near collapse of the once unassailable hold on power that UMNO used to exercise. Is this not signal enough.
That ceratinly does not look like it. The latest in this series of continuing arrogant missteps is the harassment , bashing and bullying of Hindraf over the PWTC Raya open house function. UMNO calls for an open house, then they hound some who show up ( maybe with grievances) with trespassing and with illegal assembly. Does that make any sense at all? But yet that is exactly what UMNO has done.
What UMNO totally fails to realize is that their days of exercising raw muscle power over minority communities must stop, if they harbour any dreams of continuing to rule in Malaysia.. They have to understand that issues such as this cannot be made out into religious or racial issues wily-nily, just so that they can continue to have a reason to exist.
This cannot be the driving policy of the leading political party in the country.
Yet UMNO goes on, numb to all sensitivities and feelings of the minorities and to the common man as if all this is just a temporary aberration, and a change in leadership within UMNO will bring back the glory of the pre-Pak Lah days. Events in the future will show how wrong all this is if UMNO persists.
Much historical change has occurred in these last few years within Malaysia and ignoring all of this will only mean a postponement of the inevitable and finally when the inevitable does occur, it will be accompanied with a lot more pain. Malaysian society as a whole loses. Everyone of us will lose.
1) The world is more transparent now, you cannot hide as easily now as before – modes of communication have totally changed, there is a greater awareness of the issues and rights among the common people . This continues to increase by the day. This a sea change from the pre 2005 days. To think that you can do something and get away with it, is naïve and anachronistic.
2) The UMNOputras own a large chunk of the economy today. They cannot afford to act rashly as their purses will be badly hit by any ensuing instability. What has been achieved in the last 50 years by the UMNOPutras is all at stake. If they suffer the economy will suffer ,everyone suffers.
3) The Unipolar world is slowly shifting to a multipolar world. Centers of gravity are shifting, even as I write this piece. The new power equations arising in the world have significant economic and political implications to Malaysia. Can Malaysia ignore this. Any misstep in treatment of minorities in the country will easily blow up in the face of the Government in the International arena. Say what you will, but look at the show of support from the International community, that the various opposition forces are able to bring about , on the political situation in the country.
4) There is a significant realignment of the polity within the country – there is less of monolithic racial political groupings – even as UMNO tries very hard to achieve just that. The alignment seems to run now, more along class lines than it has ever in the past, even though it is getting there along ethnic groupings. Look at who the UMNO, MCA and MIC represent and who the PKR, PAS, DAP and Hindraf really represent.
5) Malaysian policy needs to be driven by patriotic considerations, not by narrow and selfish considerations of political survival of individual or groups or by the contention over who controls the resources of the country.
UMNOPutras must realize that what is happening is historic and not just a passing phenomenon. The problems cannot be treated at the level of the symptom – weak UMNO leadership, but should be treated at the level of the causes – the problems within our society , our economy and our governance.
To get the ball rolling in the direction of national interest UMNO must stop its bullying of minorities or others who feel deprived to start with - with its long arm of the Police, Secret Police, ISA, the Sedition Act, the Courts and the media and all the other instruments of power.
They should now immediately cease all the Hindraf bashing. Please realize the implications are beyond Hindraf. Everyone is looking on. Just look at all the people who either overtly or quietly feel that what Hindraf did was well within acceptable norms. The only ones taking exception are the UMNOPutras and their cronies and their media organs. If this bashing does not cease, then the inevitable conclusion that one must come to is that UMNO is certainly detrimental to Malaysia - they want to continue to bully the minority communities in the country.
United we stand
United we act.