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GE 15: Should Umno’s survival override the welfare of Malaysian voters?

By P Ramakrishnan

The Umno president is employing bully-boy and strong-arm tactics to force Ismail Sabri into an early election. With the help of the Umno Supreme Council, Umno leaders who are critical of the president are kicked out.

Umno President

Umno is acting very irresponsibly by putting pressure on the Prime Minister to dissolve Parliament in order to have early elections this year.

Will the PM Ismail Sabri buckle under this intense pressure exerted by certain Umno leaders?

Fear is being spread by the Umno Supreme Council by taking drastic measures to force Umno leaders and members to toe the line of those wanting an early election. Certain Umno leaders have either been suspended or sacked because they had been critical of the Umno president, Zahid Hamidi.

Umno Supreme Council has imposed a six-year suspension on former party strongman, Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, and Alor Star division chief, Yusof Ismail, and dismissed the former secretary of Umno Bandar Tun Razak. These harsh measures were taken to ensure that no other leader will dare to go public with his dissenting view critical of the party president.

With this six-year suspension, Tajuddin’s political career has been killed off effectively. He is 74 years old and when his suspension is lifted in six years’ time, he will be 80 years old – a time when other younger leaders will have replaced him.

Leaders and aspiring candidates in the forthcoming GE 15 will have to button up – otherwise they will not be fielded as candidates in the next election. This is one effective way to shut up critics and kill dissenting voices in Umno.

What does this reveal about Umno?

Umno will not brook any opposition within the party that espouses alternative views for the betterment of the country. All that the present leadership is interested in is to capture power and rule Malaysia forever! Anyone or anything in the way will be crushed ruthlessly and put away for good

Umno is selfish and self-serving in pushing for the GE 15 to be held this year which will coincide with the monsoon rains putting the lives of Malaysian voters at grave risk.

In pursuit of Umno’s triumphalism or its belief that its system is superior and should triumph over others, is it fair to voters?

Is Umno’s triumphalism conducive to the spirit of democracy? Do we encourage greater participation in the democratic process or deliberately diminish the opportunity for maximum participation in the democratic process?

Is Umno’s fate more important than the safety of Malaysians? This is the question that is bucking discerning Malaysians who are worried that Umno’s attempt to force an early election will disfranchise many Malaysians which is most unfair.

Is Umno’s fortune more compelling than upholding democratic traditions in holding elections which will provide maximum space and scope for voters to partake in electing a new government? Isn’t it the right of all Malaysians to exercise their democratic right to choose the government of their liking?

Shouldn’t Umno be concerned about the welfare of the voters and the well-being of the nation?  When Umno doesn’t show any such an abiding concern for what is right, it forfeits our support. It doesn’t deserve our votes.

Why push for an early election during the monsoon season?

Umno’s strategy is simple. Flooding means poor voter turnout. Poor voter turnout means advantage for Umno. They saw this working in Johor when the voter turnout was low and Umno securing only 43% of the votes sailed in to form the government.

They hope that this will be repeated to their advantage. They hope to capture power using the suffering of Malaysians in the rainy season to return to power. But do they need to make Malaysians suffer in order to form the government?

Umno is desperate to rescue those facing criminal charges and those who have been convicted. It is only when they are in power that things can be reversed to their benefit. Will Malaysians allow this?

We noticed how Apandi, the former Attorney General exonerated Najib of any wrongdoing in the 1MDB case. In spite of the mountainous and compelling evidence, Najib was cleared.

We witnessed how his successor, Tommy Thomas, brought charges against Najib that secured his conviction through the court process.

The same court process convicted Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, for corruption.

If it wasn’t for the change of government in 2018, this would not have happened.

Malaysians must ensure the return of the Harapan government in GE 15 so that the criminals will not be thrown a safety net to go free. This is our responsibility and duty as patriotic Malaysians.

Hopefully, Umno will remember the saying by former British Prime Minister William E. Gladstone that “Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race.”

(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)

First published in Aliran on 4 October 2022

P Ramakrishnan is the long-serving former president of Aliran who served three and a half decades on its executive committee, and has been with Aliran since its inception in 1977. Now an ordinary Aliran member, he continues to highlight issues of public interest to a larger audience.
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