We Malays love our heritage and our traditions, and for many of us from a previous era, that includes the wayang kulit.
To the uninitiated, wayang kulit is a play performed using shadows generated by light shone against puppet characters behind an all-white screen. Sadly, it has all but gone extinct.
It was a form of entertainment that was also lost to me personally, until I realised that a grand wayang kulit was presently playing itself out in real life.
Ah! Malay politics! Always entertaining. Until recently, we used to snigger quietly to ourselves that Umno was the “dalang” (puppet master), and MCA and MIC were its puppets.
How we, Malays, have enjoyed that show. It still plays, but the new show is more exciting!
Today, the dalang is Bersatu, and the puppet is Umno.
The former is clearly using the latter’s inherent lust for power for a dual purpose: to rule from behind the scenes, and more importantly, to destroy Umno once and for all. This will allow Bersatu to take over Umno’s mantle as the so-called protector of Malays, and by extension, Malaysia.
Umno must be so blinded by its lust to reclaim power that it cannot see the obvious.
Let me put matters into perspective.
When Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over Putrajaya, Umno was forced into the opposition. Almost immediately, Umno started to make a dent in the PH administration by acting as the rakyat’s voice and calling it out time and again for its numerous missteps. This allowed Barisan Nasional to take back several parliamentary and state seats at subsequent by-elections.
Then, the Sheraton Move took place, and Umno’s lust for immediate power overtook its legitimate political ambitions. The PH government was ousted and the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration was formed with a slim majority, purportedly in the name of Malay unity.
PN’s administration, however, was an absolute disaster and, embarrassingly, lasted only 17 months. Because of its slim majority, the PN government was, throughout its term in office, always on the brink of collapse.
In fact, it almost got thrown out in the third quarter of last year, and only survived by delaying the tabling of Budget 2021, which was passed by a narrow margin as late as Nov 26. It survived the first half of 2021 only by the undemocratic act of suspending Parliament altogether.
Today, again, by what looks like a slim majority, a PN 2.0 government is being proposed, with a key variation. It has an Umno man as its prime minister.
This government cannot be any more stable than its predecessor.
To get its present numbers, deals would have been struck behind the scenes. Some members of the outgoing PN administration will likely have to give up their positions to accommodate others in the reconstituted government. These members might be unhappy, and the ruling coalition runs the risk of them returning to the opposition. After all, in Malaysian politics these days, opportunity trumps loyalty.
In short, this proposed new PN 2.0 government, like its predecessor, will continue to be blighted by instability.
PN 2.0 is nothing more than a game of musical chairs. With Umno now seen to be in command, and with fresh elections looming within a year or so, the party will surely bear the brunt of all PN’s failings.
The party’s current plan is foolhardy. Already down to 38 MPs, Umno should use this time to recover lost seats in Parliament. Being part of PN 2.0 would be a grave mistake as it may lead to Umno’s own demise. Its leaders will only have themselves to blame then.
Worse than that, heading the PN 2.0 government will be suicidal for the party. Umno’s PM will be nothing more than a puppet, with Bersatu its puppet master.
At the end of the day, Umno risks going extinct by being part of this political wayang kulit.
Source : FMT