Harsh reality of the new Najib refuseniks party

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“The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat.”

- Confucius

When I interviewed former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he still believed Umno was worth saving.

He said, “So the thing to do really is to change the people, not change the organisation. You can change the organisation slightly in order to avoid abuses, but no matter how well you word the constitution, the laws, the rules, there will be people who will abuse, interpret it in a different way and abuse the provisions. So we are seeing people who want to change the organisation structure, but the fault is the people who run it.”

The facts on the ground change, and because the refuseniks working in concert with a terribly fractured opposition have not been able to dislodge Chairman Najib, other stratagems have to be employed.

With this new party fronted by former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, it is clear that Mahathir no longer thinks that Umno is worth saving. While I have no problem with this sentiment, I think it strange that the former prime minster claims that it is the people running Umno who were at fault but creates a new organisation with some of those same people who were running Umno.

Commenting that there was no salvation amongst the Najib refuseniks, I took exception to Muhyiddin’s contention that Umno had lost its fighting spirit - “What fighting spirit is he talking about? Until recently, Umno has never had to fight for anything. An ineffective opposition, electoral sleights of hand and the reality that Umno buys its way out of every problem, has made Umno a cartel answerable only to itself.”

Now I have no problem with politicians having a road to Damascus moment. Indeed, when another former deputy premier, Anwar Ibrahim, had his and his subsequent tribulations, my scepticism went hand in hand with the optimism he generated by his actions and rhetoric. In those early days, he was much better at building bridges and despite what his detractors claim; he redefined the political landscape and made the opposition a viable alternative to the Umno regime.

However, Muhyiddin’s newfound political activism is a little different...

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