Malaysiakini Opinion

What future is there for the coalition formerly known as BN?

Nathaniel Tan  |  Published on  |  Modified on

COMMENT | It’s a simple question: Do you want to be a viable government-in-waiting? Or are you content to remain in the opposition indefinitely?

Ultimately, this is what all the other questions facing former BN parties boil down to.

Sarawak BN has deserted the coalition, like Sabah BN before it. No one in MCA, MIC, or Gerakan has any genuine love for Umno.

Thus, I suppose Padang Rengas MP Nazri Abdul Aziz is right - BN is “gone.” At least BN 1.0, that is.

The question is, what comes next? All of the former BN parties, Umno included, seem to be struggling with this dilemma, and it’s not hard to understand why.

In the end, I believe there are two major ends of the spectrum as far as potential next steps go for these parties, especially on the peninsula.

Option A: Each party can exist exactly as it did before.

Option B: The parties can make some drastic internal changes.

I believe Option A leads to a long stint as the opposition, while Option B leads to becoming a potential government-in-waiting as early as the next general election.

Who’s to blame?

The original BN formula worked at the dawn of Malaysian independence - one party for each major ethnic group, with a fairly equitable distribution.

Over time, things became more and more Umno-centric. Towards the end, parties like MCA and MIC existed more to provide the external semblance of multiracialism - a paper-thin legitimisation of the BN government.

Everyone stayed in for the easy money though, which is what ultimately propped up the entire facade.

When the tap dried up, and it all inevitably came tumbling down, the component parties wasted no time in blaming each other.

So, which is it? Were MCA, MIC et cetera useless? Or did Umno drag them down?

The reality is that both were true. Non-Umno parties clung to the Umno rock to get elected, but that same rock eventually dragged the whole coalition down...

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