Why we shouldn’t fear the Dec 8 Umno-PAS rally

Opinion  |  Phar Kim Beng
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Theoretically, Umno and PAS have up to four million members in Malaysia, with at least three million of them with Umno (according to party stalwarts) and another million from PAS.

While the parties may have been strong in the early part of 1997, prior to the Asian Financial Crisis, over the last 20-odd years, Umno and PAS have slowly crumbled like a biscuit soaked in warm Milo.

Even if both parties can collectively rally their members to the anti-Icerd (International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) rally on Dec 8, Malaysians should be cautious, but not be cowed.

To begin with, like it or not, Umno and PAS have some decent members too. The fact that their leaders failed them does not mean that all party members are bad.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and incoming prime minister Anwar Ibrahim are formerly from Umno. As are several members of the current cabinet.

If splinter groups from Umno and PAS can produce decent entities like PKR, Amanah and finally Bersatu, it goes to show that not all Umno and PAS members are rotten. Given a decent chance to redeem themselves to help the country, they will heed the call.

Secondly, while Umno and PAS may have conspired to keep former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and his cronies and crooks in power since 2016, which is when lawsuits by the US Department of Justice had revealed money-laundering activities heavily involving 1MDB, there were a few party members who knew things were not right.

Questioning the 1MDB scandal led to the sacking of then Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin as well as the resignation of the party’s then vice-president Shafie Apdal, who went on to form Warisan in Sabah, which is a strategic alliance of Pakatan Harapan in Peninsular Malaysia.

Aside from Mahathir, the biggest coup of all involved former ministers Daim Zainuddin, Rafidah Aziz, Syed Hamid Albar and more recently, Mustapa Mohamed, who have all switched their alliance from Umno to Pakatan Harapan...

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