Good ones stay in Umno, bad ones take a leap of faith

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

'Do remember that dishonesty and cowardice always have to be paid for. Don’t imagine that for years on end you can make yourself the boot-licking propagandist of the Soviet régime, or any other régime, and then suddenly return to mental decency. Once a whore, always a whore.'

- George Orwell, ‘As I Please: 1943-1945 Collected Essays, Journalism, and Letters’

COMMENT | Even as I write this, there will probably be more news of Umno members jumping ship.

A few well-connected businesspersons of Umno political operatives have been calling me, “advising” me that their benefactors are going to jump ship and they are now part of a new dawn of Malaysian politics. And please, do not get triggered by the term “well-connected businesspersons”. All political parties have these people.

I have lost track of how many Umno rats are leaving the sinking ship. Readers of Malaysiakini have been sending me, this bit (with smiley faces) from a piece I wrote in January of this year, about how Umno is afraid that Mahathir is still reshaping Umno.

“What is Bersatu if not a reception room for possible Umno candidates who would jump ship if they thought that a weakened Umno would implode or that the current Umno grand poobah would bring the house of cards down which would jeopardise their economic security with his fancy new executive powers if Umno suffered electoral setbacks in the upcoming elections?”

This the game we are committed to play. If you voted for Pakatan Harapan, you must have known this would happen. And if you did not know this would happen, then you prove what Churchill said that the best argument against democracy is having a five-minute conversation with the average voter.

The commentary of this phenomenon has been fascinating in the sense that some pundits act as if this was not the inevitable outcome of the moves by mainstream powerbrokers to oust Najib Abdul Razak. This was never about saving Malaysia but rather about dethroning a kleptocrat who emerged from the breeding ground of mainstream Malaysian politics.

When Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng reminded Terengganu Bersatu chief Razali Idris to remember his “rakan seperjuangan”, who exactly is he trying to fool? If anything, for most of the people in Bersatu, their comrades have always been the Umno folk who ruled this country since independence.

Umno is not merely about personalities. It is an ecosystem with various organisms which want to impose hegemony for collective profit. This ecosystem can operate under any banner. Bersatu was never part of the movement to reform Malaysia but they were a part of the movement to dethrone Najib.

Razali is right on two counts. The first is that DAP is afraid of a stronger Malay/Muslim voice in parliament. To be specific, they are afraid of a stronger far-right Malay/Muslim voice in their coalition. Any rational person would be. You know who else is worried?

PAS is also worried..

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