Opinion

The real issue of the Umno-PAS union

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"Wherever the real power in a government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our governments, the real power lies in the majority of the community and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from the acts of government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents."

― James Madison

COMMENT | The Bangsa Malaysia propaganda will not save anyone from the far-right rhetoric of Umno and PAS. The real danger of the Umno-PAS union is not in their rhetoric – which is more potential policy proposals rather than empty polemics – but rather the reactionary nature of Pakatan Harapan’s response to this union.

Most Malay political operatives in Harapan cannot even bring themselves to utter the words 'Bangsa Malaysia'. The only people who use this term are the non-Malay political operatives in Harapan and their enablers that feed into the Malay far-right narratives of the loss of Malay political and economic power.

DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang is wrong when he claims that Harapan defeated the lies and hate of Umno-PAS and won GE14. What Harapan managed to do was just squeak past between the goalposts. Harapan is now deathly afraid because they do not hold the holy grail of Malaysian politics which is majority Malay support. This kind of thinking is misguided and does not reflect the reality of a post-May 9 Malaysia.

Umno-PAS, meanwhile, have to grapple with the reality that they will never be a force to be reckoned with in urban – non-Malay areas – because no matter how Harapan stumbles, the alternative of an Umno-PAS rule is worse than the failures of Harapan. What they can, and have done, is to ensure that Harapan Malay power structures conform to the narratives and policy proposals that they set and not to the egalitarian agenda that Harapan ran on.

When PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang claims that the reason why Umno and PAS are “getting married” is that they can rightfully reclaim rule over the non-Malays, this is neither controversial nor disingenuous. The much sought after Malay base probably think this way too which is why Malay political operatives do not bother countering this narrative with the Bangsa Malaysia propaganda. It didn’t take long for Umno and PAS to understand that there will never be a sole protector of Malay rights and Islam in this country anymore...

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