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LETTER | I refer to the letter Who dares hold Umno to account?

“Let me define terms: hardball is clean, aggressive Machiavellian politics. It is the discipline of gaining and holding power, useful to any profession or undertaking, but practised most openly and unashamedly in the world of public affairs.” Chris Mathews

Manjit Bhatia ends his response to my article today with the provocative, “Who, indeed, holds the Umno demographic to account? In fact, who dares?" Here is the thing, though.

It is not the point of elections to hold demographics to account. While people may vote for Umno or BN for whatever reasons, the idea that elections are punitive is misguided, even if some think of them that way and elected representatives act this way through their electoral pledges.

The reason why the Umno state is afraid is because they realise that the Malay vote is split. The non-Malay vote is not with them and their coffers are drying up as evidenced by the numerous cutbacks of various public departments for funds needed for election purposes.

Elections, however flawed, have demonstrated that Umno can be held to account because not only have they lost a few states, lost their magical two- thirds majority but have also been sidetracked by what is happening in Sabah and Sarawak.

The role of Umno sycophants is not to hold the regime accountable. Like Manjit says, they are there to profit from the hegemon. The role of curbing Umno excess to an acceptable level has always been from within Umno.

The fact that Dr Mahathir Mohammad had failed in his attempts to topple Najib Abdul Razak from within has necessitated this whole new Bersatu outfit.

Saying that the Umno hegemon is untouchable and nobody dares take them on is misguided. Anwar Ibrahim did it with success when Pakatan Rakyat demonstrated that the hegemon is not invincible. Nobody ever thought this would ever happen, certainly not those in the Umno establishment.

If as Manjit argues, that there is nobody to hold Umno accountable or that nobody dares, why bother voting or even keeping the whole 1MDB issue in the spotlight? May as well just stick your head in the sand and wait for the day when the Islamic deep state takes over the country.

The reality is that Malaysians have shown that they can hold Umno to account. Elections have demonstrated that voting is an effective means to hamper Umno dominion.

While this may not be fast enough or radical enough for some people, the fact remains that Malaysians have seen change when it comes to an election in this country.

The point of my article was to remind the opposition that there are other strategies when it comes to dealing with the corruption of the Umno state that could and has played well with the rural voters who sustain Umno.

The trick is not being myopic. The trick is not believing that 1MDB is the magic bullet that would bring Umno down in the elections.

I believe and there is enough evidence that Malaysians whatever demographic they belong to, dare to challenge Umno's dominion. The trick is getting everyone onboard and not believing that the hegemon is invincible.

The real question is, is the opposition up to the challenge?

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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