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Demonising the opposition

 | December 8, 2011

Instead of using the opposition as its punching bag, Umno has to wisen up and engage in some soul-searching, that too if there is any of it left.

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The recently concluded Umno general assembly had the trappings of all things fake, from the speech and rhetorics of its president-cum-prime minister Najib Tun Razak to the personal hidden agendas of the delegates.

For Najib and the rest, the 62nd annual general assembly was nothing more than a misused platform to do the despicable – condemn and ridicule their adversaries, i.e. the opposition led by dethroned former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim.

Such immature acts of trying to so very hard to make an impression among the people that Umno has everyone’s interest at heart is pure gibberish. The truth is that Najib in all his desperation is playing to the gallery for the sake of his political survival.

Using the Umno general assembly to announce that the 13th general election is just round the corner is not going to win Najib and Barisan Nasional the rakyat’s votes, going by the track record of the premier, Umno and BN.

To childish attack on the opposition for one reason or another merely reflects Umno’s desperation and BN’s anxiety at the fate that awaits them at the coming national polls.

Still, Najib refuses to learn. He decided to mock DAP saying it knew all of Anwar’s secrets, only to end up earning DAP national chairman Karpal Singh’s wrath.

Karpal took Najib to task for the latter’s sardonic statement which the veteran lawyer said was unbecoming of a prime minister. Karpal also lambasted Najib for criticising Anwar’s decision to give an unsworn statement from the dock in the on-going sodomy II trial.

To the fearless Karpal, the statement by Najib which mocked a lawyer-client relationship created an impression that DAP was holding Anwar to political ransom.

Is “Anwar Ibrahim” the only ammunition Najib has in trying to win the people’s trust? Whatever happened to the recently-exposed controversy involving Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil who is embroiled in a multi-million ringgit scandal?

Umno has hidden agendas

There is no denying that Umno is all about hidden agendas. From the division head to the member of Parliament, everyone has only one goal in mind, which is to stay in power for as long possible. Does the rakyat’s welfare cross their minds? Hardly.

Had the people’s well-being mattered to Umno, Shahrizat who is also Wanita Umno chief would not have been spared the rod; instead she received support from Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin who is also deputy PM.

In his policy speech at the general assembly, Najib announced that only “winnable candidates” would be chosen to help in his ambitious move to turn Umno around. However, should he decide to retain politicians like Shahrizat who faces accusations of misusing the taxpayers’ money, what would that say of Najib’s promise to the rakyat, of putting the people first?

Najib had declined comments on whether Shahrizat would be dropped as a candidate in the coming general election. All he could say was: “We know how to handle it”.

Should the rakyat then take it to mean that Najib and Umno have only one objective, to continue to hold the reigns of Putrajaya, that too at the people’s expense?

Don’t fool the rakyat

At the Umno assembly too, the Umno Youth went on to say that it would not support candidates with blemished records i.e. tainted by money politics or those who used under-hand tactics to be nominated.

“We will support any winnable candidate but we hope they are not cable (connected) candidates, sympathy candidates, extorting candidates, or even golden handshake candidates,” so said Umno Youth assistant secretary Megat Firdaus Megat Junid.

He also suggested Umno leaders who become saboteurs to be severely punished. Did Megat Firdaus in any way allude to Shahrizat? Perhaps not, if one is to recall the little show of support for Shahrizat displayed by Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

Instead of using the opposition as its punching bag, Umno has to wisen up and engage in some soul-searching, that too if there is any of it left, to determine why it is no longer a party befitting of the rakyat’s trust and respect.

Meanwhile, castigating the opposition and its leaders is not going to help improve Umno’s standing in the eyes of Malaysians.

Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.


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