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Would Malays vote for an Umno clone?

 | January 27, 2012

Why would the Malays give their votes to Pakatan when they know that Pakatan is committed to dismantling Ketuanan Melayu and mirroring Umno?

Would you as a Malay really give up the high ground and take your place on a level-playing field with the others?

The suspicion that the Malays will not, is a talking point among the non-Malays. As if among the Malays it is not!

We all – Malays and non-Malays – need to ask ourselves what will the Malays do when push comes to shove? This is a question we need to ask ourselves now.

Now rather than in the early hours of the morning when the critical results of the 13th general election start to come in.

Now rather than when we are faced again with the prospect of another term of Umno rule.

We need to ask ourselves this question now because Umno is banking on the Malays coming to their rescue because it needs the Malay votes to survive.

I have asked myself this question many times and until today I can only say this: “I am not sure”.

I am not sure if the Malays will give their votes to Pakatan Rakyat.

Why would the Malays give their votes to Pakatan when they know that Pakatan is committed to dismantling Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy)?

Why would the Malays give their votes to Pakatan when what they see within Pakatan mirrors what they see in Umno?

Najib or Anwar, it’s all the same

In Najib Tun Razak and Anwar Ibrahim, both Malays with unimpeachable Umno pedigree, the Malays can hardly see any discernible difference in the way they each manage their politics.

Self-interest and questionable personal ethics can be attributed to both of them.

What Anwar has ahead of Najib is a family that has been more a plus to his political ambitions when compared to the negative picture that Rosmah (Mansor, his wife) has ably demonstrated from the time of her self-accredited FLOM (First Lady of Malaysia) appointment.

In the past these doubts were only answered after the general election when the results were tabulated and an assessment made of who voted for whom.

In the last general election we know it was Sabah and Sarawak that dragged Umno and Barisan Nasional over the finishing line.

At that time the Malays took a more cavalier attitude of wanting to teach Umno a lesson – that the votes they cast against Umno was a “protest vote” against the corruption, the money politics, the duplicity and the arrogance of Umno.

Now the Malays know that that protest did not register in the Umno psyche. There is still corruption. There is still money politics. There is still duplicity and arrogance within Umno.

So now what will the Malays do?

Malays must decide

Will they really vote against Umno? Against their own kind? Against the only political organisation that promises to uphold the economic and religious interests of the Malays?

It will be a difficult decision for any Malay to make. It will be for Pakatan to provide a viable alternative to the politics of Umno.

For the Malays, I want to remind them that you cannot have your cake and eat it too.

You either choose to be one people with the others who call Malaysia their home or you opt for being first among equal – and this can only possibly happen under Umno.

I say possibly because despite Umno’s promise for Ketuanan Melayu, it has still not happened in its 50-over years of rule in Malaysia.

Does Umno really need another term in office to make it happen? Will Umno really have learnt its lesson after its “near death” experience in the run-up to this 13th general election?

What will the critical mass of Malays do to ensure victory for either Umno or Pakatan? Will they leave it in the laps of the Gods?

It would, however, help Pakatan’s cause if the Malay mass understood what it is they need to do.

Of course, it is presumptuous of me to think that Pakatan has not thought this possibility through.

But one fact remains. Instead of consolidating its gains from the 12th general election, Pakatan and their leader Anwar are now in a worse situation than they were after the 2008 polls.

You do not win a general election against the mighty Umno this way!

We want ABU

So let me reiterate this again. Pakatan must somehow unleash a tsunami of sorts against Umno if it wants to form the government after this general election.

What Pakatan is today is not even close to being a tsunami.

We want ABU (Anything But Umno)! We are ready for change. We need change.

But change to what?

Just as we have questioned the sanity of allowing Umno to continue with its rule over us, we are now questioning Pakatan as to what it will replace Umno with.

This is no unconditional support that we extend to Pakatan. Many are now of the opinion that it is better to be with the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

Many of us are not prepared to give Pakatan the “chance” to govern in the hope that it will do better than Umno.

Nothing thus far being put forward by Pakatan gives us too much hope for a better future under Pakatan.

There have been glimpses of promising possibilities in the states under Pakatan, but then these are to be expected. The people are not a forgiving and forgetting lot.

We know about the fight to try and claim the spoils of war in Selangor. We know how the PKR party elections were managed.

Ketuanan Melayu

We know that questions are still being asked about the veracity of your leader’s ability to do the right thing in his personal and public life.

And if truth be told, the first-tier leadership within Pakatan is more inclined to a “steady as she goes” style of politics than to give the rakyat what they aspire to – good governance with personal freedom and guaranteed liberty of the rakyat.

Time is of the essence. Do all this and I think the Malays will come on board by the millions.

That is the only way you could possibly draw them away from Umno. An Umno that promises them Ketuanan Melayu.

An Umno that promises to champion Islam. And an Umno that has the ability to make good its promise if, as it claims, the Malays returned the party to power.

In whatever way you may choose to look at this promise by Umno to the Malays, you cannot deny that it is one that the Malays will have to seriously ponder as we head towards our 13th general election.

CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.


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