Yes we all know it's time for a change, but will this 13th general election be the time?
It’s time! All around us the signs are unmistakable. You leave your house for work and your neighbour gives you the â€śthumbs upâ€ť and you smile and give him that upbeat nod with your head that says “ini kali lah” and a solid thumbs up in return.
Ini kali lah? But what if Umno cheats?
What if Umno contingency plans include a May 13-type putsch by radical element within Umno that would plunge our nation into chaos, mayhem and racial conflict?
If it comes to that, then they have not factored the fact that the Malaysia of today is not the Malaysia of 1969. Today the Chinese know that PAS will deploy its rank and file to protect its Chinese brothers without being asked.
Today the sight of any Malay running through the streets of Kuala Lumppur brandishing parang to look for non-Malays and non-Muslims to maim or kill would raise the ire of not only Malaysians but more comforting, of Malays too.
A May 13 scenario would not be the way to go for any radical element from any political persuasion bent upon creating a situation where advantage can be taken to take the government in the name of â€śnational securityâ€ť.
What dastardly deeds and â€śrancanganâ€ť have Umno cooked up with the Election Commission? They may well try what they have done successfully before: to tilt the election their way but mark my words, should the tide starts to turn against Umno, EC will jump through the hoops to ensure an â€śhonestâ€ť election.
They are all civil servants and they know where their bread is buttered. The civil service takes its cue from its political masters â€“ whoever that may be.
And if Pakatan Rakyat wins, the civil servants will stand at attention, feet together and salute Pakatan with a resounding â€śTabek Tuanâ€ť and happily take orders from their new political masters.
Is the Malay-dominated army prepared to do what radical Malays and Umno hope they will do to keep Umno in power, or will they, as they have done in the past, largely stay out of politics?
I think we have faith in our generals and our soldiers to do what is right for them and for our country. They are our army personnel, not Umno’s.
The police force will do the bidding of who they perceive shall be their political masters but this is moot. We will have to wait and see.
For now the police force and Umno are entwined in a fatal embrace that discredit both parties in the eyes of the people.
Let us hope that there are enough responsible leaders within the police force to do the right thing by our nation.
Dubious voters at play
Will the â€śpendatangsâ€ť (immigrants) be able to cast their vote for Umno? If given the necessary protection by the police, they will try. Without such protection, they will melt back into the black hole that they have come from.
But we must not forget that we were all â€śpendatangsâ€ť once. The situation these â€śpendatangsâ€ť now find themselves in is intolerable for them and for us. They are beholden to Umno for their right to stay in Malaysia but their ties with Umno hold no permanency.
This is where Umno’s thinking is flawed. BRIM is a done deal. And so is giving the right of abode to the â€śpendatangsâ€ť. Now tell me, having got what they want, why would the recipients of BRIM and the â€śpendatangsâ€ť vote Umno now? â€śMereka selalunya pun mudah lupa!â€ť
Will the Malays give their votes to Umno this time around? The question should really be: will there be enough Malays who want change?
Malay youths too want change: this is obvious from the rumblings coming from the universities and places of higher learning. The young will want change.
Will the Indians and Hindraf make a difference? The Indians must have their usual song-and-dance act but in the end I believe they will err on the side of right â€“ as their heart dictates â€“ as they did in the 12th general election.
Hindraf will go the way S Samy Vellu went â€“ he tried to go back to Sungai Siput and was told that Sungai Siput did not want him anymore.
Will the Chinese give their votes back to Umno in the belief that a strong Umno makes for good business? Not this time! I am confident of it because when all is said and done, the Chinese are pragmatic people.
They have done their sums. MCA is no longer relevant as far as the Chinese are concerned. Today for the Chinese it is change. It is real change that they want for they know that without real change the burden they will continue to carry for all Malaysians may just prove to be too much and Australia, America, Canada and Europe may prove to be more welcoming of their enterprise.
Will the Christians vote Umno? In a word â€śNo!â€ť.
WIll Taib Mahmud deliver Sarawak’s votes to BN as he has done in the past? Whether he delivers or not, one thing is certain. This corrupt and avaricious chief minister may or may not even see 2013 through as chief minister of Sarawak. Win or lose, Umno will not want Taib around any longer than necessary.
Will Sabah political kingpins take a punt and put their lot with BN for the rewards that such a punt will bring to them? Usually Umno or Pakatan will not make a difference to them. We can only hope that new leaders with new values will emerge from within Sabah that has the interest of Sabah and its people above their own.
So many ifs, so many possibilities and so many permutations of this and that â€“ so many questions to be answered that maybe, even the day after May 5, even after all the results are in and tabulated â€“ even after the victor is officially declared, we may still be without an effective government.
In truth no one, not the first tier Malays, not the oligarchs, not the warlords of Umno, MCA or MIC or any political party are safe and immune to the changes that will come.
Yes we know it’s time, but will this 13th general election be the time?
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyatâ€™s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.