The “marriage” between Umno and PAS must be read together with Umno’s impending “divorce” with its two wives, MCA and MIC.
Whether the break-up of Barisan Nasional is real or just a drama, Umno and PAS are already attacking Pakatan Harapan (PH) from the Malay flank while MCA and MIC are attacking from the non-Malay flank.
This ethnic flank attack shows that a “scorched earth policy” is now being deployed. “Scorched earth policy” refers to a strategy of deliberately destroying everything in an attempt to win at all costs. As always with such cruel deeds, it is the ordinary people who will suffer the most.
Their aim is meant to make Malaysia “ungovernable” for PH because the popularly elected government will have to deal with angry ethnic fires fanned from both the Malay front and the non-Malay side.
The demands from both sides will be contradictory, hostile and explosive. The objective of such a “flank attack” is to make both Malays and non-Malays feel aggravated and deprived. Everything will be framed in racial binary terms.
The aim is also to break PH’s multiethnic coalition from within, as the centre may not hold due to contradictory demands from the flanks.
The marriage of Umno and PAS allows this new racial pact to paint everything bad against Malaysians who are neither Malays nor Muslims. They no longer need to pretend to be centrist since MCA and MIC are allegedly no longer their official allies and vice versa.
In this setting, there is no way that PH can “out-Malay” Umno, “out-Islam” PAS, “out-Chinese” MCA and “out-Indian” MIC.
But there is a light of hope in this politics of darkness. Malaysia has great potential as a nation united for better things to come.
For the Malaysia Baru experiment to succeed, PH must emerge as a people’s movement. The people should not assume that since they voted on May 9, 2018, it is now time to sit back and watch. The struggle is not over yet.
For Malaysians who believe that Malaysia does not need to be torn apart racially, those who believe that GE14 was a turning point to build lasting prosperity and peace for all, and those who want Malaysia to stand tall in the eyes of the world, we must stand together and we must form a movement to counter the divisive and racial “movement strategy” of Umno-PAS and MCA-MIC.
Besides many in Peninsular Malaysia, I know that our brothers and sisters in Sabah and Sarawak, both Muslims and non-Muslims, are looking forward to a Malaysia Baru that is inclusive, caring and sharing; a nation that rejects religious extremism and promotes solidarity.
Both the Umno-PAS and MCA-MIC pacts stand for spreading racial fires. The PH movement represents peace, spiritual strength, religious tolerance, prosperity, upward mobility and progress for all.
Liew Chin Tong is deputy defence minister and DAP national political education director.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.