The dies is cast for UMNO
Incredible and preposterous as it may seem, the recently concluded Umno General Assembly sounded the death knell of the Grand Old Party’s future.
Racist and bigoted remarks still dominated the delegates’ speeches as they tried to outdo one another as to who was most ‘Umnoish’.
But, to be fair, the dominant Barisan Nasional party was not like this in the past.
One Umno veteran said that in the past a vote for Umno was a vote for moderation.
Not any more.
It has now become rabid, unpredictable and untrustworthy.
A volte-face on a promise to abolish the archaic Sedition Act, 1948 is the latest in a series of broken promises made by the party.
The Act is being used mercilessly to kill dissent and democratic rights in an attempt to silence opposition members and activists.
Realising the impending demise of the party and its coalition partners, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak promised to do away with the Sedition Act before GE13.
Under siege from within
But the disastrous performance in the last general elections, instead of injecting a conciliatory attitude, merely hardened hardcore party members’ resolve to not just keep the Act but to use it arbitrarily to silence growing human rights movements and vocal opposition members.
When Najib, who is Umno president, opened the General Assembly, he was a leader under siege.
Although full-frontal attacks on leaders are not kosher in Umno culture, the attacks were present, critical of his moderation and attempt at a more reconciliatory approach to the new political dynamics of the country.
For the old cronies and party apparatchiks, it was unthinkable that Umno was forced into a corner by the results of GE13.
And the only way, it resolved, was to claw its way out, using ancient tools and outdated methods of divide and rule.
Hiding behind a veil of moderation, it has even outsourced its bigotry and racism to such fringe organisations like Perkasa and Isma.
But the lack of incisive action against the leaders of these movements, who commit verbal atrocities on an almost daily dirty binge, reflects the impotence of Najib in reining in the old party warlords.
Financial scandal after scandal seems to hog the alternate media.
The 1MDB scandal now even threatens the very economic life of the country.
Yet the party, in its annual gathering, was only concerned with how the opposition and now the world found out about these embarrassing financial blunders.
And to deflect interest away from these life-threatening problems, delegates engaged in almost clownish and bigoted attacks on all and sundry.
But the most apocalyptic prophecy for Umno came from the right-wing organisation it supports, Perkasa. The organisation said, “…if Umno continues to fail Malays, Malays will teach Umno a lesson by leaving the party in the next election.”
It does not take a doctor in the house to come up with a prognosis for a terminally-ill patient.