By Kuik Cheng Kang, Sin Chew Daily
Something unusual happened during last week's "Perikatan Nasional Half-Year Administration Conference".
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Umno Youth chairman Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, who were supposed to address the participants, were nowhere in sight!
It was a show purportedly put up to portray PM Muhyiddin as the chief commander of the PN coalition in a snap election which could be held anytime.
The blatant absence of Umno leaders at the conference shows that the party while being a part of the PN government is sentimentally much more attached to BN and Muafakat, as it draws up a masterplan to helm the post-election government all alone.
Umno will continue to be with Muhyiddin and PN matter-of-factly, so long as Muhyiddin has not announced the dissolution of the Parliament. The moment the announcement is made, it's time for Umno to show the cards. Umno is about to fight the election war under the time-honored BN banner draped in a Muafakat blazer.
Whether the two sides will still work together depends solely on interest distribution and prevailing developments at that time.
Umno now agrees to let Muhyiddin continue to helm the post-election government if they win, but the actual election results will have the final say.
We have previously learned that Umno has proposed that Muhyiddin return to the party, which has been reportedly rejected by the PM.
According to reliable sources, Umno and PPBM are locked in stalemate over seat allocation.
PPBM won 12 out of 52 seats it contested in the last general election, and these were joined by 15 Umno elected reps who later defected. Umno has insisted to take back the 15 seats won by Umno but later shifted to PPBM's side, and the party is not prepared to give in!
In addition to these 15 seats, Azmin recently joined PPBM with nine others, and Umno is not going to allow them to defend these seats, either.
Where Umno is concerned, although Ahmad Zahid is still the party's president, he is not the only man to make a major decision. He will have to discuss this in a supreme council meeting. From what we understand, the Umno supreme council is currently dominated by people of Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Hishammuddin Hussein.
PAS appears more than happy to see the arm-wrestling between Umno and PPBM, as it sits there waiting for the windfall. As Umno is planning to kick PPBM out, PAS, whose ulterior motive is to set up a veritable Islamic state, is there waiting to gobble up Umno as well.
A wonderful thing about the Islamist party is its unparalleled patience. It can wait for generations and not in a hurry to claim the crown. Gauging from the increasingly Islamized big environment, we should be convinced that the party's clout in the conservative Malay society is getting growingly evident.
PAS is waiting for Umno to keep rotting in corruption to take the reins with the pretext of saving the nation in the name of Islam.
While the Malay politics now looks severely divided, none would abandon the Malay supremacy advocacy or Malay/Muslim grand unity, as they vie for dominance in this cause. The moderates will never get into the mainstream, as a matter of fact.
Against the backdrop of such power struggle among the Malays, I personally am more concerned about which way Chinese Malaysians, and the country we all love so much, will be headed to.
The Malays will feel less uneasy with Malay unity, but the Chinese will feel an increasing sense of insecurity!
Who will bother about the feelings of the local Chinese? Will the government and Malay leaders ever try to understand the basic needs of the Chinese — whose population ratio is seeing a gradual decline over the years — instead of allowing the Malay supremacists to keep taking on our multi-stream education in the name of "unity"?
From BN to PH and PN today, many of the cabinet ministers in successive administrations were Chinese educated. It is sheer bullshit to claim that Chinese Malaysians don't speak BM, and are unpatriotic.
If national schools have concentrated more on improving the quality of education and not to be excessively Islamized, there should be more Chinese parents willing to send their children to these schools. Even some of the Malay parents are beginning to send their children to Chinese schools today. There must be reasons for this, but has our government looked into them? What about religious schools, international and private schools? Are they all stumbling blocks to national unity, too?
Many well-to-do Chinese and Malay families are sending their children to international or private schools. Chinese schools are not their only choices. So please, stop blaming Chinese education specifically.
People do not send their children to Chinese schools for no reason. For sure national schools will be the priority for school children nationwide if they are good and they take care of the learning needs of all Malaysians irrespective of race.
Please, make our national schools a little more attractive, and not perpetually take on Chinese primary schools!
All parents wish to give their kids the best ever education they can afford. Education must not be reduced to a political tool. Let the parents decide what they want for their children's future!
The government's responsibility is to improve the country's education, not black or white shoes, nor creating intercommunity divisions in the name of promoting national unity.
Sadly our political parties have fought so hard among themselves for everything but the principles they once cherished, sacrificing the well-being and harmonious coexistence of our multicultural society in so doing.
Actually, choosing a government is like choosing a school; you'll get the support if you are good enough for the people!