By Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
In this article, I will explain why a BN-PH electoral pact can re-engineer Malaysia back to its constitutional spirit against the rising tide of racial and religious over dominance of other forms of political coalitions.
Malaysians may find this article difficult to swallow, but from where I am standing, there is nothing that would stand in the way of Malaysia falling into the deepest hole that has no end in sight. It would be game over for Malaysians and the concept of Malaysia as we once knew it.
My analysis and arguments is dependent on one question and one question only. Who can control the Malay masses effectively?
Now, many may seem surprise at me asking this question as I am a 'Malaysian Malaysia' sort of personality in my writings. But I am also a realist and a pragmatic person when it comes to political analysis and thought.
Now, let us ask the question again, who controls the Malays? Before answering that question, let me take Malaysians back to 10 May 2018 when the Malaysia dream became true and the strong BN coalition was beaten.
The thing that shocked me a few months after that historic win was the back lash from the Malays. The WhatsApp messages were burning with hate news, fake news and extremist news fanned by Malay and Islamic social and political entities to the point that PH stood stupidly by without any response whatsoever.
The civil society unwittingly helped bring the PH down with their idealistic demands totally devoid of political strategy.
PKR could not manage the Malays. DAP is the last party on earth that the Malays would listen to. Amanah miserably failed to do anything at all in government and they did nothing of strategic worth after the PH fall. The 'friends of Amanah' like ABIM and IKRAM also did nothing except waited for their positions in governments.
The mosque burned with ceramah after ceramah and nothing was done to arrest that situation. I saw how PAS and Umno were in complete and undeniable control of university educated Malays, Madrasa educated Malays and less educated Malays. The 'liberal and progressive Malays' which has a minuscule number were busy joining the civil society attacking people like Maszlee.
From where I am standing, PAS and Umno are the undisputed managers of the Malays, whether liberal thinking Malays like it or not. With Islamic conservatism settling in the middle and upper middle class Malays, PAS has become the choice of the Malays and they have the ideological charisma to actually lead in the control of the race.
I truly believe that if PAS were to now insist that Hadi Awang be the Prime Minister, nothing can stop them. Who is going to stop PAS? PPBM? Sorry-lah but that party hardly has a decent grass root. Who can stop PAS? The Sheraton Movers? Sorry again but that group has no grassroots at all.
Who is to stop PAS? Umno? That party has lost its sting because it is split into three parts. Thus, from where I am standing, PAS can be the major player anytime of the week they choose to. Look at the Menteri Besar Kedah incidents, not a peep from PPBM to control that person. Look at the statements of PAS challenging the very spirit of democracy and the constitution of this country, who in government dares to speak against that party? PAS, to me, is the Big Boss now and PPBM's days are numbered.
Thus, with that scenario in place, let us look at the opposition to the suggested BN-PH electoral understanding. Warisan made an opposing stand but can it control the Malays after the election? DAP made an opposing stand, but that party is the last party to control the Malays. MUDA made an opposing stand but MUDA can't even register itself.
Amanah is making demands on PKR on this proposed link-up. Amanah? Seriously? What has Amanah contribute to controlling the Malays? The party can't even control itself and mobilize effectively.
So, if there is a different entity out there in Malaysia that can effectively control the Malays other than Umno and PAS, please stand up and be recognized.
Umno has only this one last chance to fight for its own dignity as the biggest and most influential Malay party. The party had bungled twice to control PPBM. They bungled once during the budget vote.
Tengku Razaleigh made so much noise but slink down under the table for abstention. The second time, Nazri made a lot of hoohah but was a few hours too late in taking away his allegiance before the PM got the Emergency Declaration. Habis cerita!
Umno now needs the BN to be stabilized as a dignified coalition. In order to look strong, it needs the PH to be an equal partner, not a member subservient to Anwar or anyone in PH.
If BN is reestablished and has an electoral understanding, then the Sabah and Sarawak parties will be able to see that there is a potential power play on the table, one that can manage the Malay masses.
There should not be talks of who the prime minister candidate will be. That must be decided after the election to see who controls more seats. BN does not work under PH. They must be equal partners. Let the electorates decide who has the majority seats.
The battle for the soul of Malaysia now hangs with the best strategic understanding, not ideological sense. I can see clearly that the country may have its first Ulamak PM as early as August 2021 if the BN-PH electoral understanding fail to materialize.
Life is funny. For 20 years Malaysians fought against Tun M as the evil leader to end up giving him a second chance at betraying again the people.
Now, Umno, which has been the cause of many problems in the country for the last 40 years, may be the one that can save Malaysia from sliding down a road of religious extremism that has absolutely no end at all. Well…no one said life was easy or fair, did they?
(Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor at a local university.)