The controversial blogger argues that defeating Umno in the polls will not change anything if the culture is allowed to thrive.
PETALING JAYA: The Anything But Umno or ABU clarion call should not be confined to vanquishing the political party in the polls but must also encompass the eradication of its pervasive culture.
According to controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, the tentacles of the Umno culture had also invaded key agencies such as the Election Commission (EC), police and military.
“Everywhere you look, you are touched by the Umno culture,” he told FMT in an interview.
“So when I say ‘ABU’, I am not talking about the Malay political party… I am talking about the Umno culture that has spread throughout and infiltrated every aspect of the country,” he said.
In view of this, Raja Petra pointed out that defeating Umno in the general election would not be sufficient to usher in change.
“If we just get rid of Umno and not the culture, nothing will change,” he said.
Furthermore, Raja Petra said the EC would never permit the opposition to win the election and seize control of Putrajaya.
“They will do all sorts of scams, schemes and cheating and fraud to make sure that Barisan (Nasional) does not lose,” he added.
Meanwhile, Raja Petra said a recent incident in Klang where a group of people disrupted an ABU gathering, hurling racial slurs at the Hindraf members present, showcased the Umno culture in the police force.
He added that the police did nothing to stop the mob, and reasoned that the local villagers were just upset with the presence of Hindraf members.
“What did the police do? They stood by and did nothing… The police said ‘they were not thugs, just unhappy kampung people because these Indian people are coming into this kampung… It’s a 100% Malay kampung and there are no Indians and then these Hindraf people from outside come and disturb this kampung, of course the kampung people are not happy, understandable’,” he said.
In short, he said, the police had argued that what the mob did was acceptable. “That’s Umno. Even the police are Umno,” he added.
Umno culture in Pakatan Raja Petra also claimed that the Umno culture was present in the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor government, with regard to a call for Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali to be banned from entering the state.
He said the call ran contrary to what the opposition had championed for decades, freedom of speech.
“I am no fan of Ibrahim Ali… but aren’t we the ones who have been saying for 20-30 years that ‘I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’.
“We say this when we criticise the government, then we have the state (Selangor) government, an opposition government which is now doing the exact things we criticise,” he added.
He also noted how the opposition was up in arms when similar calls were made against Bersih 2.0 chairperson S Ambiga, who led a mammoth rally for electoral reforms.
Delving into the history of ABU, Raja Petra said that former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad could be considered as the “initiator” of ABU.
He recalled that during a press conference in 2006, at the height of the rift between Mahathir and his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the former had urged Malaysians to vote for anyone but Umno.
“That is when we came up with ABU, Anything But Umno, which dovetailed with the term ‘Asalkan Bukan Umno’ coined by (activist) Hishamuddin Rais (previously),” he added.