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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A marriage on the rocks

 


Well, the Umno general assembly circus came to town and had their long-delayed whip-‘em-up-spirits revival meeting fuelled with fiery, scorching sermons, to praise the mother of all political parties, praise ... (I am not allowed to say the word).

The party served notice to the Perikatan Nasional government that it could only count on Umno’s support up to the next general election … which should be after Parliament meets, and Muhyiddin Yassin’s support is tested and found wanting in the august House.

When will that be? The government may say – Covid – that it is just as eager – Covid – to have elections – Covid – but it can’t because of… Covid. The consolation offered: be patient, only five months more till August. Last time, the emergency was two years you know, this time nothing.

Being a farsighted visionary as usual, Azmin Ali could see elections being held over two years from now when the Constitution demands it, the term is ending, time to be tested again.

I will, with the utmost reluctance, salute him (no, I won’t) if he can pull it off, holding off the elections past the outrage of the people (this is easy; just ignore the people as usual), and avoiding opposition in Parliament (unlikely).

Notice was also served on PKR and DAP – no collaboration.

DAP? Expected. It has been in-bred into Umno genes for generations – taunt 'DAP' and the instant reflex is bark, snarl, bare gums and teeth.

PKR – oh, Anwar Ibrahim, there is the response to your coy “preliminary talks”, if there ever were any – no more talk. And Anwar, please, no more talk about numbers. It’s obvious you have no head for figures.

The recent Umno general assembly

It should also be obvious, if you do have the numbers, you don’t talk about it lah, sounding a warning to your opponents. Just do it like the time you ousted deputy prime minister Ghafar Baba, when members of the cabinet assembled behind you, a loud and clear message to Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

One could see Anwar’s undelivered boast of majority support as propaganda warfare, get Umno paranoid and jumpy and looking over their shoulders. A classic fuel for political sandiwara is the musuh dalam selimut (enemy in the blanket). 

Umno has discovered quite a few enemies underneath their bedcovers in recent times, and it sticks in their craw they are consorting, for the moment, with those same enemies who have made their beds elsewhere.

'Show wee-wee'

There certainly was an air of a fevered witch hunt in the speeches at the Umno general assembly – references to snakes, moles leaking secrets, parasites and traitors. Sounds like the party needs to be fumigated.

Umno leaders, who were government ministers and heading GLCs, were challenged to show that they had not been gelded. Ayoh, no evolution from kids pulling their shorts down, I show you my wee-wee, you show me yours, see whose is longer, who is more jantan (male). For goodness sake, grow up, pump more blood to your brain than your groin.

It wasn’t all just basic political lexical insults. A staple fuel for a political sandiwara is a story of unrequited love, the ache of the heart, true love and virtue triumphant in the end. 

That strain of emotional narrative allowed Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki to wax lyrical about PAS’ insistence on consorting with Bersatu.

Liking it to PAS taking a second wife after a two-year marriage with Umno, Asyraf sobs his reluctant acceptance of PAS’ wayward affections:

"Who would have thought? Tears have not yet dried, the laughter hasn't faded, but a blossoming relationship had to be shared with another.

"With a heavy heart, we surrender to our friend's choice to bermadu, even though it hurts." Kesian, poor thing.

Asyraf can console himself with the thought that PAS can only wring his hands and plea for peace, while the first and second wives ignore him and spit spite at each other. Just you wait and see.

A collective will feed on each other’s spirit and enthusiasm, so the members inflated their hopes to a majority of the seats in the next general election. Easy, why not a two-thirds majority, how about 200 seats?

They wish.

What I fear is no one grouping commanding a majority, which means small parties and independents have a weightage of power and patronage far beyond their actual number.

And whatever coalition is cobbled together in the subsequent horse-trading will not be a “grand coalition” but a ramshackle contraption liable at any time to collapse when someone feels slighted or unrewarded. 

With more tedious politicking while they try to change the numbers. In the meantime, the rest of the country is… Sigh. - Mkini


THOR KAH HOONG is a veteran journalist.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of MMKtT.

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