MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

All revolutions devour their own children


From Terence Netto

Unhappy political parties are like Tolstoy’s unhappy families; each is miserable in its own way.

Right now, Umno is feeling acutely miserable.

Ads by 

To be sure, Malaysia’s biggest political party has been plumbing the depths since May 2018 when it was ousted after a 61-year tenancy in power.

After six decades steering the ship of state, ouster from wielding the central levers of power saw Umno morose and unhappy.

Key leaders were indicted for corruption and, adding insult to injury, 15 MPs bolted from the Umno parliamentary stable for Bersatu.

Even a return to shared federal power, after 22 months of Pakatan Harapan governance, could not assuage Umno’s sense of being aggrieved.

Signs of Umno hitting the comeback trail, after victories in state polls in Melaka last November and Johor in March, were less a confirmation of imminent return to federal reins than a reminder of the limits of their writ.

In the Melaka poll, victory did not resolve the internecine feuding that had forced the election in the first place; in Johor, Umno was unable to position as menteri besar its candidate of choice.

It did not help that the MB-designate was a post-partisan and pragmatic leader, just the sort that Umno needs to re-position itself for a return to federal power.

It just could not get him emplaced.

This hamstrung Umno in April when, to entice a reluctant Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to go for an early election on the strength of hopeful polling trends in Melaka and Johor, the party made him poster boy of their campaign for GE15.

Ismail, an accidental prime minister, declined to fall for the ploy. He wants to continue as prime minister past GE15 regardless of his aptitude for the job.

This is another sign of Umno’s problems. Even the humdrum is ambitious to rise.

Presently, Ismail’s room for manoeuvre is being restricted by a party that is irate at what has happened in recent days — seeing its popular past president consigned to jail after a trial that large sections of Umno feel was a denial of due process.

Because the current president is on trial for corruption, and a slew of other officials, not to mention the wife of its former head honcho, are also in similar straits, a siege mentality has taken hold.

This is a dangerous delusion.

True, it’s hard not be affected by the poignance of a popular scion of the highly regarded second PM of the country, Abdul Razak Hussein, being thrown in jail.

This would be so only if you decline to see the past as prologue to the present.

In 1971, Razak initiated a break with the country’s preceding 13 years since independence with the New Economic Policy, a raft of social engineering schemes that went off the rails with each passing year of its implementation.

In its totality, it constituted a revolution — so radical was its break with what had been the socio-political situation in the country before the NEP’s launch.

The history-minded would say that there are laws in history, though these are not as iron-clad as the laws of physics.

Just as the moral arc of the universe bends towards justice, it is a maxim of history that revolutions devour their own children.

Ultimately, Najib Razak’s fate cannot be seen in isolation from the revolution his father had initiated.

A reflective rather than a delusively besieged Umno would best advise its favourite son that the best way out is always through. - FMT

Terence Netto is a senior journalist and an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.