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Umno digging its own grave

  • Umno has deflected from the path of moderation as it makes no effort to woo back its lost support.

Sin Chew Daily

In under 24 hours, two senior Umno leaders -- former international trade and industry minister Mustapa Mohamed and former foreign minister Anifah Aman -- have left the party.

The close contacts between Umno and PAS in recent weeks, including Umno top leaders showing up at PAS muktamar, have prompted these two relatively moderate Umno leaders to finalize their exit plans.

Both Mustapa and Anifah are members of parliament, and their departure has brought the number of MPs quitting Umno after GE14 to five, and further slashed the number of Umno MPs to 49.

Will there be more in the days to come? How will the Umno leadership view the current wave of exodus? Any new development henceforth is bound to impact the country's political landscape.

In his statement, Mustapa said he made up his mind seeing that Umno's current direction is no longer consistent with what he has always believed, and that there are few signs the leaders are putting sufficient effort to revive the party.

Meanwhile, Anifah said he left because he wanted to defend the rights of Sabahans, and he has earlier expressed his support for PM Mahathir's statement on equal partner status for Sabah and Sarawak.

As a matter of fact, many Umno leaders hold the same views as Mustapa. Despite a change in leadership post-GE14, Umno has so far not set a goal for its future.

Having failed in its bid to form an alliance with PAS, Umno is now looking at other parties in hope of seeking a shortcut to return to the core of power, without making an attempt to restore the lost public confidence.

Umno should at least show to the grassroots that the party is putting some effort to reform itself. Lacking of this gesture has no doubt frustrated many party members.

Mustapa has as early as May openly criticized the existence of warlords in the party. These people are arrogant, brazenly practicing money politics and boosting their own support through racist politics.

Former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has said party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi should take full responsibility for the exodus. Unfortunately his predecessor Najib has come to his defence.

Certain supreme council leaders have also accused Pakatan Harapan of spreading rumors to hurt Umno's morale. And Lokman Adam says this provides an opportunity for Umno to clean up the house so that the party can start afresh after the departure of those unhappy with Umno-PAS cooperation.

What he says is putting more chill in the moderate leaders in Umno.

Umno has deflected from the path of moderation as it makes no effort to woo back the lost support from Muslim Malays and other ethnic communities. The party leadership even condones the acts of some grassroots leaders playing the racist religious cards.

This will only make Umno and BN increasingly irrelevant in this country and remotely likely to return to Putrajaya in near future.



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