By Liew Chin Tong, MP for Kluang
The potential disintegration of Pakatan Rakyat would mean UMNO can continue its 60-year rule without challenge from a credible alternative or replacement. UMNO has ruled the country since the first Federal Election on 27th July 1955.
The 2008 and 2013 elections have clearly shown that Malaysia is now in a 50-50 two-coalition competition, as far as elections are concerned. Yet the ruling coalition led by UMNO is trying very hard to turn the clock back to a time when it was the sole power holder.
To turn the clock back, redelineation of electoral boundaries is high on the agenda of UMNO leaders and the Election Commission. A constitutional amendment with two-thirds majority approval is required to increase the number of parliamentary seats. But Barisan Nasional has only 134 seats, which is 14 seats away from the two-thirds threshold.
So how can UMNO do this?
Either a break-up of Pakatan Rakyat with PAS working with UMNO or a break-up of PAS with the UG (Unity Government) group aligning with UMNO would give Barisan Nasional the required number of votes in Parliament to change the electoral boundaries and increase the number of seats in its favour for the next general election.
UMNO’s fingerprints are everywhere in its overt and covert efforts to undermine and disintegrate Pakatan Rakyat through, among other things:
- The incarceration of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,
- The hudud overtures by the Federal Government and UMNO to the UG elements in PAS, and
- The overall heightened racial animosities promoted by Ministers like Ismail Sabri and media outlets controlled by UMNO such as Utusan Malaysia and TV3.
The jailing of Anwar Ibrahim is aimed at taking away the alternative Prime Ministerial candidate from Pakatan.
The hudud overtures by UMNO are meant to break either Pakatan Rakyat or PAS from the within. It is well-known that UMNO has no intention to implement hudud; why then it is so eager to push PAS towards hudud?
The break-up of Pakatan or disintegration of PAS would mean UMNO stands to gain from those who align themselves with UMNO via the UG project, especially in terms of seat redelineation.
And the continued heightening of racial animosities is aimed at projecting UMNO as the sole Malay saviour in the hope that UMNO would not lose in the coming election.
Understanding these dynamics would help us read the current scenarios better.
* Excerpts from a speech about the current political scenarios by DAP National Political Education Director and MP for Kluang Liew Chin Tong, delivered on Friday 27th February 2015 at a private meeting of diplomats