By Izmil Amri (translated from an article first published on Roketkini)
Middle-aged, stocky, with moustaches that bristle — the group of Malay men who approached DAP Parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang at a night-time teh tarik session in Gombak recently could be said to be shy, almost sheepish, as they welcomed the arrival of the long-time DAP stalwart.
They had red t-shirts on, with the traditional Malay songkok perched high on their heads, a remnant of their identity as former Umno members —but the fiery colour of their clothes no longer reflect their feelings toward Lim, who have long been viewed as their arch-nemesis.
In fact, as the veteran opposition leader arrived, their manner was warm; their previously-held beliefs that Lim is communist, anti-Malay, anti-Islam, and a Chinese chauvinist left behind.
This is the courage it takes to pave the way for renewed unity, and that night — a session organised by the DAP but jointly-held with the new Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, led by former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad — it appeared that the old guards and old ways of Umno are slowly being shed.
Are the blinkers being removed from Malay eyes?
Those who attended the event that night had many questions to ask of the DAP leaders who were there. For decades, they’ve swallowed wholesale, without question, the lies fed to them by Umno, but now that they have left the party behind, the blinkers are being removed from their eyes, and what was once murky is becoming clearer.
Watching them peel back the layers of falsehoods and unfounded accusations amused me, a little, for the layers are being removed by those who had placed them there in the first place. At last, many of them admitted that the malicious lies thrown at Lim and the DAP all those years are untrue, and unfounded.
Some even asked: “What did DAP take from the Malays all this while, and what did Umno take from them?”
What baffles me is how long they took to realise the corruption that is entrenched within Umno, and why, even with all the information available to them now, did it take them so long to be convinced of the rot within Umno?
Even more baffling, however, is the ease in which Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak held court with hundreds of students at an event recently at University Malaya.
Dressed in a casual shirt, he looked the very picture of credibility, announcing his plans for the new Transformasi Nasional 2050 — his answer to Mahathir’s Vision 2020. He had every appearance of confidence, especially since the audience had probably been ‘filtered’ only for the easiest of questions and the least ‘troublesome’; a mockery of a true, open townhall that would probably have seen Najib face-off with Mahathir, even. But I digress.
The facade he put on gives every impression that he is confident that his TB50 would be hailed and acknowledged as his legacy in another 30 years.
But we need to remind our dear premier this: Yes, we believe in this nation and our shared values regardless of race, religion, and social status, but we cannot believe in you, Mr Prime Minister.
If the scores of hardcore former Umno members who once spat in the face of Lim Kit Siang are now flocking to form a new party, abandoning Umno and working together for a change, what more the educated and intellectual youth, who has the world at their fingertips?
Yes, the Malay mind is now opened, to read and ask and question every lie they have been fed all these years. Do not make the mistake of trying to force-feed the same lies to us… again. TN50 is about to see a transformation, and it is without the United Malays National Organisation.