Umno in turmoil?


A series of unbelievable events have turned the table on an otherwise steady BN, particularly Umno.  Starting with the Hindraf movement (outlawed in 2008 ) then followed by Bersih in late 2007, they were generally accepted as a precursor to a tide turning 12th General Election in 8 March 2008.  The BN conceded defeat in 5 states (Kelantan, Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor) and KL Federal Territory, the richest and most developed states in Malaysia.

The MIC and Gerakan were virtually wiped out with their top leaders losing their seats.  The MCA did a little better but were left wondering what happened when they lost so badly in that election.  Umno was left hanging in the balance but Sarawak BN came to the rescue and delivered all the seats but one.  BN lost its 2/3 number of seats in the Parliament.

Shortly thereafter came the expected loss in Pematang Pauh by-elections to Anwar.  The next by-elections last month in Kuala Terengganu was an unexpected loss that dealt a major blow to BN and Umno when they lost even after throwing in a phenomenal amount of Federal monies as well as conceding the control of oil royalties back to the state.  The result of that by-election was very unexpected to Umno especially they were controlling the seat for two terms.

While the dust in KT was settling, we had an unprecedented announcement by the Chairman of Umno’s Disciplinary Board, Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen, who suggested boldly to remove all the wings of Umno to curb money politics.  Certainly, the rebuttal by all the wings and top leadership of Umno came squarely at him.  Even Umno Putera came to “illegally” demonstrate at the Umno HQ claiming to represent 2,500 members.  They were carrying placards declaring “The Disciplinary Board is senile,” “Don’t take away our rights” and “We reject the MACC, butt out!”

Umno Putera in Demonstration - picture from airkosong.com

Umno Putera in Demonstration - picture from airkosong.com

An interesting article was published by airkosong.com on this matter (read here).  This unfortunate event also made Tengku Razaleigh a.k.a. Kuli to vent his disappointment at these ill informed Umno members (read here).  Are they trying to tell us that corruption is the right of Umno, that MACC must not pry into Umno’s disciplinary affairs?  And the gall to accuse the Disciplinary Board of being senile!  Is the broad interpretation of these placards implying that Umno has really gone that far to accept corruption as the very fabric of the party and no one should interfere?  This is a strong test for the independence of MACC and it is upon Umno to prove such an independence.

Moving on, we then get the power shifting in Perak where the Bota Assemblyman from Umno, Nasarudin Hashim, switched over to PKR and a number of Bota divisions also followed suit just last week.  In response to this, the ex-Perak MB from Umno, Tajol, was forced to resigned and that put Najib promptly as Head of Umno Perak.

In retaliation, it appears that Umno (and also rumored to be led by Najib) is at the final stages of convincing 2 PKR Assemblymen, Jamaluddin Mat Radzi and Mohd Osman Jailu, to either switch to Umno or become an Independent first prior to joining Umno.  Pak Lah cannot keep his glee when he told the media of the possibility of the PKR defections although he stopped short of making definite confirmation but neither did he deny it (read here).

These two are scheduled to be standing trial on Feb 10 after being charged of a string of corruption charges which they claim was a setup.  If that is true, the truth will prevail and there is nothing for them to worry about.  The rumor mill says they are being courted to join Umno with a promise that the charges be dropped.  Strange that Umno wants “blemished” Assemblymen so desperately and even stranger that Umno can “unblemish” them so easily, if the claim be true (read here).

Next, word has it that the Perak Deputy Speaker from DAP, Hee, is also contemplating to move to MCA.  These news, if true, will cause a turmoil in Perak and may push towards a constitutional test very shortly.  The latest turnaround are a series of denials by Hee and one of the PKR “missing” Assemblyman, Jamaludin.

In a pre-emptive strike, the Perak State Assembly Speaker announced yesterday evening that he received faxed copies of the resignation letters of the two PKR assembly men (read here).  Whichever way any party will question the resignations, if they be true, a by-election will be held within 60 days.  Claims that these resignation letters were signed undated previously means nothing as the physical evidence is overwhelming – letter with their signature.  We see remnants of colonial management vestiges which have come in handy in such uncertain times to make things very certain indeed.  They have resigned no matter what they counter claim.

There is more desire now by PAS and DAP to get ready to force clarity in the entire Perak scene by suggesting for a State elections instead through making that request to the Sultan of Perak.  It is not good to have a State Government be in limbo and to face such turmoil since the Pakatan Government will not be able to govern in peace with threats of defections.  We shall see the wisdom of the Sultan in this matter very soon (for more, read DAP here and PAS here).  Perhaps a snap election for Perak may be the cure and let the people decide for themselves.

So is Umno in turmoil or not?  What has happened thus far is no figment of imagination.  Perhaps we are paying too much attention to the happenings of Umno but these are all real and urgent.  Najib is still the Deputy President of Umno and the March Umno Election is just around the corner.  These short days will feel like ages to him for sure!

And another thing that’s most definite.  Regardless if Najib becomes Umno President and then perhaps the PM of Malaysia thereafter, these tumultous events will not just go away.  It will continue to snowball unless Najib is able to somehow miraculously transform Umno and BN soon.

Otherwise, an impending shocking implosion may just occur!

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