By Lim Kit Siang
The recently concluded and highly-choreographed 66th UMNO General Assembly has only served to underline one inescapable fact of Malaysian political life – that UMNO is incapable of change unless it is sent to the Opposition benches in the 13th General Elections.
Malaysian voters will do UMNO and the country a great national service by dispatching UMNO to the Opposition benches for they will not only be creating the necessary conditions before any “transformation” can be effected in UMNO, but also laying a firmer and more solid basis for greater maturity of the parliamentary democratic process by institutionalizing the two-coalition system and the peaceful alternation and transition of power through the democratic process.
Without these “building blocks”, Malaysia cannot even talk about wanting to be the “world’s best democracy” as had been claimed by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
In his Umno presidential address, Najib said:
“This election will shape the Malaysia of tomorrow to be inherited by our children. It will be a toss between a developed Malaysia based on shared values and goals or a backward Malaysia separated by invisible barriers compounded with suspicion and prejudice.”
Najib is right in the first sentence but wrong in the second when he implied that Malaysian voters in the next general elections must support UMNO/Barisan Nasional.
The question all Malaysians must be asking is what credentials and legitimacy have UMNO/BN to appeal for Malaysian support to promote “shared values and goals” when there are no “shared values and goals” in BN, with UMNO and MCA for instance openly inciting hatred and conflict with diametrically contradictory messages – UMNO telling the Malays that a vote for DAP is a vote for the oppression of the Malays while MCA warning the Chinese that a vote for the DAP is a vote for the oppression of the Chinese!
The Pakatan Rakyat parties of PKR, PAS and DAP do not hide our ideological differences whether on the question of Islamic state or hudud laws, but we are committed to put our differences aside and promote the PR Common Policy Framework to uphold the fundamental features of the Malaysian constitution, foster greater national unity, restore democracy and justice, and ensure good governance.
Pakatan Rakyat is also bound by the principle that there must be consensus among the three PR component parties before there could be any change in any agreed PR policy.
It is taboo for Pakatan Rakyat parties to campaign in the dishonest and unprincipled fashion like what UMNO and MCA are doing – UMNO blatantly lying that a vote for DAP is a vote for the oppression of the Malays while MCA shamelessly lying that a vote for the DAP is a vote for the oppression of the Chinese.
The lasting impression of the 66th UMNO General Assembly is not UMNO Wanita Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil’s raising of the “May 13” spectre; the subtle but irresponsible talk by the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin about “chaos” if UMNO is defeated by PR; Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob’s promise to cut off his ears if MCA loses Bentong to DAP or the claim by a Penang UMNO delegate that UMNO is “the party chosen by God”.
The dubious honour must go to Najib for providing the categorical testimony that he is incapable of implementing the whole raft of his “transformation” promises, starting with his 1Malaysia signature policy and slogan, and explaining why neither Najib nor any UMNO delegate said a word about the No. 1 problem in the country – the problem of corruption and cronyism which is even worse today under Najib than under the previous Prime Ministers as well as when compared to other countries, whether in ASEAN, Asia-Pacific or Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) which are chalking up progress in their anti-corruption efforts in recent years.
If UMNO is really to change and transform, it needs a spell in the Opposition!