Umno should cut its losses, write-off Protun and off-set with PAS support
Blogger Annie had written a post titled ‘The end of moderation‘ on the morning after (6 May 2013) the Chinese tsunami.
Annie wrote: “The ‘Chinese revolt’, as so proudly predicted by the DAP cybertroopers did come true and it swept through the State [of Johor]”.
Annie said the Chinese community had “totally snubbed” outgoing Johor MB Ghani Othman, causing him to lose in his face-off with Kit Siang in Gelang Patah.
Annie added: “The Malays, who feel jealous with his attempts to assist the Chinese punished him. The Indian community just stabbed him in the back for no real reason.”
Annie further said:
“And that’s the fate of a man who believes in moderation and being judged by his track record instead of the color of his skin.
“It’s the same fate that befell Prime Minister DS Najib Razak, whose moderate ‘1Malaysia’ and BN’s ‘kongsi’ concepts were rejected.”
Chinese spat in face of the Malays — Annie
Explaining the Chinese tsunami, Annie said, “The Chinese community’s rejection of those concepts was total. They rejected the hands of friendship of moderate Malays such as Ghani and Najib.”
Annie believed that “the Chinese community had not only refused to accept the friendship of the moderate Malays, but they spit in their face”.
Annie lamented the polls outcome for “the loss of my belief in the concept of moderation”.
“I’m also bitter for my failure of not seeing how the Chinese community could totally refuse to share this country with the Malays.
There’s no dialing back, the course is set
Almost 90 percent Chinese throwing their support behind the opposition in GE13 has led to the impending GE14 situation of Umno-BN vs DAP-Harapan.
The two anchor parties are a proxy for the political battle between Malays and Chinese. Winner takes all.
In the ‘either you are with us or against us’ equation, today 95 percent of the Chinese are not with MCA. They’re do-or-die against the BN.
Okay, now let’s have a look at Annie’s piece yesterday titled ‘Johor Umno has no need for gung-ho soundbites‘.
Do please remember that Annie had earlier said the moderate ‘Johor Way’ had died on the night of 5 May 2013. Annie’s words: “they [Chinese] spit in their [moderate Malays] face“.
There is nothing moderate about the Chinese 95:5 partisanship. Moderate is 55:45 or 60:40 where a check-and-balance can operate. At 95 percent, it’s just a steamroller.
ABOVE: “This is Sparta!” … die
Johor Umno and “gung ho soundbite” of YB Kempas
In Annie’s blog posting yesterday responding to me, the crux of the matter (as presented by Annie) is whether Umno men in Johor who are not with Najib as well as those in the Protun gang generally should be “chopped off”.
Annie’s answer is ‘No’.
My view is ‘Yes’.
The truth of the matter is that Muhyiddin, who is Umno Pagoh-Johor division chief, has already been “chopped off” — sacked as DPM, removed from Cabinet and blocked from speaking at the recent Umno general assembly. This is a fiat accompli.
On the other hand, emanating from the anti-Najib camp is only bluster “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.
Adun Kempas YB Tengku Putra Jumat is a Projib patriot. He has urged his party president to “take no prisoners”. I agree.
BELOW: Muhyiddin expressing his disaffection
No quarters given, no quarters asked
Annie described the Umno MP for Pulai, “the rather liberal Nurjazlan” as being “biologically just a quarter Malay”. His mother is of Chinese descent.
Nonetheless having all that Chinese heritage did not soften the heart of the Chinese voters who gave Nur Jazlan the tsunami treatment anyhow. He survived but with a much reduced majority.
Raja Nong Chik – who also trotted out his Chinese wife during the election campaign – failed to unseat Nurul Izzah in Lembah Pantai.
Umno Chinese moms and Chinese wives cut no ice with the Chinese electorate.
It is the same with the Umno Malays who are now stridently anti-Najib. Nothing can persuade them otherwise. Tun is the embodiment of ‘No retreat, no surrender’.
Umno should take protective and preventive measures by jettisoning the anti-Najib and the Protun. Throw them overboard. That’s just politics.
Politics is war
Do recall what Annie wrote in the aftermath of the last general election — “The end of moderation”.
“It marks the death of the moderate ‘Johor way’,” Annie had said. And wasn’t ABU-“Ini kali lah” an all-out war on Umno?
Yet Annie argued yesterday, “Johor Umno that I knew didn’t rely on being macho or gung-ho to win elections. It relies on being dignified, service-oriented and upholding good values to win over the hearts and minds of the people, especially the Johor Malays.”
Yes, make them walk the plank
Annie also hoped “everyone including Helen can stop making nonsensical soundbites such as ‘This is Umno Johor! ‘We take no prisoners’.”
It is rather rich of Annie to accuse Helen of being making gung-ho soundbites when it was Annie who had announced the end of moderation and the death of the moderate ‘Johor way’.
But never mind.
We preceed. I shall now approach the question of whether Umno should take the approach proposed by Annie, i.e.
“dignified, service-oriented and upholding good values to win over the hearts and minds of the people”
or the approach suggested by YB Kempas – “take no prisoners”.
Let’s be realistic lah, shall we?
I’ll go with Tengku Putra Jumat’s idea, i.e. guns blazing. After all, I’ve been saying that Najib must be a war general.
I do not see how Umno will be able to “win over the hearts and minds of the people” – as suggested by Annie – while Tun the Wrecking Ball keeps swinging and knocking over everything in sight.
Tun has embarked on total warfare against Najib. He may be 90 years old but in this confrontation, he is the aggressor.
Annie’s ‘handsome old man’ is even willing to see Umno deregistered if this was what it takes to topple Najib. In the pursuit of his vendetta, the always interfering ex-premier is like a man possessed (dirasuk).
Umno people must choose their side
Be “dignified”, Annie says. That’s far from what’s happening currently. It’s a brawl out there. And it can only get worse the closer we get to GE14.
The Red Bean Army are equally destructive. And Tun rubbed shoulders with them at Bersih 4.0! (twice!)
If the rebels still refuse to get on with the programme, then we can’t blame Najib for refusing to give them the kid glove treatment.
A war general or admiral has to run a tight ship. With only two years-and-four months to go before the 14th general election must be held, there is no room for dissent on deck.
No point being nice and accommodating
There are six Parliament seats in Johor where the current BN majority is shaky. The element in common is that all have a significant percentage of Chinese voters.
- Labis (MCA) – 353 vote majority – 47% Chinese voters
- Segamat (MIC) – 1,217 – 46 percent
- Ledang (Umno) – 1,967 – 41 percent
- Pasir Gudang (Umno) – 935 – 38 percent
- Tebrau (MCA) – 1,767 – 38 percent
- Muar (Umno) – 1,646 – 35 percent
As a comparison, Batu Pahat – lost by Umno’s then Deputy Education Minister Puad Zarkashi – has 46 percent Chinese voters. Puad’s opponent had a winning majority of 1,732 votes.
Will any Umno-BN candidate striving to be “dignified, service-oriented and upholding good values” (as per Annie’s admonishment) be able to sway the Chinese voters? Nope.
Raja Nong Chik was service-oriented. Nurul Izzah is hardly ever glimpsed in her constituency; she’s more busy flying around the world to lobby for daddy’s release from jail. Nong Chik lost to her.
The Chinese voters don’t care about dignity (think Tian Chua and his biting policemen), service-orientation or “good values” (sneaky bastard MPs are okay, what). They just want to kill Umno.
When someone is hell-bent on killing you, how can you shy away from taking an adversarial stance in self-defence?
Tun is the de facto Opposition Leader
There’s no hope of recovering the Chinese vote. Now what about the Malay fence-sitters, as in the Protun voters?
Annie wrote yesterday, “I once heard [Johor Menteri Besar] Khaled said (sic) that 83 percent of Malays in the state voted for BN in the last general election, which was why the state didn’t fall to the opposition despite the massive Chinese tsunami on polling day”.
This reported claim by MB Khaled that Umno drew 83 percent Malay support in Johor is quite believable. See my calculations below in the endnote*.
The issue at hand is how far the sizeable pro-establishment Malays in Johor would boycott Umno in GE14 due to either their unhappiness with Najib or loyalty to Tun.
It’s reasonable to assume that Tun would be able to successfully bleed away some Malay support from Umno. In Johor, there might also be a slight dissatisfaction due to the Muhyiddin factor.
I would however evaluate the hardcore Protun people as just like the Chinese … no hope, no cure.
Najib had bent over backwards to try and appease the Chinese but to no avail. Similarly with Protun. No amount of explanation on 1MDB will be able to satisfy them.
Their attitude, e.g. calling for Najib’s resignation and for Malaysia to be ruled by an unelected tribunal or Council of Elders, is just like Kit Siang and the DAP.
Hence Umno should consider that support from the Tun segment – just like support from Chinese – cannot be recovered. It’s more strategic to work on alternatives to make up the shortfall in Malay support caused by Tun’s relentless attacks on Najib and Umno.
Learn from history. Tun’s attack on Dollah Badawi contributed to BN losing its two-thirds majority in 2008. He did not back off even though the damage inflicted on Umno and BN was considerable.
Likewise, Tun will not back off from attacking Najib and he will continue with his attacks right up to 2018. Hence Najib should treat Tun as an opponent who is aligned with the objectives of the opposition.
Annie is wrong to keep coddling the “handsome old man”.
Building a new alliance with PAS
Let’s project a GE14 scenario in Johor. We shall assume that Umno’s Nur Jazlan will defend his Pulai seat in 2018.
He might be fighting Salahuddin Ayub in a rematch, let’s say. But this time, Salahuddin is deputy president of PAN, having already deserted PAS.
The contest in Pulai, thus, is (a) Umno vs PAN in straight fight or (b) Umno vs PAS vs PKR in a three-cornered fight.
PAS is staying out after having reached an agreement to cooperate with Umno.
Nur Jazlan will possibly lose some Malay votes due to unhappiness with Najib and Umno. These are abstention votes: Umno’s loss but not necessarily the opposition’s gain.
Salahuddin will likely keep all the Chinese votes and could perhaps even gain a couple percents more. But he loses those Malay votes he obtained the last time as a PAS candidate because PAS and PAN are enemies.
Could Protun or PAS Malays be persuaded to support a PAN man? I think not.
But even if the Protuns merajuk to the extent of crossing over to the opposition, I believe that the shift by PAS Malays (voting against Harapan as an anti-DAP protest move) to the side of the establishment will outweigh the shift by Mahathir supporters crossing over to the opposition.
In the balance of things, I assess that it is just as futile for Najib to extend an olive branch to the Tun camp as it was to have tried and make peace with the Chinese in the last election. Any such peace overture will not be reciprocated.
As for Tun’s fans and followers, if they were willing to be objective, they would realise and acknowledge that it is their icon’s own actions that are torpedoing the BN.
So rather than trying to appease the Tun renegades, it is really more tactical to work on winning the heart and mind of potential converts from PAS.
Najib cannot afford to waste any more time on the rebels. Give them an ultimatum to return to the fold. If they choose not to do so, declare open season.