Jamal Sekinchan yesterday issued a statement to say that he is not interested in contesting the Sungai Besar by-election.
Well, it’s his party bosses who believe his candidacy would be too risky.
Jamal is a controversial and polarizing figure that not only alienates the Chinese but some pro-establishment Malays as well. And he has too many enemies.
On a separate note, as you can see from my poll results, there’s a sizeable segment of fence-sitters who are not committing either to the oppo or to BN, if Jamal were to contest.
The Umno candidate selection committee obviously prefers to maximize BN’s chances of picking up all the stray votes possible while at the same time avoid Chinese support from plummeting to rock bottom.
So rather than experimenting with Jamal, Umno is going to go for someone more middle ground who would be able to offer him/herself as an attractive enough alternative choice to the PAN or PAS options.
(Personally, since I’m someone who relishes crunching numbers and election data, I’d have loved a test on the degree of rightward surge as well as see how far BN can dispense with Chinese support — perhaps even altogether. But my academic curiosity will, alas, not be satisfied as Umno is playing safe because the stakes are too high.)
Putting up Jamal will have been a signal that Umno is prepared to embrace Himpunan Merah.
If Jamal had been picked, it’d have indicated the Najib administration taking the right fork on our path to the future. Like Austria, we’re in reality very close to pitching right but just falling short by a whisker.
But it looks like Najib still prefers to project his ‘Moderation’ approach in spite of the DAP being rabidly unhinged. Perhaps he is buoyed by the Sarawak landslide. He shouldn’t be. There’s no Umno in Sarawak,.
So the credit is to Adenan Satem and state BN anchor party PBB that notched a perfect record (winning every single seat it contested) as well as James Masing’s PRS with 11 wins out of 11.
Plus Sarawak is different from all the other states in Malaysia. It is the only state with a Christian majority.
I believe Adenan’s ban on the entry of the DAP evangelistas into Sarawak had blunted the political Christianity thrust of the DAP somewhat and unlike the Jerusubang Chinese, Sarawak’s native Christians are not as enamoured of DAP’s city harvesters.
Despite Najib sidestepping the Malay right, Malaysia’s tectonic plates are nonetheless shifting. BN power is increasingly a balanced three-legged stool — peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.
The two Borneo states are BN fixed deposits. Sarawak’s recent state election results speaks for itself.
Meanwhile, Sabah contributed 22 MPs in the last election compared to Johor’s 21. So Sabah was a stronger Umno state than Johor in 2013; in fact, the strongest.
And Sabah’s ascendancy over Johor will be even more pronounced come GE14. (Maybe we should have a third cabinet minister from Kota Belud in the reshuffle.)
In the peninsula, there is no doubt Najib needs the support of the religious right on top of some form of covert cooperation with PAS at the very least.
Jamal Sekinchan may be viewed as a Malay (race) right winger. He is however not a religious right winger.
The nativism trend is too strong for Najib to ignore, particularly if Donald Trump wins the American presidency in November and/or Marine Le Pen wins the French presidency next year.
There is usually some form of overlap between Race and Religion as we can see from the example of Europe’s surge to the right.
DAP are Christian Zionists in their politics and their behaviour as vicious as THIS (Israeli police violently tipping a handicapped Palestinian man out of his wheelchair).
Malaysia’s political fight is not so much Malay vs Chinese as Political Islam vs Political Christianity. Thus PAS makes a more effective opponent to the DAP than clueless Umno.
Umno just doesn’t get it, e.g. the party failed to register the significance of the anti-Najib gathering (so called Deklarasi Rakyat) being launched on Easter Sunday — a religious occasion which marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Boo Su-lyn’s whinging May 6 article in the Malay Mail that garnered 1k Facebook shares
Religion is a more potent factor than race.
It is not race that deters Malaysians from eating together. It is religion. And there’s nothing that Boo Su-lyn and her ilk can do about it.