UMNO, MCA and MIC needs to deconstruct and reconstruct. By his initial public pronouncements, Khairy Jamaludin seems to be one of the UMNO stalwarts who has a finger on the pulse of the changed Malaysian electorate. But, KJ's utterance that UMNO may need to consider transforming into a multiracial party may not be shared by other party members. It is likely that there will be significant numbers in UMNO who actually believe that it was all Najib's fault and, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Ketuanan Melayu and, the apa lagi Cina mahu narrative. The call by Ali Rustam for members not to contest the top positions is a reminder that the lessons of GE14 will take quite some time for UMNO to learn.
Meanwhile, MCA's leaders say that they will consider transforming into a multiracial party. The MIC appears to be licking its wounds without any significant pronouncements.
Before going further on this, let us be reminded that these Barisan Nasional component parties are very wealthy, with shareholdings in various corporations. And, these component parties have a very wide network of branches. With proper leadership and a new brand positioning they are more than capable of becoming a credible and formidable Opposition.
But, so far, there is no evidence of any transformation. These are early days.
If UMNO sticks with its Ketuanan Melayu and, the apa lagi Cina mahu narrative, UMNO will decline further.
If the MCA quickly transforms into a multiracial party, it has a good chance to come back to life.
Generally, the BN component parties must go beyond nitpicking. They have to be mindful of the rich ironies of their public pronouncements since May 9, 2018. So far, all their statements have been cringeworthy.
For example, when you hear UMNO leaders speak about the need for the Rule of Law you cannot help cringeing and recalling the following-
- 3 members of the 1MDB investigative team of the MACC Chief (Abdul Kassim), Bank Negara Governor (Zeti) and, Attorney-General (Gani Patail) were "neutralised";
- Gani Patail, in particular, was summarily removed;
- The Public Affairs Committee of the Parliament's report on 1MDB was declared an Official Secret, not available to the public;
- Jamal and the Red Shirts could do things with impunity while the Yellow-shirted Bersih was yanked on a super-short leash;
- And, the list goes on and on and on.
A senior colleague of mine made the observation 2 years ago, about how amazing it was that, in the Malay community there was hardly any moral outrage at the goings on in UMNO and its government. Well, it took a combination of Mahathir, Anwar, Lim Kit Siang, Wan Azizah and their team to spark the moral outrage that straddled all Malaysian communities at all levels.
That said, we should also temper our thoughts with the acknowledgment that even if 60% of the voters went with Pakatan Harapan and PAS, 40% stayed with UMNO-BN. And, 30% of the Malay vote went to PAS.
Inasmuch as Pakatan Harapan is figuring out what went right, UMNO-BN needs to take a brutally honest post-mortem on what went wrong. I know everyone who is anyone has a long litany of categorical bile to list out to UMNO-BN on what went wrong for them.
The problem is that within UMNO-BN there are still many, many who hold on to the belief that Ketuanan Melayu and, the apa lagi Cina mahu is still relevant.
MCA is attempting a new narrative. I don't see anything coherent yet. But it may come.
UMNO is the interesting one to watch. At the moment, it is highly doubtful that the current crop of UMNO leaders will abandon the Ketuanan Melayu and, the apa lagi Cina mahu narrative.
But, it's early days yet. And, let us remember that Malaysians now, well and truly, live in the era of Hope.