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Umno's demise almost a sure thing now

  • Mahathir is the ultimate terminator of Umno presidents, and has three in his hit list so far. Photo courtesy: Bernama

By LIM SUE GOAN
Sin Chew Daily

Umno has been hit by a string of setbacks since it was defeated in the general elections, beginning with the prosecution of its former president Najib Razak and the resignation of several of its elected reps, and now party president Ahmad Zahid being charged with 45 counts of breach of trust, bribery and money laundering.

The ailing party could very likely go bust because of all this.

In order to survive, Ahmad Zahid has shamelessly sought to meet Tun Mahathir earlier in hope of getting the latter's agreement to form a coalition government with PH component parties. This hope is as good as gone, now that the Umno president is slapped with the charges.

We can say that Ahmad Zahid once again gets beaten by Mahathir, after a similar fate back in 1998 when the then Youth chairman was arrested under ISA for accusing Mahathir of practicing nepotism in a show of support for Anwar Ibrahim.

The two men have been exchanging fires ever since Mahathir broke ranks with Najib and formed his own party PPBM.

Ahmad Zahid, then the home minister, claimed that Mahathir had Indian blood and openly questioned his blue IC number. Mahathir hit back by alleging that Zahid had RM230 million in his bank account when he was Umno Youth chairman in 1996.

Mahathir is the ultimate terminator of Umno presidents, and has three in his hit list so far, namely Abdullah Badawi, Najib Razak and now Ahmad Zahid. These people were tactically inferior to Mahathir and should by right be very fearful of him.

Indeed, Lim Kit Siang said he noticed that Najib could not look Mahathir in the eye when the PM was tabling the 11MP mid-term review report in Dewan Rakyat.

Many had predicted that Mahathir would make a heroic comeback to Umno after winning the general elections in May. They were wrong! In its stead, Mahathir is expediting the demise of the party he once led.

Mahathir predicted during his trip to the US in September that Umno would go bust because the party had been abandoned by Malaysians.

Umno's trouble will not come to a conclusion following the prosecution of Ahmad Zahid. The 1MDB scandal will continue to haunt us for many years to come, and other Umno leaders are anticipated to take their turns to face the court, in the end dragging their party into the whirlpool and making it impossible to restructure itself.

A party with notorious reputation will invariably be turned away by the people, so much so that Mahathir himself will find it impossible to resuscitate it even if he wants. How will he ever go back to a party like this?

PAS, which earlier planned to work with Umno, will think twice, leaving only dead loyal MCA and MIC still willing to go through the thick and thin with Umno.

Strategy-wise, Mahathir is obliged to hammer Umno because it is the biggest opposition party capable of threatening the survival of PH administration.

Moreover, PPBM is directly pitted against Umno for the priced Malay support. Umno's decline will definitely do PPBM a huge favor.

Umno has itself to blame for its ill fate today. When the party was in power, it was harsh on PPBM, getting RoS to suspend the party's registration and forcing it to drop its own logo for PKR's in GE14. In addition, many then opposition leaders were also charged in the court.

Today, Umno leaders claim that what befalls them is sheer retaliation, failing to see the cruel political reality in it.

And since there is no end yet to Umno's nightmare, the party's top leaders have no choice but to seek other ways of survival. Rumors have it that a new Malay party will be formed sometime in December as a new "home" for Umno and PPBM parliamentarians. This party is said to try to get the support of enough MPs to become a part of the ruling coalition.

As the new party will drop any hint of Umno in its name, it will not be resisted by PH component parties, in particular DAP.

But this plan may not work eventually. With all the powers in hand, why should PH work with these corrupt leaders? Since Mahathir is going all out to take down Umno, it is impossible that he will change his mind anytime soon.

Gaining back-door access to the federal administration by way of setting up a political new party is not much different from the earlier plan to form a unity government with PH, although this time it has gone much further by pawning the existence of Umno!

It is believed that both Hishammuddin and Khairy will not agree to this strategy. Hishammuddin's grandfather Onn Jaafar was the founder of Umno while Khairy's father-in-law Abdullah Badawi remains deeply loyal to Umno.

If the Umno Supreme Council meeting on November 9 decides to drop Ahmad Zahid as president and calls for a re-election, Hishammuddin and Khairy will likely vie for top party posts and assume the task of reviving the party.

But, PKR's incoming president Anwar Ibrahim has already met up with opposition and independent MPs from Sabah, and someone is going to replace Umno as the Big Brother in Malaysian politics very soon.

 

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