By Aziz. A Shariff
Ever since the 1MDB fiasco raised its ugly head, for whatever presumed reasons, depending on which side of the political divide you are on, the impact is no less awesome. At least this is how many political observers see it.
Many believe that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is hanging by a thread, albeit quite a strong thread, for despite the deluge of demands to ‘come clean’ and step down, which has been readily amplified and metamorphosed into outright accusations, he still holds sway.
For many in UMNO, the view has been cast further than the situation warrants it. It not only goes beyond the boundaries of Najib’s survivability but also that of the party and even the Malays – thence, the bogeyman syndrome.
The sedate and practical among the lot would see the equation simple enough, that is to let the law take its course and due process.
However, this is not to be, for the legions of detractors, in the likes of the opposition parties are using the issue as a convenient battering ram to crush the powers that be – never mind that even the opposition as a pact is in shambles due to vicious infighting.
UMNO warlords seem to be feeling too much of the heat, or it seems. They have gone on overdrive to drive home the notion that should Najib fall, Malay hold on their turf would also collapse, along with the presumed bastion of Malay stewardship – UMNO.
Perhaps, it is true in many circumstances such as this, that the leader would, invariably, act as the linchpin to hold together the pact, failing which it will disintegrate. But, then again, UMNO is a democratic political platform, where history has shown how tough and resilient it can be in the face of adversity.
In the past, Tunku Abdul Rahman and even Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, among others have proved how UMNO could survive through thick and thin. Why, even the 22 years of rule under the good doctor, which at a point saw UMNO almost wracked asunder, saw it emerging from the scrape quite wounded but bounding back as strong as ever.
Times may have changed and the conservatives may be hard-pressed to keep up with the mental revolution that is going on, what with the younger generation having a different perspective of how the country should be run. But, despite all this, there should not be any call to invoke fear among the Malays.
The problem facing Najib is no different than what the Malays have gone through in the past. It will be addressed well and things will return to normal, but only if UMNO will come to its senses and grow out of the siege mentality shared with many among the Malays.
Save for the senior generation, the young see the situation as not a calamity but a way forward for UMNO and the Malays. This is a wake-up call. A leader may go, but the lesson learned is priceless for the Malays and the stalwarts must not keep harping on doom.