Saturday, October 18, 2008

Umno not a bully? Yeah. Right


OCT 18 — Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi must be suffering from amnesia.

That is the most charitable conclusion to draw after he said today that the perception of Umno being a bully in the Barisan Nasional was off the mark.

Speaking at the annual MCA general assembly, the Prime Minister touched on a topic that has been discussed and debated since non-Malay voters deserted the ruling coalition in droves on March 8: the arrogance of Umno politicians and the perception that the MCA, MIC, Gerakan, PPP, PBS and every other component party were punished at the polls for their subservience to the ruling party.

He said: “People say that Umno is a party that likes to bully. I actually have no idea how to bully. There is no such thing as bullying.’’

MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting and Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon must have been bristling at the cavalier manner Abdullah dismissed the issue.

Wasn’t it only a month ago that Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail exhibited supreme arrogance when he showed no remorse for calling Malaysian Chinese immigrants at a rally in the run-up to the Permatang Pauh by-election.

And when Gerakan stood up to him, he behaved just like a schoolyard bully.

He asked for Gerakan to be kicked out of the BN. Not surprising that that the incident did not register with Abdullah as he addressed the MCA for the last time as the chairman of BN and president of Umno.

He and the party’s supreme council members only took disciplinary action against the Bukit Bendera politician after being pushed into a corner. Even then, it was half-hearted attempt to apply balm on the raw feelings of the non-Malays.

Is this PM so out of touch with reality that he does not understand how frustrated BN leaders have become in dealing with arrogant Umno politicians.

Before he stepped down as a minister, Ong had to speak in hushed tones if he wanted allocation for Chinese schools from the Education Ministry. Speak too loud and the minister may be offended.

Koh had to stomach all the excesses of Penang Umno for years and had to be careful not to antagonise them even when they complained about the lack of opportunities in the state for Malays.

The arrogance and bullying did not stop there. And it hurt the MCA and other component parties in many ways.

When the late Datuk Zakaria Deros broke every rule in the book and built his mansion in Klang, and then displayed shocking contempt, it was the MCA and Gerakan which felt the wrath of the voters. Their sin: being in the same political set-up as the arrogant Selangor Umno warlord.

Even surveys conducted before and after the general election confirm one fact: that the majority of non-Malays believe that the BN power-sharing formula discriminates against non-Malay political parties.

A few of the polls also put down the strong showing of Pakatan Rakyat to revulsion at the arrogance of Umno politicians.

A poll by the Merdeka Centre in July showed that 66% of Chinese and 60.1% of Indians agree that the BN does not represent the voice of all communities.

It’s telling that as he spoke to MCA politicians, Abdullah still was prepared to defend a political party that has bullied him since the general election; that refused to back his reform agenda and is now making final preparations for his humiliating send-off.

Malaysians should save their sympathy and goodwill for another leader. This man deserves the bullying treatment he is getting from his party faithful.

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