Later this year, if Khairy Jamaluddin wins the Umno presidency the party will — shock, horror & please be mortified — likely open its doors to non-Malays.
First, don’t laugh, and rebut for the party has been open to non-Malays for years. I still smile when I fondly remember its former president Najib Razak declare at one of their gloriously televised general assemblies that Malays include Turks and Pakistanis.
Every day, new parents in hospitals in Lahore exclaim, while holding up their new-born sons, “You can join the army rise to prominence or join the Pakistan Taliban for eminence in this and the next life, and if failing both, settle to become an Umno supreme council member.”
Second, he may have in his way, Hishammuddin Hussein, Johor nobility scion and grandson to the first Umno president who got upended when he wanted to open the party to others.
What tragicomedy this is. If Malaysia was an American TV series, it would saunter to the Emmys.
But the column today, is more struck by the desire to open the party to others.
For Umno opening up therefore only means non-Muslims become members. But, wait! Already Siamese, Eurasians and Sabahans can become members even if they head to church every Sunday.
So yes, it takes a bit to know Umno. After all, to know Umno is to love Umno.
So anyhow, Umno’s leaders have a plan, to match PKR’s mettle for the mixed dominion of Malaysia.
What I would like to ask, is this, if Umno gives up its right wing race agenda, what will it champion?
It champions Malaysia? That’s like going to an election and asking for votes because you think Malaysia is neat. Real neat!
It might have to conjure up an ideology, which would result in — hide your incredulity — division heads to read. As mercy, they may have to bring down the reading age, right, Bung Mokhar? I almost can imagine a majority of the 191 standing up and screaming out, “We were elected to lead, not to read.”
[Ripped that off from the Simpsons. Spider-pig, anyone?]
While I understand the allure for Umno to target all Malaysians, curiously their partner MCA (The Malaysian Chinese Associaion) which was formed to back the community’s towkays, considers the same move.
They are not mulling the option of merging with Umno, oh no no no, they want to pull a DAP on DAP.
Stay with a Chinese spine and let the Indians in.
So from one angle they look like Gerakan, and on a good day like DAP, and when on crystal meth, resemble MyPPP.
And yes, they too have that darn problem. Of defining what they are.
Which is not as much of a pickle as when discussing MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress) who are doing no talking whatsoever to the press. While they have trumped MCA with two parliamentary seats, they are clueless about the future.
In the past, only two MPs is a minor setback, and they seek to get from Umno, two minister positions to sustain the Indian support, according to them.
Now that paradigm has gone to Kansas, they have to sit and hope someone gives them an idea.
Because, they can’t play the let’s open up MIC to the rest of Malaysia card, maybe be the party that the Orang Asli never had. Iron Man knows, they relied on the aboriginal people to stay elected in Cameron Highlands and Tapah.
They can’t open membership, not because I am being cheeky and saying no one would join.
They can’t open up, because they are built on race separation even inside their organisation, where they cast the overwhelming Dalits or the traditional untouchables as underlings in the party only.
So here we are, finally, the caste-lovers have had their comeuppance, they have no game left.
And this brings us back to the happy days of the Alliance, where they felt, they were convinced, that the way forward was to celebrate racism rather than guide our people away from a race think, which is the source of many of our problems.
Problems which persist till today, for the Pakatan government.
Deep-seated, protected and intellectually defended racism.
So it is cute to see Umno and MCA try to wriggle out of their own legacy.
Cute and entertaining. I might buy popcorn after all.