By Kee Thuan Chye
The big Umno meeting held last Saturday revealed a lot that is negative and alarming about the party.
Its leaders showed that the party was not concerned with matters of the economy or the current suffering of the people who are trying to put food on the table.
Its leaders showed they were more concerned with staying out of jail.
To the extent that they would control the attorney general, bend the rule of law, so that the cases against them would be dropped and they would get away with their alleged crimes.
They upheld kleptomania, attacked the judiciary, borrowed from Donald Trump’s playbook to twist the truth about Najib Razak’s final appeal before the Federal Court and play to the emotions of their base.
It was frightening. A classic case of whipping up the mob.
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Any reasonable person could not but conclude that such conduct was most unbecoming of a party that was currently part of the government and is now urging the Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, to call early elections so that it could win big and form the next government.
I dread to think what kind of a country we will have if they were to win the coming general election and rule over us.
A kleptocracy through and through – that’s what it will turn out to be. A country in which the law would be applied differently to people in the ruling party and to common people like us.
To be sure, that had been the case before – in the years of Barisan Nasional rule before Pakatan Harapan took over in 2018.
The BN political bigwigs invariably got away with pocketing big bucks illegally, whereas common folk went straight to jail for minor crimes.
As a result, many of us saw through that chicanery and rejected BN in the 2018 general election.
After all that, do we now want BN to make a comeback in the coming general election and bring back its culture of decay, filth and corruption?
Imagine someone like Zahid Hamidi in a high position in government (as prime minister, who knows?), alongside the others of the so-called court cluster who are currently facing charges for wrongdoing.
If they now show that they are more interested in forming the government out of wanting to save their own skins, can we expect them to provide clean and good governance, eventually?
Can we expect them not to borrow more from the Trump playbook to twist future truths to their advantage?
Can we expect them not to favour their own base instead of caring for all the people in the country?
Ismail Sabri at the crossroads
If that’s not enough, imagine Najib being summarily pardoned once Umno and BN get into power and being subsequently given a place in such a tainted administration.
Malaysia would roll downhill even faster. The whole world would have no confidence in us.
Speaking of Najib, if he were truly the man who recently said he was only interested in doing his best for the country, if he truly cared for the welfare of the country, shouldn’t he have come out with a statement after last Saturday’s Umno meeting to advise his party colleagues that they should not cast aspersions on the institutions of the country and erode trust in them?
Shouldn’t he advise them to be more careful – and caring?
One man can stop the country from going the way of the kleptocrats.
Ismail Sabri can hold off calling early elections and wait till Zahid and a few others of his ilk are convicted of their alleged crimes so that they will be disqualified from standing in the general election.
He is thus at the crossroads of his political career. He has to decide if he wants to be associated with the kleptocratic culture.
Ismail Sabri has to decide if an Umno mob should call the shots in deciding the timing of the election.
He has said before that it is more important to ensure that the economy is improved first before going to the polls.
That shows good, positive thinking. That shows caring for the people and the country.
Does he want to foul it up by heeding the desperate call of people with tarnished reputations?
Does he want to appear weak and lacking in prime minister material by giving in to them?
He has, therefore, an important decision to make. One that will impact not only the present but the future as well.
Ismail Sabri can choose to save this country from an Umno that is shaped in the likeness of Zahid and the court cluster – or give in to them and be part of an Umno that does not respect the rule of law and cares only about keeping its leaders out of jail.
What will he choose?
Whatever it is, that will become his legacy. – Malaysiakini
Kee Thuan Chye is the author of No More Bullshit, Please, We’re All Malaysians