It all started when Umno’s youth wing defied the indirect advice of its party president Zahid Hamidi to let bygones be bygones and instead continued to hanker after an apology from its new political ally, the DAP, in the “unity government”.
The youth wing of the grand old party, which gained a measly 26 seats in the last general election, seemed to have been emboldened by Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan who shared similar sentiments.
That said, this also appears to be an attempt by newly elected Umno youth wing leader Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh to burnish his credentials as a force to be reckoned with in the party.
As if to give it a further push, the MCA’s youth wing has also demanded that the DAP extend its apology to not only Umno but also the MCA for what it considers to be the DAP’s past transgressions.
The medical doctor from Malacca Umno, however, somewhat softened his stance on the matter, reportedly saying that while he did not demand it of the DAP, an apology would help appease his party’s grassroots.
Be that as it may, it rightly confounds some observers as to why the likes of Akmal insists on the apology when Umno as a whole was no less vitriolic in its ideological attacks against the DAP.
In other words, both parties traded barbs when they were sworn enemies. So, if an apology is required, both need to apologise to each other, which should warm the cockles of the hearts of even the sceptics.
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Anyway, the Umno youth wing’s action makes us wonder if it was just another attempt to play a domineering role that Umno had been accustomed to when it reigned supreme over others in the past.
Incidentally, Umno did not seek an apology from the Islamist Pas for past skirmishes when both set up Muafakat Nasional as a political platform to fight Pakatan Harapan after the 2018 general election.
Umno’s youth wing, as well as other wings in the party, should take it upon themselves to convince the grassroots that both their party and the DAP have only one option, which is to move on for the sake of the unity government and for the survival of the party.
More importantly, the component parties in the federal government must stand together in facing challenges posed by the opposition Perikatan Nasional, which is now gaining momentum.
Getting hit by friendly fire prior to the state elections is not only daft but would also baffle voters as to the seriousness of the component parties in the unity government to stay united and in power.
The parties concerned must instead work hard to convince people that they are taking concrete steps to address the economic hardships of the ordinary people, irrespective of their ethnicities and religions, through new or revised policies and meaningful reforms.
It is vital that the ruling component parties are united in the fight against corruption and for the principles of social justice, compassion and inclusivity.
Equally important, the rule of law must be upheld in the interest of justice for all, so that, for instance, a call for the early release of a convicted felon must be treated as an unwelcome aberration.
It’s time for the parties in the unity government to close ranks and prioritise the wellbeing of the people and a bright future of the nation.
The component parties would be sorry if their fortunes fell owing to the inability or refusal to see the larger picture. – The Malaysian Insight