MCA welcomes the timely reminder by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to Umno leaders and members to be fair to non-Malays as non-Malay voters had assisted Umno candidates to win in previous general and by-elections.
To reflect the voting trends of the new millennium, there should not be rhetorical or abrasive statements that may have fitted the mood in 1970s and 1980s when calls for “ketuanan Melayu” held sway.
Then Umno could capture near absolute Malay votes and not be too concerned about non-Malay votes particularly in Malay-dominated seats. Those were the days of yonder whereby Umno had mesmerised the Malays for decades by merely calling for Malay unity and dominance without fear of offending others.
The last two general elections strongly revealed that Umno can no longer leverage its traditional Malay-based supporters as the Malay-ballot are split. BN now needs to win over both Malay and non-Malay votes in any general or by-election beautifully and meaningfully.
On the ground Umno leadership of BN has built a lot of goodwill and done a lot politically for Malaysians by and large. However, this goodwill is very often destroyed or spoilt by a few individuals who postured on race and religion that have chased or alienated non-Malay voters.
This includes former deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassins’ famous “I am Malay first” stand. In the same breath, this posturing destroys whatever good work that the component parties have done and would have delivered the votes but for these insensitive could-not-care-less about others statements.
Calling on component parties only at the eleventh hour lacks sincerity.
There are also complaints on the ground that in Malay-majority constituencies, Umno representatives tend to be careless or neglect minority sentiments. They will only call upon component parties when needed such as when they want a show of force which is done at the eleventh hour and not at the preparation or organising level. Very often they are made to feel inclusive as an afterthought with little sincerity.
This to a certain extent causes supporters of component parties to feel the insincerity, jaded and sidelined. There is no sense of inclusion where their attendance at BN functions is only a sideshow and seen to be an Umno show instead. BN must be more BN and less Umno, MCA or MIC, etc to capture the imagination of new voters and in sync of new politics.
It is time to acknowledge new politics and be in touch with progressive cosmopolitan changes.
Some Umno leaders from non-cosmopolitan or rural constituencies tend to disregard non-Malay or non-Umno sentiments in their public statements or posturing. They tend to try to outdo or behave similarly to pas which cannot even be inclusive to their more moderate or open leaders. This rural versus urban mentality have led to disgruntled PAS members separating and forming the splinter Parti Amanah Negara.
Umno has the same divide. For Umno to help component parties, the rural mentality must transform be mindful of the more progressive cosmopolitan and pluralistic electoral terrains.
It is time for BN to be evolved into the party it ought or should be.
Umno must stop moving in an Umno mindset but move in the spirit of BN because we are standing in the general election as BN. When components parties lose, we lose as BN. Likewise when Umno candidates win, they win under the banner of BN.
It is time to move and evolve BN to the next level, and not be caught in years of yonder whereby Umno, MCA, MIC can move separately as they were relevant to their communal needs of that time.
Umno must be seen as BN and be more multiracial not only in words but in deeds. This was seen in Pakatan when PKR, PAS, DAP appeared on the same stage and page in their post-2008 general election leading to their victories in GE13.
The dictates and expectation of the new electorates especially are different from the bygone era of the 1970s and 1980s and UMNO and BN cannot afford to be caught in a time warp.
For BN to continue to be popular and relevant in multiracial or plural society of Malaysia, it is time for us to move as BN and not be caught along Umno, MCA or MIC lines.
We support DPM’s statement that Umno thus should be inclusive and safeguard non-Malay interest in words and deeds.
Ti Lian Ker