When Umno Information chief Tan Sri Annuar Musa said he is thankful the “wolves in sheep clothing” have left Umno, he may just be encouraging” more members to leave the party.
At the same time, we have Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan saying that those who left are begging to return to the party.
It all seems a wee bit confusing to many, but one can obviously see Umno is in turmoil.
The critics, however, take it one step further and says that Umno may just be self-destructing.
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) political analyst Professor Dr Ahmad Atory Hussain says that these are merely psychological warfare the Umno leaders are engaging in.
“Right now their strategy seems to be denying every single accusation thrown at them from financial issues, economy and everything else the county is facing.
“They are in a state of denial, but that is their strategy and they will be their defence for the time being. Until the next general election is held, nothing is certain,” the analyst says.
Atory seems convinced that sooner or later, the party which ruled Malaysia with an iron fist ever since Malaysia was built will not fall no matter what, as it still has very strong support from loyalists who are orthodox Umno members.
There are voters or supporters who do not care about what happens at the top of the hierarchy, says Atory.
“Whatever issues the Prime Minister is facing is not of their concern as they are very conservative supporters.
“These are supporters who do not believe in the accusations that are tagged on the Prime Minister, they choose not to believe.
“The most important thing to them is surviving and making a living, and to them Umno is their source of survival. No matter what, they will not switch their support. What happens to the Prime Minister will not affect the local council, MP or the assemblymen of their area.
“These are also strong supporters of the Prime Minister, they are loyal to the leaders and for that their support for Umno will stay.
“Because to them, if the Prime Minister is removed, so is the Umno leader and if the Umno leader is gone, so will the party and along with that the Malays are goners too (parti akan tumbang, Melayu pun akan jatuh),” says Atory.
He adds that this is the reason why Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has begun going to the grounds to explain to the conservative supporters hoping to widen their understanding over the situation of the country at present.
Others are of the view that even if these leaders were to leave the party, there is nothing for them outside either.
“If they stay their chances of survival is higher, reap the remaining fruits that are still available and try to hold on for as long they can.
“In Umno at the moment, from what I observe, they are playing the waiting game. Nothing is certain at the moment, but because there is no certainty outside of the party anyway, so they rather wait and see what will happen next,” he says.
Umno-Barisan Nasional (BN) is in a dilemma now as to whether an early general election may be good or not good for them.
“It (Umno) is very weak right now, the general election will not increase their seats. But if the general election happens in 2018, they too have a greater risk, as PPBM (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia) will definitely become stronger by then.
“The longer the general election takes to happen, the stronger PPBM will be,” he says.
While Mahathir and the Opposition de-facto leader and his former deputy Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim look like the only leaders who can lead the opposition, Atory says that at the moment, Mahathir is taking charge and the rest of the Opposition parties are just following suit.
“Everyone including Umno knows that the Opposition alone does not stand a chance to take on BN.
“Even Lim Kit Siang (of DAP) looks as though he just following whatever Mahathir is saying and not actually coming forward himself,” says Atory, who says the main thing for the opposition now is to get their act together to ensure straight fights against BN.
Soo Wern Jun