As Nearer my God to Thee plays on the metaphorical Titanic that is UMNO at the moment, the party’s president, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, is asking his remaining supporters to have confidence, and not leave the party at a time when it is “being tested.”
And by “being tested,” we assume he’s referring to the current exodus taking place among the upper ranks of its membership.
First to leave was Mustapa Mohamed, a 40-year member of the party and Jeli MP. Distraught with what he referred to as his “political principals” and the direction that the party was going, he chose to leave instead.
In his exit statement, the MP Tok Pa (his nickname), wrote that UMNO’s future was bleak, based on the dénouement of post-election Malaysia. Echoing feelings expressed earlier by Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin, he wondered if his former party had a future seeking only to cater to Malays and Bumiputera (native people).
“In principle, my stand is that UMNO should become a party that is inclusive, moderate and centrist. UMNO must continue to champion the interests of the Bumiputera and Islam, while not disregarding the interests of other races and religions. I believe that this is the best way to build a framework of a diverse Malaysia.”
Believing the party’s direction promises more of the same old, same old, he’d rather not stick around for the replay, and hopes that “this new chapter in Malaysia leads to a mature and inclusive political culture.”
A bit like when Mischa Barton left The O.C., you could sense that things on an already declining show, were only going to get worse from there.
Soon after the news began circulating, the man some believed would lead the party to more progressive days, UMNO’s one-time millennial dauphin, Khairy Jamaluddin, took to Twitter to air his views:
Writing that allying themselves with the Islamist party PAS was an inadvisable move, he said that the party has now lost “a leading light,” and a “brilliant and good man.”
Tok Pa’s constituency was in the northern Sharia law state of Kelantan, where despite a comparative lack of development with the rest of Malaysia, residents have voted in a PAS majority for the past 20-plus years. The impact of losing such a strategic, senior figure should not be lost.
Then, news broke this afternoon that another senior member was also resigning from UMNO, former Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, who also happens to be a member of the UMNO Supreme Council.
To put it into The O.C. terms: Consider this Nikki Reed, not coming back for Season 4 – While not your favorite character, it certainly doesn’t bode well for things to come.
While his side has yet to issue an official statement, sources close to the Kimanis MP say that he will be elaborating on his reasons for leaving soon.
Responding to the buzz on Twitter, Khairy had only three things to say:
Well, yes – but that’s been happening for quite a while now, so it should come as no surprise to the seasoned statesman.
Many are speculating as to whether there will be more members to leave; none have yet been confirmed, but the rumor mill (Twitter and your family WhatsApp chat) is working overtime forecasting what might happen next.
Out on bail, awaiting trial, and rumored to be in line for some new charges, former Prime Minister Najib Razak has issued a statement (probably not a great idea, buddy), and saying that there was nothing wrong with cooperating with PAS, as other parties had in previous administrations.
Sure, in theory, until you remember that Hamidi said their allegiance was based on ideological fundamentals like Islam, Malays and the public at large – which is what pissed off a lot of people in the first place.
Sir, just stop talking for now, OK? It’s not helping.
So where does that leave UMNO? Is this their Season 4, the one where no one watched, but Chris Pratt was in it, and Seth (clearly Khairy, in this analogy) held it together, so I guess we still remember? Is there a spin-off series ready to save them? Grab the popcorn, and find out.
*As with all television related analogies, we’d rather have gone with The West Wing, but we’re playing a numbers game, and we’re guessing The O.C. had more viewers