LETTERS: When Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) were the ruling coalition, they took the path of moderation as Umno had the political power to determine all aspects of governance. Umno was a secular materialistic political party where, for its leaders, the end justified the means.
Thus it used all means, including Islam.
Pas, on the other hand, had always taken a divisive stance in promoting the Malay/Islamic agenda. The only voice of moderation within Pas was its late spritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, who promoted a policy of social and religious accommodation.
When Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang assumed the presidency, he took on a hardline stance, negating the sentiments and reality of a plural multicultural and multireligious society.
He instilled a scenario of fear that Islam and Malay rights were being threatened by the non Malays. Pas members swallowed his rhetoric hook, line and sinker.
This racial and religious slant further exacerbated ethnic polarisation. After the 14th General Election, Umno was in dire straits, having lost power and its top leaders mired in corrupt practices and abuse of power.
In its effort to regain power, Umno abandoned its moderate stance and resorted to using the race and religion card. It aligned with Pas to form the Muafakat Nasional in the guise of salvaging Malay rights and supremacy.
To further this agenda, it has taken advantage of the turmoil within the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition, for example, trying to pass a motion of confidence on the premiership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and wanting him to run the country for the full mandated term.
It is a clear attempt to destabilise the government and distract it from addressing social and economic woes.
Umno spuriously believes that it still has the clout to influence the running of this country, not asaresponsible opposition but through dubious manoeuvrings.
Umno and Pas will take every opportunity to distract the government through their various sleight of hand tactics instead of being a responsible opposition.
Thus far, they have succeeded in intimidating the Malays by instilling in them the fear syndrome.
They have also created apprehension by proposing a new coalition of Malay political parties, namely, Umno, Pas and Bersatu, purportedly to rejuvenate Malay supremacy.
It is high time these opportunistic politicians from both sides of the divide, who have the temerity to assume that they have the carte blanche to determine the fate of this country according to their whims and fancies, desist from the convoluted shenanigans and serve the electorate who elected them.
MOHAMED GHOUSE NASURUDDIN
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times