MAY 10 — Some votes are impossible to win, just like love.
Some voters don’t want your fancy-schmancy reasons to vote Pakatan Rakyat (PR), they’d settle for a laugh. A change if it makes them smile at the altered reality.
With that in mind, I’ve come up with 10 fun bits to emerge when the Umno government is replaced. (Reader alert: This column is in no way, shape or form asking for the “toppling” of the Umno government. Recent developments advise us to evade the use of any term, word, phrase, euphemism and expletive which may in the region of possible suggest that the great leaders of this immensely peaceful nation should be kicked out.)
1. See the rats flee the sinking ship
Umno is patronage. The “what you can get” is the Umno mantra, and in a ridiculously over-centralised Malaysia it is good to rule.
Not ruling, however, becomes a drag very quickly.
To the many, leaving Umno would be effortless but they have to stage-manage it.
Those who have been as even-handed as an Umno politician can be will not be derided as much by the public when they bolt. But the Nazri Azizs and Tengku Adnans of the world, how to walk away without appearing to make a mad dash to those they’ve picked on before?
Every excuse for leaving will have to be better than the last. To Umno men, please use any of these samples if they apply:
I wanted to leave so many times, but I needed to show I am loyal first. And now, Pakatan can see first-hand how loyal I can be.
Najib was related to me. You don’t abandon family, except when they lose dramatically in a general election. I am not actually denouncing Najib, I’m making sure I am in a position to help him by being with the new government.
I am doing this to bring this country together. Umno is not important. Malaysia is. I can do more inside this Pakatan government than in Umno.
I was waiting for Pakatan to mature first. I did not want to appear an opportunist. With this maturing as the national government, it is only logical for me to join the better fight.
My dog ate my homework. You might have dogs too. Dogs are canine. Anyway, I’m joining Pakatan Rakyat today. Please, always feed your dogs. And other pets too.
2. Mahathir says he was kidding
Mahathir Mohamad has more political avatars than Vishnu. The key to his strategy is to never apologise and always have someone convenient to blame.
Will a Pakatan government seem too much for the octogenarian to stomach or will he extend an olive branch?
This column expects Mahathir to make one of those reason-defying speeches and at the end re-emphasise that the new Pakatan government was actually planned by him a long time ago. He’s just surprised it has taken this long for a change of government.
Still, I’d prefer him to go quiet and to spend time penning down a new revised memoir — “A doctor under house arrest.”
3. Official Secrets Act comes undone
Was Abdul Razak Hussein involved in a coup to remove Tunku Abdul Rahman? What were the police notes leading up to the Memali incident? Did Mahathir order the Ops Lalang arrests?
We drive on highways built with our money, and we still pay toll. We own an oil company which is a global corporate darling, yet we are not privy to its finances.
That’s about to change.
The de-classification of past documents locked away as national secrets by a new government will be so much fun.
It might render some of the previous Mahathir proclamations shallow, and him no place to hide. He may not find a place to hide in, but he won’t be short of people who want to hide with him.
4. Umno wants decentralisation, local elections anyone?
If all they had was Malacca, Johor and Sabah, then Umno will start to know how it is for Pakatan right now to run Penang, Selangor and Kelantan. Government is about resource, and the giant tap in massively centralised Malaysia is in Putrajaya.
There’ll be a new tune, and willing dancers.
Umno will U-turn on local elections. It will ask for more access and transparency in allocating tax monies to the respective states. It won’t cringe when state-owned firms are privatised in a fire sale.
Oh happy days.
5. Knowing everyone puts Khairy in a corner
Cabinet reshuffles are times of great expectations, or severe disappointments. No one knows that better than Khairy Jamaluddin. If Umno falls soon, he’ll have to live through the ignominy of being an Umno Youth chief who could not even make it as a parliamentary secretary in the Tourism Ministry.
Apparently, Najib Razak just can’t find it in himself to give the former deputy president of the Football Association of Malaysia a spot in the back row.
Fortunately, Khairy will be spared the stress and anxiety when Pakatan Rakyat names its Cabinet. More so, he’d have a great chance of making it to Najib’s shadow Cabinet. Unfortunately, he’d have to give up helming state entrepreneur developer Permodalan Usahawan Nasional Berhad (PUNB). Luckily, he’d get to keep all the “experience” he had acquired while at ECM Libra.
6. See them police outriders go cold turkey
For decades, the police force has prided itself in spending much of the annual budget to come up with innovation and invention when it comes to their system of police escorts for Umno elites. They know in their hearts that the people adore the large processions. It is like touching the stars, having a motorcade pass the rakyat by. A welcome distraction from the traffic jam they’d be stuck long after the motorcade makes its quick getaway.
With the change...
These officers will then be redirected to needless and overly routine activities like crime prevention and traffic management. Depression levels are likely to rise and many constables are liable to be caught loitering outside fire stations waiting for on-call fire trucks to emerge.
7. Consultants see their bonus shrink
While Malaysia has an enormous civil service, and an ego to go with it, it builds itself on consultants.
The days of the resident consultants lurking near the powerful and their policies end.
Horrible things will result, some of the senior civil servants will have to justify their post-graduate degrees and think. There will be fewer people falling into a coma during rapid-fire PowerPoint presentations. Top hotels in the city will lose regulars. Consultants are to be consistently found in lavatories hugging their knees and repeating “mission statements” as they are forced to cancel their families’ Maldives Christmas plans.
As they board their planes for more desperate localities, they’d shrug and look over their shoulders, hoping that Malaysia does not cry for them.
8. Umno Youth meets the law
They go by many names. Pekida, Perkasa, youth NGO, etc. But it is all Umno. Intermittently they show their force — intimidate unarmed undergraduates, try to storm the party headquarters of opposition parties, threaten to burn down cultural centres and mock other people’s restraint.
All because they are seen to be above the law. The police look on, the Attorney-General indifferent, the courts silent and the senior Umno politicians step in later and say how so wonderful it is for other Malaysians that there are mature Umno politicians who rein in their young hordes.
Without Umno in government, the Youth wing will get no favours from the authorities.
Imagine the look on a bully’s face when he is struck hard for the first time by the full force of the law; it is always brilliant viewing.
The law will be applied to them, and they will squirm.
9. Yes Tun, you have to pay for the luggage too
When the official posts and cash run out, private flights are taken off the plate. If the new leader of the opposition is still on chartered flights, questions will quickly follow. (Yes, the ex-PM will be answering probing questions, finally.)
This is unlikely, but still, the remote possibility of seeing these former bigwigs taking an AirAsia flight without seat allocations would be a sight indeed. Huge bonus if they get tangled with airline staff over the luggage space they were supposed to have pre-purchased.
10. Media practitioners are skilled out
Many men and women in The Star, Utusan Malaysia, TV3 and the other “approved” media units will wake up to a Brave New World.
Having completely married news reporting to government propaganda, they find their moral righteousness vastly out of style.
They’ve taken to the extreme “war reporting” — where your troops have done everything and beyond, and your enemies done nothing and been vicious, and obviously at the end your good guys win the day.
Waking up to a Pakatan-run Malaysia they’d be on caffeine-drips as they try to recall things like balance.
The news editors at the TV stations will realise that without the bluster and attacks from their politicians for an hour on prime time news, they have little else to put out.
It’ll be wicked fun to see Utusan editors retroactively moderate their previous views.
Umno won’t die
For the sentimentalists, don’t worry, Umno won’t die. They have too much resource as it stands, a bunch of companies, a layer of civil servants and history.
This will keep it going, even if it bleeds.
In a perverse way, the blood-letting might lead to a rebirth. Already Umno Baru, it can become Umno Baru 2.0.
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.