As ex-PM Najib Razak visits his father’s grave, probably seeking helps, the same way Tengku Razalegh is seeking divine guidance whether he should contest the UMNO presidency or not, Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) is suddenly dissolved. Four component parties making up the BN coalition, which suffered a stunning defeat, had unanimously quit.
Essentially, the Barisan Nasional coalition, founded in 1973 by the country’s second Prime Minister Abdul Razak Hussein – Najib’s dad – is no longer exist in the state of Sarawak. Whether this is part of “Murphy Law” or “Karma” or superstitious, it appears praying to the dead and even the God can’t help a corrupted son or an arrogant coalition government.
Delivering his bombshell, Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg announced that Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Parti Demokratik Progresif (PDP) had decided to form a pact of Sarawak-based parties – called Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
Effectively, the previous Barisan Nasional coalition government is further disintegrated, losing 19 parliamentary seats which the Sarawak BN won in the recent May 9th general election. Barisan Nasional will see its total number of parliamentary seats reduced to 57 from the initial 79 seats won. The abandoning of the Sarawak parties could be just the beginning to the death of UMNO.
The betrayal of the Sarawak parties, long seen as fixed-deposit for Barisan Nasional led by UMNO Malay nationalist party, has essentially opened the floodgate to more component parties quitting the coalition. Almost immediately after Sarawak BN quit the coalition, MCA is said to be interested in quitting too. MCA did extremely badly when it won only 1 parliamentary seat.
Sabah and Sarawak were two biggest fixed-deposits of Barisan Nasional coalition prior to the 14th general election. However, in the May 9th general election, ex-PM Najib Razak was shocked when he lost Sabah. He was forced to resign as BN president. Now, the acting president and ex-Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi loses Sarawak, the last fixed-deposit.
UMNO, the biggest component party of Barisan Nasional, is now the only meaningful flag bearer of the 45-year-old coalition. However, with only 54 parliamentary seats, it’s hard to see how UMNO – synonym with corruption, extremism, racism and arrogance – could transform and overhaul its broken engine, let alone snatch back its lost power in the foreseeable future.
When Abang Johari Openg made the intention known to ex-Deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, that they had no choice but to quit the coalition, Mr. Zahid was reportedly begging the Sarawak Chief Minister not to proceed, saying the coalition would be “hancur (disintegrate)”. Subsequently, Mr. Zahid, with tail between legs, went to meet PM Mahathir – crawling and begging.
With a spineless leader like Zahid who saw it fit to go back to Mahathir, the old man the former had mocked and insulted just weeks before the 14th general election, you don’t need a rocket scientist to tell why the Sarawak parties had chosen to quit the coalition. The leaderless BN is running around like a headless chicken, not to mention the gravy train has stopped.
At least ex-PM Najib was a great liar. And his lies were so breathtaking and entertaining that he managed to scam 4-million of gullible and ignorant voters. Zahid, on the other hand, had chosen to bend over and bootlicked Mahathir without even giving a fight. It’s his extraordinary cowardice that Mahathir looked down upon the ex-deputy prime minister.
Get real, did UMNO really think the Sarawak parties will shed a tear over the demise of Barisan Nasional? It was all about the gravy train – money talks, bullshit walks. The loyalty was as good as the federal government allocation to Sarawak. There is no honey without money, obviously. And the 93-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir knew that more than anyone else.
Besides federal allocation, the other reason why Sarawak was willing to become BN’s loyal bitch for the last 45 years was due to an agreement that the Peninsula Malaysia-based UMNO can never establish its presence in the state. That was one of the reasons why former Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud was allowed to rule like a king and his family amassed immense wealth.
Of course, Mahathir can make life difficult for the Sarawak state government by simply making a law prohibiting the state from raping its tropical rainforests. Taib Mahmud’s billions of personal fortune came from decades of illegal logging. It isn’t a coincidence that Taib’s PBB party launches the latest rebellion after his meeting with PM Mahathir and Daim Zainuddin.
Nobody wants to be with the losers but everybody loves to be with the winners. That was why Zahid went to Mahathir seeking advice on how to manage UMNO, a laughable excuse nevertheless. Zahid, known for his utmost arrogance and corruption, wanted Mahathir to return to UMNO as the party’s leader, offering its 54 parliamentary seats as gift.
Zahid’s alternative idea was to support the new government of Mahathir Mohamad. The shameless and spineless UMNO acting president hoped to at least become a friendly party of Pakatan Harapan coalition government, if his wish to join the coalition fails. But why should Mahathir welcome people like Zahid when he knew his administration will eventually get two-thirds majority even without UMNO?
Yes, even if UMNO together with whatever leftover of Barisan Nasional are still too coward to quit, the Pakatan Rakyat coalition government, armed with its 122 parliamentary seats, is just 26 seats short of the 148 seats required for a two-thirds majority in Parliament to amend the Federal Constitution if the coalition is to fulfil its pledges to deliver drastic reforms.
With Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari pledging to cooperate and support the new government, the Pakatan Harapan coalition is just short of 7 seats. Getting those deficit from either PAS (currently 18 seats) or other Sabah MPs (10 seats) or even other component parties of Barisan Nasional which had left (3 seats) should not be an uphill task.
From a mighty coalition of 13 component parties, the Barisan Nasional is now reduced to just 4 parties. UPKO (1 seat) quits BN almost immediately on May 10th, follows by LDP the next day. On May 12th, PBS (1 seat) and PBRS (1 seat) quit. A week later on May 19th, MyPPP quit. And today, all 4 parties of Sarawak BN quit. Not bad for a government which had been in power since independence in 1957.
UMNO is seeing the real meaning of rats deserting a sinking ship. So don’t be surprise when eventually the Barisan Nasional coalition is left with UMNO alone. It’s not UMNO’s fault that nobody wants to be associated with the toxic party. It’s the Mother Nature that nobody wants to befriend a loser whose tap cannot deliver cash anymore. This is perhaps what “cash is king” really means.
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