The latest episode of our political circus features the “leaked minutes” of a PAS meeting allegedly pushing to “speed up” the corruption court cases of Najib Abdul Razak and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to “topple” Umno.
Before I get into the long-running soap opera between PAS, Umno and Bersatu, I want to ask – why do some leaders declare that it’s a “scandal” to hasten those trials?
All right-thinking Malaysians have been wondering what the heck is taking so long, especially when we compare it to the 1MDB-related trial of former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng, which was completed in just eight weeks in New York.
Surely, for such high-profile politicians such as Najib and Zahid, their trials should be done even faster? As an exemplary lesson to all Malaysians of the perils of corruption?
OK, back to the circus show.
Long gone are the happy days of September 2019 when Umno and PAS got politically “married” in the Muafakat Nasional alliance, amidst tears of joy at PWTC in Kuala Lumpur.
Both party presidents solemnised the union as the nasyid group Brothers sang the song Teman Sejati (True Friends). And then the 2,000 joint party delegates cried out “Allahuakbar!” (God is great) several times.
Bersatu, then still in Pakatan Harapan, slammed the union as “sumbang mahram (incest)” to “gratify greed and corruption”. Umno vice-president Khaled Nordin retorted, “hey don’t behave like a jealous divorcee”.
“Umno and PAS have just met up, but Bersatu seems ‘overly excited’ and wants to ‘storm the bridal chamber’ to see what we’re doing on the katil pengantin (marriage bed).”
Now, did I say this was a soap opera or what?
How could the Umno-PAS passionate romance have gone so wrong since then? The PAS leaks scandal went viral on April 20. Only the Terengganu menteri besar initially denied it. Why was it not immediately denied by other leaders mentioned in the leaks, asked some Umno leaders? In other words, can there be smoke without fire?
Another Umno official went further, challenging the Terengganu MB to swear a sumpah laknat, a holy oath that he shall suffer God’s curses if he is not telling the truth.
“The rakyat no longer believes in mere bare denials from ahli politik talam dua muka (two-faced politicians) who say something in front but do something else behind. Bulan puasa jangan tipu (don’t lie during the fasting month),” said Selangor BN information chief Isham Jalil.
Yes, all this infighting has serious national consequences. But before discussing that, let’s have a laugh at the melodrama.
The marriage falls apart
The PAS-Umno marriage began falling apart in 2020 after they and Bersatu had all gone into Putrajaya as a threesome via the Sheraton Move. But soon after, an ugly love triangle developed.
The basic cause of all this tension is that both Umno and Bersatu were (and still are) chasing the same Malay “nationalists” votes. In fact, Bersatu founder Dr Mahathir Mohamad wanted his party to replace Umno by taking over the monopoly of the “Malay protector” franchise, and this included luring many Umno frogs over.
Meanwhile, PAS was wooed by both sides and Umno accused them of “main dua kolam” (“playing two pools”, or lovers, to get the best deal).
By the time the Umno general assembly rolled around in March 2021, the situation had deteriorated. Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki admitted that Umno was hurt when its partner PAS continued flirting with Bersatu.
Like a Bollywood heartbreaker scene, the poetic politician said, “Who would have thought, tears have not yet dried, the laughter hasn’t faded, but a blossoming relationship had to be shared with another.”
Oh man, don’t you think our real-life politics are more entertaining than some fictitious K-drama? Since Asyraf is rather handsome, please get a lookalike to play him in a future political M-drama!
For the old man character, I propose a walk-on part for Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who actually called PAS a “political prostitute”.
By November 2021, Umno was openly fighting against both PAS and Bersatu in the Malacca state elections. Yet all three shared the same political bed in Putrajaya!
In January this year, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang accused Umno of being “ungrateful” after the latter’s reluctance to forge an electoral pact for the Johor state election.
“We saved a lame duck. It broke its leg during the 14th general election… Unfortunately, when it was healed, it wanted to swim on its own. It left us. This is immoral,” pronounced the Very Religious Man.
How did Umno respond? No, it’s PAS who destroyed the marriage, they were the broken-leg duck that wanted to swim off on its own with Bersatu, rebutted Umno Supreme Council member Mohd Puad Zarkashi.
“PAS was carried away because of the benefits of federal government positions,” he claimed.
Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan waded in, “For those calling Umno a duck, goose, tiger, or whatever… Umno remains the largest Malay party. Our revival is not due to PAS’ miracle medicine,” he said, squishing Hadi’s analogy.
Zahid added to the insult fest by saying that Hadi should change his job from politician to zoologist.
Talk about political comedy man, you can’t make this sh*t up!
As for Umno and Bersatu, open warfare erupted long ago. In January, Najib explained why Umno had lost trust in Bersatu, claiming sabotage in the Sabah state elections.
Muhyiddin Yassin replied, accusing Najib of “twisting the facts”. He added the killer line that he’d be ashamed to be associated with a party that has a convict boss. Whoa! Talk about calling out Malu Apa Bossku!
Two weeks later, Muhyiddin made the explosive allegation that Zahid had visited him with a “pile of files” of his court case, pleading with him to kautim things.
No, that’s a lie, counters Zahid. To “prove” his innocence, he was ready to… you guessed it… do a sumpah laknat! Gee… why bother with having courts and lawyers in Malaysia when such sacred oaths can decide The Truth.
Later, during the Johor election, Najib blasted Muhyiddin as a “failure” who bungled both the economic and Covid-19 crisis and was not fit even to be Johor’s economic adviser.
Of course, Najib wants us to think that the many Umno ministers in Muhyiddin’s government were totally blameless.
The sad conclusion
It’s such a twist of delicious irony that the three parties who plotted to betray the voters’ mandate via the Sheraton Move are now betraying each other.
The unholy fight for power between Umno, PAS and Bersatu does serve up quite a spectacle.
How can three quarrelling parties be in the same coalition at Putrajaya?
Their only interest seems to be clinging on to power (and chances to hand out lucrative contracts). How can they make long-term strategic policies to improve our country? Is that why Malaysia made a mess of its health and economic response to Covid? We seem to be a rudderless ship, drifting without clear direction.
These jokers hijacked power in the Sheraton Move by claiming to uphold “Malay-Muslim unity”. Yet they clearly don’t like and trust each other. The latest PAS leaks scandal has only made this even more obvious. It’s a sickening circus.
How can voters trust these three parties, when they are not practising the very “Malay unity” they claimed to champion? Would you trust an engineer whose bridges keep collapsing? Or a lawyer who keeps losing cases?
If voters believe all that these three Malay parties say, they would also have to believe all their accusations against each other. How do they filter out who’s lying and who’s telling the truth? More sumpah laknat?
Or are voters willing to vote blindly based on race and religion? Just to get a few crumbs from their masters’ tables? While the jokers on top grab the lion’s share and impoverish the nation as a whole? Is that what the so-called “Malay unity” of Umno, PAS and Bersatu is really all about?
Somebody should write a TV political comedy series “based on real events”! (Hello Harapan, if you take over, keep this in mind please.) Yeah, let’s all sit back, take out the popcorn and enjoy the show.
But be aware that we are also watching the destruction of our own country. I don’t know if we should laugh or cry.