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Perak crises: beyond the gravitational pull of race and religion

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COMMENT BY YB PROF DR P.RAMASAMY, DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTER II, PENANG

Yes, Perak crisis is over for now.

However, whether you can permanently avert political crises in Perak or elsewhere given the coalition of strange bedfellows, remains to be seen.

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Analysis of politics based on race and religion is superficial for they do not capture the actual dynamics in an in-depth manner.

It is not the overt expression of consciousness that determines the outcomes whether they are political or economic, but the political economy of material reality.

Overt manifestations in racial or religious terms might not capture the reality that gives rises to these.

Analysts often mistake the manifestations as the source of the problem rather than the material reality that gives rise to observable things.

They are not simply the repeat of the past but the past invoked to provide expressions to modern reality.

The past is simply historicism used to give effect to modern reality.

In the case of Perak, my understanding is, Umno would have joined forces with PH including DAP take over the Perak state government had it not for the corruption cases of some key leaders.

The very fact that Umno is reluctantly putting up with the antics of both Bersatu and PAS to some extent is because of the reasons that might not have to do with the super-structural elements of race or religion.

Traditional enmity with PH not withstanding, some Umno leaders who have been charged on several counts of corruption are waiting for some favours from the PN government in the form of dismissal of their cases.

Unless and until these corruption related cases are disposed off to the benefit of some key leaders like Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Najib Tun Razak, Umno simply has no moral authority to challenge the PN government.

The failure of PKR president Anwar Ibrahim to garner support from Umno MPs to form the next government is precisely because of this factor. Evidently, Anwar miscalculated his mathematics in announcing the support from the recalcitrant Umno members.

Further, by equating the defeat of the 2021 budget with the fall of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government, was another serious miscalculation on the part of Anwar and PH opposition.

Muhyiddin is strong not because of the PN government policies nor the way the way the COVID-19 pandemic was addressed, but because Umno and PAS have skeletons to hide in the cupboard.

For Umno, PAS is seen as et tu Brutus!

With not too many MPs and having being implicated in the 1MDB financial wrongdoings, it rode on the back of Umno to be part of the new federal government under PN.

Having secured the benefits of power and position, there is no turning back even to the extent of “stabbing” Umno in the back.

So much for race and religion!

In the case of Perak, the corruption cases around the neck of Umno leaders like an Albatross and fair weather friend like PAS, Umno was pushed to the corner. It could not sustain the same courage and fortitude beyond the removal of the former Perak menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu.

In other words, on realising the political consequences, a seriously tainted Umno leader like Zahid caved in with an apology.

What a shameful and demeaning act!

So much for the party’s struggle for race, religion and nation.

It was the struggle to be freed from prosecution that resolved the political crisis in the silver state of Perak. Nothing to with race or religion!

It is wrong to say that Umno, Bersatu and PAS came together to settle the crises in Perak due to the gravitational pull of race and religion.

Although the three parties were race based, it was Umno’s fear of what might possibly happen to its leaders that resolved the crises. If the circumstances were different, a rapprochement with the non-Malay forces could have possibly taken place.

When it comes to the derivation of material benefits, Umno is open on the question of political alliance. If the party had more than 60 years of inter-racial pact with MCA and MIC, what prevents it from having an alliance with DAP.

Of course, the circumstances that Umno leaders were caught in were no justification for them to join forces with Bersatu for having humiliated them in the recent past. But then, this is what Umno is today, a far cry from the heydays of nationalism.

The clarion call for race, religion and nation is nothing but an empty slogan to save the skin of the corrupted leaders in the party.

It is unfortunate that the Umno grassroots continue to be hoodwinked by their leaders.

Umno or Bersatu or PAS other than race or religion they have nothing to offer Malaysians as how to move the country forward on the basis of sound policies and measures that would free the country from sinking into the quagmire of racial and religious tensions.

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