An unchallenged BN has resulted in the coalition to be complacent, allowing the creeping of all forms of extremism within its ranks.A quick look at the ruling Barisan National’s ‘moderate’ call shows how flawed it is, with a definite failure at home.
Moderation is the name, says the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who has joined in the creation of an international alliance of the moderates, to prove his commitment.
Yet, with his flight to Gaza and his outright support for the Hamas, has it not exposed the flaws at the international level? By no means, is the Hamas a moderate movement.
It has been said, in the past, that the BN government has one major flaw. Complacency is the name.
The fact of being unchallenged for decades has led the BN to be complacent, allowing the creeping of all forms of extremism within its ranks.
Pressed by the rising opposition forces, BN has acquired yet another major weakness. The ruling coalition, pushed in a corner, does not know how to deal with this forceful and powerful opposition.
Hence, we saw the cats coming out of the bag of extremism. While the central powers within the BN claim they are in favor of moderation, their partners and supporters do not seem to agree with them.
Many among the supporters of the ruling coalition reject the ’1Malaysia’ concept, insisting on the pursuing the ethnic divide.
To them, Malay rule is sacred, but what is more important is the denial of others’ rights.
Nevertheless, the BN is pushing a silent campaign against the opposition. Among the Malays, there are fears that the ‘Chinese will rule’ if the Pakatan Rakyat comes to power.
Many still believe, in the very heartlands of the Pakatan’s power bases, that the Malays must go back to the Umno. When asked why? They would reply that the Malays owes a lot to the Umno, or that they cannot afford the Chinese to take over.
The fact that Malay political rule is a salient point in the Umno-BN campaign is indicative of the failure of the ‘wasatiyah’. It also shows a lack of control of the PM on his troops, and of the Umno grassroots.
It simply does not make sense that a party leader promoting moderation, allows his grassroots to campaign solidly on ‘Malay power’.
Poisoning the grassroots
To the extreme elements, the point is the Pakatan includes the DAP and this is yet another major point of the Umno-BN campaign.
The PAS, they say, is working closely with the DAP, an anti-Malay Chinese group. The poison is being stirred in the minds of the grassroots, that if the DAP is allowed to hold power with Pakatan, the Malays will lose all.
The most interesting part of this campaign is that the Malays have already lost to the ‘Chinese businesses’ and are struggling to survive.
However, they fail to state that if it’s true the Malays have lost the economic battle, under which rule this had happened?
Nevertheless, the theme of ‘wasatiyah’ does not fit the bill of the BN. One more obvious reason is, above all considerations, it’s the abuse of the media. The extreme reactions of the press, printed or audio-visual, is flabbergasting.
They’re overtly pro-BN, and the news or editorials are not based on ‘wasatiyah’. They seem to be based on extreme views, the likes which the BN used to carry around, and that is ‘The media belongs to the government.’
And are we wondering why Malaysia slumped to the 145th slot in terms of freedom of the press?
Evidently, ‘wasatiyah’ is not helping the press and with it, it is bringing down the image of the regime.
What should BN do? Release its grip over the press? If that was to happen, the BN would have surrendered its last defence base.
Yet, the real question is whether the local press and TV stations have qualified journalists who can carry out the duty of independent journalism?
While brandishing ‘wasatiyah’ in one hand, but closing an eye on extreme acts by its supporters and grassroots, the BN has shot itself in the foot. And it has only itself to blame if it’s losing the media battle.
It has only itself to blame too for not gaining an edge over the strong opposition coalition.
Needless to say, it is also sinking deeper into a morass that will be harder to shake in the coming months.
And that is putting many of the BN supporters, including the larger business community, into the doldrums.