A couple of months ago, Perak Umno state assemblywoman Hamidah Osman made a racist remark against the Indian community to the chagrin of the Pakatan Rakyat representatives in the state assembly.
Although she refused to budge, top Umno leaders later directed her to apologise to the Indians in country. As the battle for the top positions in the MCA and Gerakan has begun and would be decided next month, politicians in both parties are taking advantage of the situation to put the blame on Umno.
With Ahmad’s remarks, it will be added ammunition for the aspiring candidates. But are they serious about the future of their parties in the BN?
DAP veteran Lim had provoked them earlier. “Why didn’t the MCA and Gerakan ministers and leaders take a strong stand (on the eve of the Permatang Pauh by-election) to issue an ultimatum that Ahmad apologise and withdraw the racist remark, failing which they would pull out of the Barisan Nasional by-election campaign in Permatang Pauh?
“Wouldn’t this be more effective and fruitful than just making protests ‘after the event’ — when it would still get them into the newspapers — although they are being ignored not only by Umno, the Barisan Nasional supreme council but also the Cabinet?”
Even Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon made one of the “after the event” arguments, claiming that Ahmad’s alleged racist remarks were a key contributing factor to the BN’s defeat in the by-election.
Koh’s lame remark about Ahmad’s racist slur that it had made it extremely hard for BN component parties such as Gerakan to win back the people’s support is an indication that the anger within the BN against Umno is just hot air.
But top leaders of BN component parties, trying their best to remain in the federal ruling coalition, are worried that their MPs may have different ideas.
Already voices of discontent have been heard in several states among BN component members about the bleak future of remaining within the coalition. It is perhaps giving Anwar the advantage to convince some BN MPs and possibly state assemblymen too to think twice about remaining in the Umno-controlled BN — the fear of Umno hegemony.
The DAP has given its full support for Anwar as the alternative prime minister and while Pas top leaders are still reluctant about it, many of its other leaders and grassroots members have no qualm about the former deputy prime minister taking over the country’s leadership.