By Cikgu Kamarul
1. “There were three of us in this marriage and it was too crowded”, Lady Diana once said about her failed marriage to Prince Charles. Three has never been a good number where friendship is concerned. Two’s a company, three’s a crowd. Even the Malays have a proverb on the number three which is seen as negative in ‘main kayu tiga’.
2. Perhaps UMNO and PAS were not that superstitious when it comes to numbers. They were doing so well on the Muafakat Nasional charter, winning seven by-elections in a row. However they wanted to try something more challenging and look at things from a higher level and decided to form the PN government with Bersatu. That was when all the problems started. It would have been better they remained the opposition and nail PH for good in the next General Elections.
3. Honestly, many within the party thought that as a member with the highest number of seats in the PN coalition, UMNO should be given a bigger share of the cake. However this didn’t happen and the skepticals could see that something was amiss.
4. Not only that, to add salt to the wound, UMNO was not even given the freedom to suggest the names of their candidates to be in the cabinet. Instead it was Muhyiddin who as the Prime Minister, handpicked them. Nobody could see it coming. Muhyiddin discarded the staunch UMNO leaders and went for the losers’ pool. He totally isolated those up the hierachy. The president, deputy president, two vice presidents were all left out. Instead Annuar Musa (who lost to Muhamad Hassan for the deputy), Khairy Jamaluddin (who lost to Zahid Hamidi), Hishamuddin Hussin (who did not contest at all) were chosen.
5. Many at grassroots level were flabergasted. Not long after that, differences started to emerge. Annuar Musa began talking about a grand coalition. To him, if the Malays were to be united, Bersatu should not be left out. It was a miscalculated move on his part. UMNO members were not ready to accept the splinters in. The feud between UMNO and Bersatu members could be seen in every single whatsApp group or FB. Obviously Annuar did not bother to look at them. Annuar did not realise that it was going to be a grand collision instead of a grand coalition.
6. Many thought that as the Sec Gen of UMNO, he should be the voice of the party but he was thought to be busy ‘practising the Bersatu song’. Annuar might have a positive agenda on his mind but being an UMNO leader for a great number of years, he should know that making inferences is not a skill most UMNO members have.
7. As a minister in the government and being vocal with his ideas, UMNO members began to doubt his stand. Thus, it was no fault of Zahid Hamidi when he did what he did as the members decided to ‘cut ties’ with Bersatu during their Divisions meeting. Zahid had to do what is necessary. The decision on Annuar was soft. Many had gone through stiffer punishments. At the same time, this is not the right time to start strippig leaders or members as the General Elections is just around the corner. UMNO needs to buck up.
8. This is also not the right time to make contradicting statements. UMNO leaders should take heed from Vice President Dato’ Seri Mahdzir Khalid who doesn’t wash UMNO’s dirty linen in public. He only talks about differences during UMNO meetings. A true party leader, Mahdzir is wise and doesn’t put the party into any unnecessary trouble.
9. Lady Diana met with an accident and died in a Paris tunnel on 31 August 1997. Annuar needs to keep a cool head. He is good for the party. Hopefully he will survive the collision with his idea of a grand coalition.