The Malaysian Insider
MAY 16 — In sports, games can be made dirty and sometimes fatal. But they only involve the players and nobody else. But in the case of politics, when the game becomes dirty and dangerous, the country and the people will suffer. There are no gainers and even the perpetrators themselves will suffer. Their aim is to destroy their opponents with no compunction as to what happens to the country. We have to beware of such political shenanigans!
The current coalition of parties in power, especially the main player Umno, is in a state of panic. The length of time that they had been in power had made them flabby in their thinking and actions. They simply cannot comprehend that their actions and the actions of their cahoots are wrong and detrimental to the welfare of the people. Their blind support for the grave mistakes by their agents proves their inability to grasp the seriousness of these actions. They pass the blame on others for the blunders made by these agent provocateurs.
It is very easy to see how the attacks by the Barisan Nasional are done and how amateurish they are.
Umno is in the first place afraid of the growing influence of PAS and thus uses religion to attack this party. Umno accuses the party of foregoing its principles when it works with the DAP. It tries its very best to make PAS break loose from working together with the DAP. It knows that the coming together of PAS and the DAP would spell disaster for Umno. For once the country sees the working together of the rural and urban voters.
It even uses race to break this working arrangement. By co-operating with the DAP, Umno tries to portray that PAS has abandoned the welfare of the Malays and also had compromised on its Islamic principles.
The strategy however does not work.
Umno is also scared stiff of the influence and inroads made by PKR. To Umno, if they could break Anwar, PKR would be completely crippled. It was not possible to use religion or race to fight PKR and so the target has to be Anwar. Anwar has the intellectual capacity that Umno leaders are incapable of challenging. They have therefore to use other means to kill him politically. Since he has the charisma and the ability to sway crowds at all public gatherings, his image has therefore to be smeared.
Despite the misuse of power it has not dented Anwar's image. They had to resort to sex scandals but this too has not helped. PKR is still popular and making serious inroads in Umno strongholds. Umno is now resorting to pressing the panic button. They again resorted to what they are familiar with and that is sex.
Another sex accusation was levelled at Anwar and now the case is ongoing.
The case may take some time before a verdict can be reached and in the mean time the general election is due. Desperate times need desperate means. A video purported to show an image of someone looking like Anwar having sex with a supposedly Chinese prostitute was produced to help destroy Anwar's image. As one blogger wrote, "Out of 10 who saw the video, 11 did not believe that it was Anwar!" What a sad scheme!
Another indomitable enemy that Umno fears is the DAP which has managed to penetrate and conquer domains that used to be the political preserve of the MCA and the Gerakan.
To Umno, the MCA and Gerakan are spent forces and now it is up to Umno to tackle the threat posed by the DAP. Attacks on DAP leaders like Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh had no political effect. They continue to be ever so popular.
Umno is unable to inflict any major dent in the character of these two charismatic leaders. Umno is also very perturbed by the impressive progress made by the DAP-led Penang government. Stronger tactics have to be resorted to by Umno to damage the standing of the DAP and its rule in Penang.
Race issues had been tried and there is no visible effect at all. More Malays are giving support to the DAP.
Religion is now being used. A meeting of Christian priests in Penang is now being used to create tension. They are accusing them of wanting to make Christianity the official religion of the country. Umno will grab any incident and spin it to counter the challenges posed by the opposition.
Using the issue of Christianity to damage the DAP shows the kind of calibre of Umno politicians. They will stoop to any level to achieve their goals.
But Umno forgets that the people are smarter now. Their spin simply will not sway them. Their dirty tricks department has been recycling old gimmicks and failing miserably and in the process losing more ground.
Malaysians can no longer be conned that easily.
* Ahmad Mustapha Hassan is the author of "The Unmaking of Malaysia" and a former general manager of state news agency Bernama. He was also the press secretary to former Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and then-Deputy Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.