The unsinkable RMS Titanic struck an iceberg at 23:40 hrs, Sunday 14th April 1912. The first landings on Normandy on D-Day took place just after midnight on the 6th of June 1944, when Allied troops attacked Pegasus Bridge over the Caen Canal in Nazi held France
But the Titanic sank a full two hours later after its initial impact at 02:20 hrs in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. The Third Reich surrendered almost a year later on 7th May 1945 and a year and 3 months later, Japan surrendered on 02 September 1945, a full year and 3 months after the first Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy.
UMNO, the gigantic ship that had been the cause of many mental problems in the country, was torpedoed on May 09th 2018 by the combined forces of Pakatan Harapan and PAS.
Many non-politicians still fail to understand how UMNO looms larger than life. For example, UMNO-ninans constantly classify past leaders as being whether they died in UMNO or outside UMNO. First, President – Died outside UMNO. Second President – Died outside UMNO. Third President – died in UMNO. Fourth – Died outside UMNO. The rest of the ex-Presidents are still alive, the Fifth President, Tun Dr Mahathir being the current Prime Minister of Malaysia and the architect of UMNO’s downfall.
But this week, that notion was put to the test as two more MPs left UMNO, bringing the total number of defections to 5. This was a big blow as it affected UMNO’s status as the single largest party in Malaysia. Even in defeat, UMNO could still claim to have the single largest voting bloc in Parliament. On May 09th they had 54 seats and BN had 79 seats. Today, UMNO has only 49 MPs, even less than DAP which has 51 MP.
The knives are pointed at the President, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Zahid Hamidi, is the best example of a super overachieving kampong style politician. He had followed in the coattails of Anwar and became Ketua Pemuda UMNO. He then followed in the coattails of Pak Lah and became a Deputy Minister. After which he followed in the coattails of Najib and became Deputy President of UMNO.
However today, he is the President of UMNO. His picture and portrait will grace the Dewan Tun Hussein Onn. But will stand out as a sore thumb among the pantheon of ex-Presidents like Tun Dr Mahathir, Tun Abdul Razak or even Najib, his ex-boss?
That is the issue UMNO faces. Does Zahid have the “X-factor” required to navigate the treacherous waters of Malaysian politics? Or will he pulled to one side by the remnants of the Najib faction who staunchly believe in doing the things the old way. And worse of all, will this alliance with PAS make any sense at all?
From a negotiation analysis, it is obvious that PAS has the upper hand. PAS leaders are able to read UMNO leaders like an open book. Some UMNO leaders, especially those who were guilty of high crimes are in a state of fear as they witness the fate which befell their former Grand Poobah, Najib Razak. Others are still enthralled by the notion of supreme Malay unity, when all the Malay parties unite under one banner.
But PAS is the expert in the political “long game”. PAS strategic thinkers are able to war game multiple scenarios and figure out what is the best strategy today to achieve their objectives tomorrow. And UMNO should not be silly, the objective of PAS is to form the dominant party in Malaysia. To achieve that, PAS will be willing to beguile UMNO into making many strategic mistakes that will end up seeing UMNO decimated in the Malay heartlands of Perlis, Trengganu, Kelantan, Perak and Pahang. PAS will fight UMNO at the grassroots and their objective is to destroy UMNO strongholds throughout the country.
If PAS replaces UMNO as the dominant force in those regions, PAS will emerge as the single greatest force in Malaysian politics. This is because as the demographics in Malaysia will continually to skew towards increased Malay majority.
PAS people know that, but will Zahid Hamidi be able to play his way out of this game with the PAS?