Eight years ago back in 2006, certain forces within Umno decided to launch an attack on the then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The result was quite dramatic when Umno and Barisan Nasional suffered its worst ever election defeat since 1969 (at that time called the Alliance Party).
No doubt some say the 2008 general election was reflective of the peoples’ desire for change. That may be true to some extent but how do you explain Umno’s and Barisan Nasional’s best ever-election performance just four years before that in 2004 (after the beating it got in 1999)?
Notwithstanding the voter sentiments in 2008, we cannot deny that what further contributed to the 2008 general election fiasco for Umno and Barisan Nasional was the infighting in Umno. This is a fact that even the opposition admits helped turn the tide.
Barisan Nasional did not recover its lost ground in 2013. In fact, the slide was slightly worse. And many predict that in the next general election that must be held by 2018 we may see Barisan Nasional gasping for life if it does not get its act together.
And that is the operative phrase here: ‘if it does not get its act together’. And from what we are currently seeing, Umno and Barisan Nasional still do not understand how to get its act together.
A police report has been made regarding 1MDB and the IGP has promised that the police are going to investigate the matter. That is good because probably once and for all we can get to the bottom of this matter and lay the matter to rest.
We do not know yet what the police are going to uncover. If they do find certain improprieties then I suppose the perpetrators will be bought to book.
But what if the police investigation reveals nothing untoward and gives 1MBD a clean bill of health? Will the critics, in particular those within Umno, accept this in good faith? Or are they going to accuse the police of a cover up (like they are doing regarding the RCI on the Sabah illegal immigrant issue)?
For years they demanded a RCI on the Sabah issue. Then, once that is done, they allege that the RCI covered up many things (some even say that more than half the report is ‘missing’). Hence they still do not accept the findings of the RCI after demanding that one is done.
I fear the same will happen with the police investigation on 1MDB. They demand police action and when the police do act they will say the police did not act in a transparent manner.
The fact that a police report was made means they want the police to act. And if they do not trust the police to act fairly then why make a police report and demand that they do act? That is the crux of the matter.
Maybe the motive is to embarrass the Prime Minister and engineer his ouster. That, too, was what happened in 2006. And we can see the result of that in 2008. Do they now want to risk the same thing repeated in the coming general election?
Even if they successfully oust the Prime Minister it does not mean Umno or Barisan Nasional is going to win back the support of the voters. There are many issues that need to be resolved and unless these are resolved it does not matter who the new Prime Minister is going to be.
And the most important issue of all is that Umno and Barisan Nasional need to address the unhappiness of the voters of Sabah and Sarawak. This is what is going to determine the future of the ruling coalition.