The year literally started with a bang when Paris saw once of its worst acts of terrorism in recent years. This was followed on Sunday by a massive 1.5 million people march to protest what they said is an attack on free speech.
2015 may prove to be a very explosive year not only internationally but also for Malaysia as well. Even the economy may take a beating with the price of oil expected to drop below US$45, which will see many countries staggering on the brink of bankruptcy. There is even talk that some countries may abandon the Euro and go back to their own currency.
Malaysia will not be spared either. Both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat are seeing inter-party squabbles with fiery statements flowing to and fro. Patience is wearing thin and tempers are flaring. Many parties are also facing internal conflict, some out in the open and some simmering below the surface just waiting to erupt.
Thus far Malaysia’s political divide has been very ideologically oriented with both sides of the fence almost equally represented by all ethnicities. That, however, is beginning to change with talk that the new political landscape may be Malays on one side and non-Malays on the other.
If this prediction comes true that will not augur well for the country, which is a melting pot of ethnicities, cultures and religions. That is the sort of divide that has torn many countries apart and which will also happen to Malaysia if we are not careful.
PKR and PAS appear to be facing a crisis, both within their respective parties and also with one another. DAP is watching to see which group will emerge the victor before deciding on its alignment. Invariably, the divide is still going to be race and religion oriented with Islam being the core issue.
Umno has to be very careful before jumping in. Some in Umno want the party to align itself with a certain faction in PAS or even invite the disgruntled members from PKR to leave their party to join Umno. It may not be prudent at this stage to attempt to capitalise on the problems within the opposition coalition, as the dust has not quite settled.
Umno needs to focus, and the focus must be on the coming general election. And one crucial ingredient for Umno’s survival is the support from Sabah and Sarawak. So let us, therefore, not try to take advantage of other people’s problems when we are yet to resolve our own issues.
This is what we have to seriously take into consideration if we want to come through the next general election unscathed.