Political “earthquakes” that realigned Malaysian politics
Part 1: Malaysia’s Political EarthquakesThis article was originally published on 25 September 2015
In the wake of an earthquake, tectonic plates will shift and realign. It takes time before gradually stabilising. In the process of seismic shifting, instead of hoping for a more stable surface, it would be better to reflect on the possible changes after the earthquake.
The spectrum of Malaysian politics experienced three great political earthquakes that caused shifting and realignment. In the aftermath, the scenario that emerged was a previously unthinkable one. Once the tectonic plates shift, the outcome is a change that will never be the same again.
The first pre-Merdeka pan-Malayan General Election in July 1955 saw the success of the Alliance, using the UMNO-MCA-MIC formula.
UMNO’s opponents in that election were Dato’ Onn’s Parti Negara, PAS and left-wing Parti Rakyat.
When Malay Left leader Dr Burhanuddin al-Helmy took over the helm of PAS in 1956, there was a certain degree of cooperation among anti-colonial activists, the Islamist movement, the Malay Left and state/ regional champions (particularly in Kelantan). As for Chinese politics, the Labour Party was the biggest threat to MCA.
This scenario went on until the 1964 General Election, after which three political earthquakes took place.
In the 1964 General Election, the People’s Action Party (PAP) – led by Lee Kuan Yew – contested several Peninsular Malaysia seats, but was unsuccessful to unseat the existing political groupings. The party only won one seat through Devan Nair.
1969 General Election
The Labour Party boycotted the election on 10 May 1969. Two parties rose up to fill the ensuing political vacuum, namely the newly-formed Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Gerakan – which went on to capture Penang state governance under Lim Chong Eu.
This election, and the May 13 incident which took place three days after it, was a political earthquake. The political spectrum realignment in the subsequent 1974 election can be summarised in two points:
Firstly, the demise of Left-leaning parties as a Parliamentary movement.
The eventual demise of the Left (then popular in the 1960s) could be attributed to:
a) Parti Rakyat and Labour Party’s disagreement on language policy, causing the break up of the Socialist Front;
b) In response to the international climate of Cold War and Vietnam war, the government cracked down on all left-leaning parties, including the moderate Left ones. Virtually all of the Labour Party’s Central Leadership was detained under ISA. As a response, even center-left forces were radicalised and polarised, eventually the Labour Party gave up its parliamentary struggle.
c) Burhanuddin’s long ISA detention, health deterioration upon his release, and eventual demise in 1969. Circa 1965, the de facto leader of PAS was in fact Kelantan Menteri Besar Mohd Asri Haji Muda. Asri was also seen as the champion for Kelantanese regional identity, thus began PAS’ estrangement from left-wing and anti-colonial politics.
Secondly, UMNO’s dominance in the model of Race Politics
After the May 13 incident, the National Operations Council, chaired by Tun Abdul Razak, was formed on 16 May. The incumbent Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman began to lose his grip on power and stepped down in September 1970.
Parliamentary democracy was suspended from between May 13 and when Parliament was reconvened in February 1971.
Tun Abdul Razak introduced the New Economic Policy, adopted the discourse of the Left on “equitable distribution” but practiced it in a race-based manner. Razak also courted PAS in the name of “Greater Malay Unity”.
Tun Abdul Razak altered the political spectru, when he turned the UMNO-MCA-MIC power-sharing model into an UMNO-dominant model. The role of the other Barisan Nasional component parties became a subservient one, this included former Opposition parties PAS, Gerakan, PAP, and others.
1982 PAS internal fight
With PAS being incorporated into a coalition government with the Alliance in 1973 and into the Barisan Nasional framework in 1974, there was no major Malay Opposition party. As racial politics reared its head, Parti Rakyat was sidelined.
Although the Malay Opposition was by then a spent force, there were still anti-UMNO sentiments among Malays, particularly during the 1973-74 economic crisis triggered by the oil crisis.
Against this backdrop, Islamic Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) leader Anwar Ibrahim emerged as an important figure in the Malay civil society movement.
PAS was expelled from BN in November 1977, it suffered great setbacks in the 1978 election, losing most of its seats and conceding the Kelantan State Government.
From the 1978 election to the 1982 election, PAS underwent internal turmoil, but it also attracted several young leaders from ABIM, including its future Presidents Fadzil Noor, and Abdul Hadi Awang.
The shocker of the April 1982 election was UMNO’s high profile new recruit with Islamic credentials, Anwar Ibrahim – who had up until then been tipped for a PAS post. Asri had invited Anwar at least twice to be PAS’ President.
PAS continued to suffer losses in the election and barely retained 5 parliamentary seats.
In response to Anwar’s meteoric rise in UMNO and UMNO’s new Political Islam, PAS sought to reinvent itself. In the October 1982 Muktamar, a group of young Turks overthrew Asri’s leadership.
Thus the era of PAS-UMNO competing to champion Malay issues evolved into a competition to champion Islamic causes.
Domestic Islamic revival movement as well as the 1979 Iranian Revolution were major influences in the fierce clashes that took place post-1982 between UMNO/ Anwar and PAS’ Young Turks (particularly Hadi).
1998 Anwar’s ouster
The period from 1982 to 1998 also saw UMNO’s Team A-Team B split in 1987 and later on, the clash of UMNO Baru under Dr Mahathir and Semangat 46 under Tengku Razaleigh.
The latter was all but wiped out in the 1990 election, after suffering another crushing defeat in 1995 election, Semangat 46 was eventually re-absorbed into UMNO in 1996.
In the 1990 election, PAS with the assistance of Semangat 46 recaptured Kelantan, laying the foundation for a more centrist PAS that would appeal to moderate Malay voters as many young and capable activists joined the party.
In the 1990 election, the emergence of Semangat 46 united the two camps among the opposition parties to work together, paving the way for the possibility of an Opposition Coalition.
However, I do not consider the contribution of Semangat 46 as a political earthquake, because it did not have a lasting impact on the realignment of political forces in Malaysia.
UMNO’s reunification in 1996 was followed by Mahathir’s sacking of then-Deputy Premier Anwar Ibrahim on 2 September 1998, and his eventual arrest on 20 September. The Anwar incident was the catalyst for two historical political spectrum realignments:
First, the formation of Parti Keadilan Nasional (Later PKR)
After his sacking, Anwar declined the invitation to join PAS or Parti Rakyat, instead choosing to set up KeADILan. As a result, there were four main opposition parties instead of the original trio of DAP, PAS and Parti Rakyat. Barisan Alternatif was formed on 24 October 1999 and contested in the 1999 election.
Second, the emergence of the progressive faction in PAS
Before 1998, PAS members were mostly from the four East Coast states, by and large they were from the agriculture/plantation small owners and working class.
After the Anwar incident, Malays from all states in the Peninsular joined PAS in droves, this included the professional classes. Within a year after Anwar’s sacking, PAS membership exploded from 450,000 to 800,000.
One could argue that PAS’ 2015 split is the culmination of 17 years of internal strife and failed accommodation of the “Class of 1998” and the “Class of 1982”. The outcome of the split was two parties: the original PAS and Parti Amanah Negara.
The Anwar Incident was a watershed in Malay politics.Since then, PKR and the PAS Proggressives premised their struggle on opposing UMNO’s corruption, nepotism, and undemocratic practices. This was clearly a different political orientation than that pursued by the 1982 PAS conservative cohort and UMNO.
In tracing the timeline of Malaysia’s political spectrum reorganisation, the dominant issues of the period were the death of left-wing/anti-colonial parliamentary struggle in 1969, to the era of race-based politics, to the 1982 struggle of political Islam, to the Reformasi movement shifting the political struggle to be for all rakyat, to this new political earthquake in 2015.
Part 2: The evolution of political Islam in MalaysiaThis article was originally published on 27 September 2015
I would divide the evolution of political Islam in Malaysia into three stages: Islamic revival/resurgent which culminated in changes in UMNO and PAS in 1982, the emergence of PAS’ progressive faction in 1998, and “post-Islamism” of 2015.
I have always been reluctant to draw direct comparison between international trends in the discourse of political Islam and Islamic politics at home, because to a large extent, politics is local. However, international trends and labels are instructive as a window to observe domestic changes.
Of course, this is just my own perspective. In every stage of development of Political Islam, there are counter forces and voices of resistance. One could say that the path of the discourse evolution is not a linear one, but has been a winding journey.
On the international front, the main political struggle within the Muslim fraternity from the early 20th century until about the 1960s was anti-colonialism and anti-Western sentiment. Politics within the Muslim community seemed to revolve around these themes.
Hence, the Islamist movement in those years was often combined with anti-colonialist and left-wing movements in many countries, with very few organisations actually using Islam as the basis for political action – often these organisations were weak.
In Malaysia, the first Islamic political party, Hizbul Muslimin, was founded in 1948 and banned by the colonial government in the same year. It was an offshoot of Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya/ Parti Nasionalis Melayu (PKMM/ MNP). PAS was founded in November 1951 in Butterworth by ex-UMNO clerics. Former Premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s father and grandfather were among the founders of PAS.
In terms of political compass, Hizbul Muslimin was nominally right-leaning while PAS was left-leaning. In 1954, UMNO barred its members from holding dual political party membership, the majority of the original UMNO clerics who had also joined PAS then chose to remain in UMNO. The former President of the banned PKMM/ MNP, Dr.Burhanuddin al-Helmy, became PAS President in 1956.
In the 1959 General Election, PAS won the states of Kelantan and Terengganu. At that time, there was virtually no governing political party under the banner of Islam anywhere in the world other than in Pakistan and Indonesia.
Within PAS, many see the party in the image of Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation that frequently faced government persecution for the most part of the last sixty years. One of Ikhwan’s greatest ideologues, Sayyid Qutb, was accused of plotting the assassination of Gamal Abdel Nasser and was sentenced to death by hanging.
While PAS has been heavily influenced by the way Ikhwan conducts its affairs, in many ways it was the wrong role model to emulate because Ikhwan, as an oppressed movement, focuses on survival while PAS has to win elections.
Resurgence/ revival of Islam
The Islamic resurgence movement, using the slogan “Islam is the solution”, emerged as a global political wave in the 1970s. The Iranian Revolution in 1979 inspired Muslims around the world to put their faith in using radical means to obtain victory.
Malaysian Islamic politics did not develop in a vacuum, it is not immune to international developments. Islamic resurgence in Malaysia took the form of an anti-establishment movement that rose in the 1970s (with Anwar’s ABIM as the main player). Followed by the 1980s which witnessed PAS and UMNO battle to out-Islamise each other.
Few Malaysians received Islamic academic training prior to the 1980s, Anwar’s ABIM could be said to be the cradle for the leaders of that era.
ABIM emerged after the May 13 incident which saw PAS and UMNO officially became allies in 1973 and PAS joining Barisan Nasional in 1974. This union of UMNO and PAS left a political void that allowed the rise of ABIM as a leader in the Islamic-based anti-establishment movement.
In the 1978 election, Anwar campaigned for PAS, but went on to join UMNO a week before the 1982 general election. PAS internal realignment -which saw the ouster of its then President Asri Muda- took place at the Muktamar in October of the same year.
After joining UMNO in 1982, Anwar strongly pushed for issues with “Islamic branding” such as an Islamic University, Islamic finance, Islamic banking system, etc. Anwar’s strategy was (a) to push for the promotion of Islamic labels that were acceptable within the broader capitalist framework; (b) to create a brand of Islam that was acceptable under the multi-racial framework of BN.
On the other hand, the then newly-minted Vice President of PAS Hadi Awang pushed for a more “pure, true Islam” in competition with Anwar’s group. The controversial “Amanat Hadi” – first delivered in 1981- called out UMNO leaders and members as Muslims who were not sincere in the struggle for Islam, therefore falling within the category of kafir (infidel).
This declaration ignited social unease, particularly in Hadi’s home state of Terengganu. Many Muslim PAS members severed ties with their UMNO brethren, some even went to the extent of performing Muslim prayer rites twice during weddings and funerals (once by a PAS Imam and once by an UMNO imam).
By far the most dramatic crisis between PAS and the UMNO-led state apparatus was the Memali incident in 1985 which saw a police seige and deadly clash with PAS members in a small religious sect in Kedah.
In the 1986 election, PAS contested in 90 out of 154 Parliamentary seats, thinking that the strong tide of Islamic sentiment would allow it to win power. However, PAS only managed to win one seat, the hardliners within the party declined in strength while the moderates rose to prominence as a result.
Following the bitter defeat of 1986, the moderates gained ground within PAS, led by the newly elected (in 1989) party president Fadzil Noor. PAS worked with Semangat 46 after the 1987 UMNO split and went on to win back the state government of Kelantan in 1990.
The global Islamic resurgence inspired by the Iranian Revolution did not last long. By the 1990s, the Islamic movement in many countries experienced failed experiments in democracy (Algeria, Tunisia). It was an era of hardship, but also an era where political Islam experienced greater diversity.
After the 1989 collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern European Communist bloc, Western theorists (in particular, American political scientists such as Samuel P. Huntington) were in search of a new political “enemy”. The latter’s thesis “The Clash of Civilisations” became the canon for the school of thought that placed Islam as the new political enemy.
The 2001 Al-Qaeda (Osama bin Laden) attack on the World Trade Center was a product of radicalised Islam under siege. The counter trend was the tendency for Islamic parties such as in Indonesia and Turkey which had tasted power, to then move towards the center in a bid to woo moderate voters.
There were serious efforts to argue and showcase that Islam is compatible with democracy.
After the radical days of Malaysian political Islam in the 1980s, PAS’ 1990 Kelantan victory attracted some talent to join the party which later steered the party towards the middle. However, PAS’ success in 1990 in some ways also contributed to its poor performance in 1995.
The Anwar incident in 1998 garnered PAS more mass support, members, and leaders. Many non-religious technocrats and professionals were drawn to join PAS during the Reformasi movement, some even became full time political workers and leaders.
When Fadzil Noor passed away in 2002, the new President Hadi Awang abandoned the democratic Islamic campaign and revived radicalism via Haron Din’s November 2003 Islamic State Document, leading to the party’s 2004 massive electoral defeat.
In the wake of the 2004 defeat, Hadi allowed the progressives within the party to promote their political agenda to soften PAS’ image. Boosted by the informal political cooperation with PKR and DAP, PAS made unprecedented electoral gains in the 2008 general election.
The global Islamic political movement entered a period of reflection after the setbacks experienced after the 2011 Arab Spring. The Islamic political parties and movements had not anticipated the emergence of the Arab Spring uprising and arguably responded to it quite poorly.
In the post-Arab Spring process of democratisation, Islamic political parties became the most organised societal force apart from the army, these parties made significant electoral gains in Egpyt and Tunisia.
However, President Morsi’s administration crumbled within a year, it lacked capable leaders to manage transition from authoritarian society after decades of persecution extinguished its pool of leaders with technocratic background. After coming into power, it was powerless against the retaliation of the Deep State and failed to solve Egypt’s economic woes.
The Tunisian Islamic political party, Ennahda, was perhaps the most prepared in the spirit of democracy to concede administrative power and allow a technocratic government to rule.
Turkey’s Erdogan who came to power in 2003 was the original symbol of Islam’s democratisation, but after being in power for too long he became a soft dictator of sorts.
The challenge faced by political Islam is the vagueness of the slogan “Islam is the solution” in addressing the actual economic, administrative and governance problems. Is Islam a “magic pill” for everything?
Or is it time for the broader principles of Islam, maqashid syariah, be promoted to replace the superficial use of Islamic labels?
The dramatic break-up of PAS in 2015 is a product of the clash between the 1982 Islamic resurgence faction and the 1998 progressive/ moderate faction. In fact there is another level of conflict: how to promote Islam in a post-Islamism scenario.
Take hudud as an example. During dialogue with students of Islamic studies, I will inevitably be asked about my views on hudud.
My reply was this: establishing Islamic finance mechanism was an important “product” of the 1982 UMNO brand of Islam. During the 1980s Islamic resurgence, there was very little serious research on Islam and not many Malaysians who studied Islam seriously. People were satisfied with any “products” offered under “Islamic branding”. The bar was very low.
In 2015, there are at least tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Malaysians researching Islam seriously. As a society, we have a more profound understanding of the religion compared to 1982.
Islamic finance and Islamic bonds, sukuk, are both well-intentioned financial instruments packaged as “Islamic”. If today, the Malaysian government chooses to issue sukuk to bail out 1MDB, is this halal (permitted) or haram (forbidden)? Usually more than half of my Muslim audience will say that it is haram.
In the same vein, discussion of hudud in the 1980s did not involve that much of detailed contents of the laws, or giving room for debate. In 2015, with so many Malaysians spending years studying Islam, more would be conscious of the fact that if we do not apply ijtihad, we are likely to amputate the hand of someone who stole RM42 while allowing a thief who stole RM42 billion to get off scot free. Such outcome would not fulfill the broader concept of Islamic justice.
The progressives/ moderates attempted to face a pluralistic society within the framework of the Islamic resurgence. The challenge of the 1980s was to promote Islamic labelled way of thinking within a society that was not quite “Islamised”. For instance, Islamic lifestyle (tudung), politics, economy (Islamic finance), and law (hudud) were all very novel then.
The Class of 1998 tried to break the mould of the Class of 1982. The challenge in 2015 is how to move forward in a society that are ready for more than just superficially “Islamised” labels, going beyond symbolism to address broader question of justice guided by Islam and to deal with bread and butter issues.
After the 2015 split, Hadi’s PAS is left with the discourse of 1982 Islamic resurgence. Amanah must not only fulfill the mandate of the progressives/ moderates, it must propose a comprehensive post-Islamist discourse on maqashid syariah in order to win the support of more Malaysians for a just society.
The evolution of discourse in political Islam plays a pivotal role in the realignment of the Malaysian political spectrum.
Part 3: The final countdown, earthquakes and iPhoneThis article was originally published on 18 October 2015
Much as it sounds cliché, our time is indeed both the best of times and the worst of times. In such a confusing time, clarity is in short supply.
Three things may help us to describe the state of affairs in Malaysian politics better: that the final countdown is imminent; that there were major political earthquakes, tectonic shifts and realignments in 2015; and that the voting public is waiting for something transformative, a bit like the iPhone when it was first created.
The Final Countdown
The joint press conference by former rivals Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah surprised some of us. Many of us were even amazed with the unprecedented statement by Majlis Raja-Raja Melayu (The Rulers Council) on 1MDB and the falling ringgit, as the council usually restricts its pronouncements to matters relating to Islam and national unity only.
Since the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 and the sacking of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in 1998, Malaysia has been a nation impatiently waiting for change. But change has been meagre, if any. And we are now entering another crisis – a ‘perfect storm’ crisis that engulfs the nation on multiple fronts – politics, economics, finances, ethnic relations etc.
On the government front, if Datuk Seri Najib Razak leads UMNO into the next general election, not only would UMNO lose, the possibility of UMNO leaders jumping the sinking ship to contest against Najib’s UMNO cannot be ruled out.
For UMNO and Barisan Nasional supporters, they would want to know: If UMNO manages to replace Najib, will the removal process be smooth or traumatic? If Najib is removed, will UMNO stay united? And without Najib, can UMNO win again with a new leader?
For the rest of us, the real question we want to ask is: Are all UMNO’s problems caused by Najib, or is it something systemic? Can systemic problems be solved by having a new leader?”
Some may say that UMNO could surprise everyone with a sudden and transformative reforms. But then again, this is just a wishful thinking. On the eve of a potentially volatile Parliamentary session, it feels like fin de siècle or a looming final countdown.
The sacking of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal from the government on 28th July 2015 was a major earthquake not seen since September 1998. Umno members are still shell shocked, yet unable to express themselves openly. At least, for now.
The moderates and progressives in PAS were not a united force. All of them were defeated during the Islamist party’s elections of 6 June 2015. Three months later, they formed Parti Amanah Negara.
As long as PAS is led by Datuk Seri Hadi Awang, the party is not going to win the middle ground Malay voters, not to mention non-Malay voters. PAS is kissing goodbye to Peninsula’s west coast votes.
Without the progressive faction, PAS is also not going to get any traction outside Kelantan and Terengganu, and to a lesser extent, Kedah. Some commentators even opined that PAS is in danger of losing Kelantan due to issues arising from long years of incumbency and slack in governing.
We cannot rule out a second split in PAS or Hadi being replaced by Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, who is now seen as playing the exact role of his predecessor Mohamad Sabu (now Amanah president) in the previous PAS leadership, in his attempt to project an anti-UMNO image.
In recent years under Hadi’s leadership, the line between PAS and UMNO is blurring. This is ironic. It was Hadi, at least according to UMNO leaders and members, who deemed UMNO as an infidel party in the 1980s, as well as declared PAS as the champion of anti-assabiyah, a reference against UMNO’s brand of Malay nationalism. Hadi’s embrace of Perkasa, the Malay supremacy group, has shocked some PAS leaders and grassroots; they know this could cause an electoral disaster; and Perkasa practices outright assabiyah.
On the Najib front, when everything is going against his administration – or the lack of it – the moderate pretender is now backed by the likes of Jamal Yunos of the Red Shirts, conservative Muslim scholars including several Muftis, as well as Hadi and Haron Din for their ideological support. These people do not hide their contempt for moderation and progress.
As I mentioned at the beginning, earthquakes are usually followed by smaller quakes, tectonic shifts and realignment. It also leaves a huge vacuum.
Najib’s UMNO and Hadi’s PAS view things in ethno-centric terms. These views are not even representative of the many voices among the Malay community, not to mention the wider society.
According to Merdeka Centre, 23% of Malays supported BERSIH while 24% of Malays supported the Red Shirts rally. If these are two poles on the side with hardened views, what is unmistakably clear is that there is a huge middle group which has no strong preferences. They are the middle ground that would decide the outcome of any election.
This racial version of Malaysia promoted by Najib and Hadi is a recipe for disaster electorally. Any coalition should know they need support from across ethnic groups in Peninsula, and win votes from Sabah and Sarawak.
The battle for Malaysia is increasingly taking shape between the conservatives and the progressives, between those who push for Malay/Muslim dominance without a moral compass and those who push for a better Malaysia for all governed by broader principles of justice such as those articulated in the discussion of maqasid shariah and the ideals of justice and equal opportunities.
There is a huge vacuum and no one is sure how to fill it.
It was revolutionary when Steve Jobs created the iPhone in 2007. iPhone combined the function of an iPod (music), Internet surfing and phone function, three previously distinctive functions/products, into one product and set the new normal for others to follow. iPhone was the answer to its users’ unfulfilled desires.
In this post-earthquake scenario with a huge leadership vacuum to fill, it is worthwhile for us to think through as a nation what is needed to effect change in the upcoming election.
We know that the agenda of Conservative Malaysia is Malay supremacy. How then shall a Progressive Malaysia respond? Progressive Malaysia needs a coherent set of ideas which will create the iPhone of Malaysian politics – something entirely new that appeals to hearts and minds, especially that of Malay voters in swing seats.
Much has been said about the Opposition not being able to penetrate UMNO fortresses in the rural areas. Those fortresses like Rompin or Pengerang were designed and built for UMNO. It’s difficult to make way in these rural area, at least for now.
To win electoral power is not to focus on those seats. Instead, out of UMNO’s 73 peninsula seats, at least 35 of them are marginal. Progressive Malaysia should aim to win 40 UMNO seats in the peninsula. Once that is achieved, everything else will fall into place.
The way forward
The way forward is to create a vision that inspires all Malaysians with a special focus on bringing better economic security and wellbeing to lower middle class Malays in the semi-urban areas.
In good humour, I’ve said that Pakatan Rakyat’s manifesto of the 2013 election– cheaper cars, no tolls, cheaper fuel, and abolish PTPTN (university loans) – had no relevance to Malays in semi-urban areas; many of them couldn’t even afford a car (so why bother about tolls, car prices and petrol), and quite a number of them didn’t finish secondary school education.
Yet each of them has a vote to cast, and many are on smartphones, facebook, and other communication channels not controlled solely by the government.
The future of Progressive Malaysia lies in its ability to articulate their wishes and aspirations of ordinary Malaysians and their concerns for jobs, wages, healthcare, transport, security, education etc.
We need an economic vision that will create the virtuous cycle of higher wages, higher skills and higher productivity so that both the non-Malay dominated small and middle industry sector, and the Malay working class in semi-urban areas find their interests coincide and not opposing to each other.
When Malaysians find that their economic wellbeing is secure or will be more secure under the new government, change would not be feared, change would be embraced enthusiastically.
Honestly, UMNO-BN can actually do this now if they want to. But we know that many of their leaders have lost touch with reality.