Bukit Gantang: A referendum on more coups

A key to democracy is the loser’s willingness to concede defeat.

The outgoing PM Abdullah and the ousted Penang CM Koh Tzu Koon will therefore be forever remembered as democrats for they did not attempt riots or palace coups as some of the lowlife creatures in their parties would or had.

The challenge for Malaysia is that we may soon face another trial moment like March 8, not least because of UMNO and BN’s own work.

By fanning Malay ultra-nationalism, UMNO may be able to recover some lost grounds in the Malay heartland but it is also destroying fast whatever remaining goodwill UMNO and BN still enjoy amongst the non-Malay and liberal Malay electorate.

What if come next elections UMNO and BN win 55% of Peninsular Malay votes but only 20% of the non-Malay support? Compared to the 2008 result (see chart below), this may well mean a slight improvement of BN’s victory in Malay super-majority seats from 45 to 55 but also a reduction of BN’s mixed seats from 25 to 20 and a complete wipe-out in the non-Malay majority seat.

This means a total of UMNO’s 75 seats against Pakatan Rakyat’s 90 seats in Peninsula.

Would UMNO be willing to concede defeat? Or will it insist to dominate the government because it enjoys the bare majority of Peninsula Malay support?

If UMNO Sabah and PBB manage to keep their 28 seats, while PR grabs the rest or orchestrates the defection of other component parties, PR will be leading UMNO and PBB at a smaller ratio of 117:105.

Would UMNO be willing to hand over the power peacefully? Or would it take whatever means to “restore the Malay dominance”, the first and foremost justification of the coup in Perak for UMNO members?

The Bukit Gantang by-election is therefore about democracy or more coups. It’s not about Najib’s new job. It’s about our jobs and if we want to find them in a democratic and economic ruin.

It is a referendum. Would you choose to punish the coup-plotters? Or would you vote for more coups?

See the full and non-technical version of this article in thenutgraph.com later this morning.


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