Death knell for Barisan Nasional?

Is the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council last night the death knell for Barisan Nasional?

After the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meeting, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that Barisan Nasional component parties have “agreed to disagree” on the September 16 Red-Shirts “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” rally in Kuala Lumpur after Umno’s BN partners voiced their objection to it at the meeting.

He said: “There are many who have voiced their concern over the rally, and as BN chairman I respect their opinions.

“The component parties had voiced out many opinions and we had decided to agree to disagree on it.”

Najib cannot be more wrong. As BN Chairman, he should not just respect the opinions of the leaders of the other political parties in Barisan Nasional, he must comply with their views unless there is a consensus decision by all the BN coalition parties supporting a Red-Shirts “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” rally in KL tomorrow.

What has happened to the much-vaunted consensus principle of Barisan Nasional which had been hailed as the key to BN’s success?

Has the BN consensus principle been abandoned and replaced by what UMNO wants and decides, where in the 13-party coalition, the views and stands of the other parties do not matter when they clash with the views and stand of UMNO?

But has UMNO Supreme Council taken a stand to unofficially support the Red Shirts “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” rally in KL tomorrow, confirming suspicions that it was UMNO who was the mastermind of the Red Shirts rally from the very start?

The Barisan Nasional is a coalition of 13 political parties, four from Sabah, four from Sarawak and five from Peninsular Malaya.

The eight political parties from Sabah and Sarawak could not have possibly agreed to the holding of the racially-charged Red Shirt “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” rally in Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 16, especially as it is a complete antithesis to the very idea, concept and vision of Malaysia Day.

Leaders of Sarawak and Sabah component parties of Barisan Nasional have called for the cancellation of the racially-charged and anti-Malaysia Red Shirts Sept. 16 rally in Kuala Lumpur, and the ignoring of their calls is a sign of their irrelevance and impotence in the Barisan Nasional coalition, except to provide the numbers to allow Najib to become the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia.

If there is a vote in the BN Supreme Council whether the Red Shirt “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu”, with its most provocative pre-public campaign image of “racial bloodbath”, should be allowed to be held in KL tomorrow to threaten not only racial peace and social harmony of the country, but to undermine the very idea and concept of a Malaysian nation, the vote would be a resounding 12-1 if UMNO had insisted on supporting the Red Shirts rally.

Why should UMNO’s one vote prevail over the 12 votes of the other BN component parties if Barisan Nasional is a coalition of equals and not 12 political parties serving one master political party, UMNO?

Is Barisan Nasional just UMNO hegemony personified where the views and stands of the leaders of other 12 Barisan Nasional simply do not matter – and is this the reason why we see the MCA President recently trying to pacify an ordinary UMNO Supreme Council member who had warned “MCA and Gerakan not to take Najib’s kindness for granted”?

Unless and until the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council is reconvened to adopt a consensus resolution supporting the holding of the Red Shirts Sept. 16 rally in Kuala Lumpur, Najib should demonstrate the leadership expected of him to disallow the racially-charged and anti-Malaysia Red-Shirts “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” rally as it threatens racial peace and social harmony as well as being antiithesis to the idea and concept of a Malaysia Day.

Did any leader from the other 12 parties in Barisan Nasional asked at the BN Supreme Council meeting last night why Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi had been guilty of double standards and failed to act as an independent, impartial and professional Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister in banning the innocuous yellow Bersih 4 T-shirt calling for good governance and clean, free and fair elections while allowing the racist and most provocative red T-shirt on “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” to be sold and distributed?

The four BN parties in Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsula Malaysia respectively should ponder long and hard as to what is the use of having a Barisan Nasional coalition if the views of the other 12 parties do not matter, and their only role, as in Tennyson’s poem, the Charge of the Light Brigade, put it beautifully – “Theirs not to make reply. Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die”!

Can any leader from the 12 non-UMNO BN parties reply?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah