UMNO defeat in next general election is not only good for UMNO but also good for the country

I cannot agree more with veteran journalist A. Kadir Jasin who said today that defeat in the next general election will be good for UMNO.

I will go one step further and say that UMNO defeat in the next general election is not only good for UMNO but also good for the country.

Kadir Jasin said it is only after UMNO suffers defeat in a general election that it is likely work towards regaining the prestige it once had.

In an interview with Free Malaysia Today, Kadir Jasin said: “Umno can rebuild itself with a new leadership that opens up opportunities to the younger generation, but it will probably do so only if it loses a general election.

“Without a defeat, Umno will remain the way it is. It will be thinking only of what the party needs to do to stay in power instead of what the public really wants.

“The Malays today are adventurous. They now have the courage to stand up and say that they no longer need to stand under one umbrella.”

Kadir reinforced his argument with examples from recent history which illustrated that political parties that had been dominant for too long would degenerate but would rebuild themselves after defeat. He cited the cases of Taiwan’s Kuomintang, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and India’s Congress Party.

These three parties, he said, chose to heed their wake-up calls and realised that they must fulfil their responsibilities in a democracy.

He said Umno’s reaction to defeat would determine whether or not it could make a comeback.

If Umno could rebuild itself, Malaysia would move closer towards being a democracy with a two-party system.

I welcome Kadir Jasin’s courage to speak the unpleasant truth, which is an indication that Malaysia is ready for a quantum leap in our democratic experiment.

Last month, Taiwan elected Tsai Ing-wen of Democratic Progressive Party as President, which marked a third peaceful “turnover” of power through the ballot box – from Kuomintang (KMT) to DPP in 2000, DPP to KTM in 2008 and KTM back to DPP in 2016.

Malaysia has yet to become a normal democratic country, as we have yet to undergo one peaceful “turnover” of power through the ballot box when scholars say that a country cannot claim to be a normal democracy without two peaceful “turnovers” of power through the ballot box.

Will UMNO’s electoral loss in the 14 GE be such an unmitigated disaster than it will end in UMNO’s demise.

I do not believe so. I do not believe UMNO is in such a terminal stage of political cancer that it will die and can never recover if it loses the 14GE.

As Kadir Jasin has rightly argued, other countries in the world provide examples of the resilience of ruling parties which had dominated their nation’s political scenes for decades but which could still spring back to relevance and importance after the shock of their first electoral defeat and rejection in n the ballot boxes.

In fact, it will be good for the soul of UMNO to be defeated in 14GE – as it is the only way for UMNO to get rid of corrupt leaders and to reform to be politically relevant again like what had been experienced by Indian National Congress, Taiwan’s Kuomintang and Japanese Liberal Democratic parties.

This is why UMNO’s defeat in the next general election is not only good for UMNO – allowing UMNO to renew and genuinely reform to give top priority to the people’s rights and interests instead of subordinating them to those of UMNO cronies – but also to the nation, allowing the country to graduate to a higher phase of democracy where the electorate can genuinely exercise the right to choose the government they want through the ballot box.

Even more important for the country, UMNO’s defeat will SAVE Malaysia from the downward lurch towards a rogue state where there is no Rule of Law and a failed state where Malaysia is unable to leverage on our abundant human and natural resources and fully exploit our national potentials to become a just, competitive, progressive and prosperous nation because of rampant corruption, widespread socio-economic injustices and nation-building failures.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah