Ijok By-election: Umno Moves To Reassure Malays.
That is the Bernama headline today. As most of you would already know, the average Malay in Ijok is not too enamoured by having an Indian wakil rakyat representing them all these years. They would naturally prefer an anak Melayu. Not for them the intricacies of and the give-and-take involved in coalition politics. Even some educated and well informed Malays who should know better are against a non-Malay candidate. This does not mean that they are racists. In a similar situation the same I'm sure would be true of the other races as well.
The Kuala Selangor Umno had earlier openly demanded that a Malay be named. That wish of course could not be accommodated for the simple reason that it would have opened up an entirely new problem for Barisan in the future. If Umno were to give in to one such demand, it would spell disaster for coalition power-sharing. Therefore cool heads prevailed at the higher echelon of the leadership and the status quo was firmly allowed to be maintained.
But naturally there were worries that some on the Umno side of the Malay political divide might jump ship and cast their lot with the Malay candidate from Keadilan, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim. Stranger things have been known to happen in peninsular Malay politics. Therefore to assuage the feelings of these people and to reassure them that Umno has always had their best interests in mind, Deputy Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced that the Malay community in Ijok will be well taken care of although the Barisan Nasional (BN) is fielding a candidate from the MIC.
Alluding to their earlier request/demand he said, "athough the Malay community had wanted a Malay candidate to be fielded in Ijok this time, it needs to realise that the BN practises a power-sharing concept. The Malays need not worry that their welfare will be neglected as the state's leaders would ensure this will not happen."
Call it damage control, worries about repercussions or exercising caution in view of the opposition candidate being a Malay, the assurance is a timely one. The bitter lessons of Lunas hopefully have been learnt. Now all that Umno and the MCA have to do is to ensure that Samy Vellu stays out of the Malay and Chinese areas to avoid pissing off the non-Indians with his arrogant style of talking and overbearing demeanour.
You can read about Ahmad Zahid's assurances HERE.