MCA has decided to “initiate the process of dissolving BN” and not “quit BN”.
Umno leaders have urged MCA to make up its mind and act fast, hinting that they no longer need MCA, so it should stop making noise and just get lost.
MCA has lost three consecutive general elections, in 2008, 2013 and 2018, and by right it should be end of game for the party.
But, politics is not just about electoral battles but rather the strategy adopted.
If you don’t get the right partner, your future is doomed.
This is what happens to BN today. Luck is not on its side, and it is made up of a bunch of equally rotten partners.
What about the partnership between MCA and Umno?
For MCA, things cannot get any worse. If it happens to lose again, it loses the most one additional seat. Not a big deal after all!
So, it doesn’t really matter now whether MCA can go without Umno. Similarly, there is no necessity for the party to have a clean and quick cut from Umno because no one knows what will become of Umno in five years’ time, or even one year down the road.
Indeed, Umno has deviated off course under the stewardship of Ahmad Zahid. The party is tilting more to the right and towards radicalism, as it seeks to team up with PAS and play up the racial and religious game.
This, unfortunately, will not take Umno any further.
We are not living in the year of 1969, and are not as penniless as in those turbulent years besides the fact people have grown tremendously in the awareness of democracy and rule of law.
Today, political power is no longer confined to a handful of privileged individuals.
Zahid cannot do as he pleases. Meanwhile, PAS has its own agenda and may not dance to his tune.
He is currently fighting his court cases and as such must mess things up for his own salvation.
But doing so will not take Umno back to the political mainstream, nor win the next general election and recapture Putrajaya.
The Malaysian society has a multicultural fabric and this country will not be controlled by any single race within the foreseeable future.
Of all the 222 parliamentary seats, those held by PAS and Umno do not even make up a third.
Even though there are 120 Malay-majority seats or over half of the total, non-Malays could be the kingmakers in many of them. Umno and PAS may not win all!
In the absence of non-Malay support, Umno will lose its allies in East Malaysia.
The party will need to face the reality come GE15. It must modify its strategy and seek non-Malay partners.
The pluralistic nature of the Malaysian society will make political alliances the only option for parties to remain relevant.
As secretary-general Annuar Musa has said, Umno can even work with DAP, which is not impossible theoretically although highly impractical in reality.
Save for a major shift in the country’s political ecosystem, Umno will still need MCA. Period.
While this combination may not assure an electoral victory, it is at least the only viable option we can visualize today.