Umno Wanita chief Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil reminded delegates today that the mainly Chinese DAP party is the biggest threat to Malay political rule.
Speaking at her party wing’s congress to rally the women in the run-up to the 14th general election, she said the Malays could “lose it all” if the Pakatan Harapan (PH) bloc – of which DAP is a component – takes federal power.
Malays form the country’s biggest ethnic group.
“Are we willing to watch what we have tried to so hard to achieve – the prosperity, harmony and stability – destroyed and taken away?
“Are we prepared to lose it all? You all know there are only two parties that can rule: either Barisan Nasional led by our beloved Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib or the Opposition led by none other than the DAP and Emperor Lim,” Shahrizat said, referring to DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang.
Umno leaders have persistently claimed that Lim, who has been with the DAP since the 1950s, pulls all the strings in both DAP and the PH Opposition alliance consisting of PKR, Parti Amanah Negara and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, the latter chaired by former Umno president and retired prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Lim has repeatedly rejected allegation, calling it a racially-motivated tactic to stoke fear among the Malays.
The attacks against the DAP have intensified in recent months as Umno prepares for national elections, which must be called by August next year.
Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak is looking for a stronger mandate to fend off critics of his leadership.
In Election 2013, he led Umno to sweep 88 out of the 222 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, although the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition as a whole lost the popular vote.
Shahrizat told delegates today that the Wanita wing will play a crucial role in helping the party mobilise support for Najib, and that unity is key.
“Unity is key to our shield,” the Umno leader said.
“Because in politics, when we are under attack, unity will be our shield. Remember, when the party is under attack, unity is our only shield.
“Do not ever let go of this shield,” she said.
Criticism against Najib grew stronger after Dr Mahathir quit Umno to found his own all Bumiputera party last year, together with ex-Umno deputy president and toppled deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The departure of these two senior politicians drove a wedge in Umno, although political pundits said Najib has managed to contain the crisis and emerged stronger.
Shahrizat said today that unity, “love” and party support for Najib have strengthened.
“He cares for us, I don’t think we can get a more caring leader than our party president,” she said.
Meanwhile, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said Umno is on the wrong track if it thinks it is going up against DAP in the general elections.
He asserted the BN anchor party will be facing the people of Malaysia in the elections, not its political foes.
“It is not Umno versus DAP, it is Umno versus the people of Malaysia. DAP is only one of the four component parties in Pakatan Harapan,” Lim who is also Penang chief minister told a news conference at his office.
The Bagan MP was responding to news reports of Umno leaders, notably Shahrizat, singling out DAP as a threat to Malay political rule.
“It is easy for them to blame non-Malays and non-Muslims and pit them against the Malays and the Muslims. Just like Zunar, we are easily bullied and they will always try to bully those who are easily bullied,” he said, referring to a controversial political cartoonist.
Zunar whose real name is Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque has been arrested and charged several times over his caricatures and artworks of government leaders.
Lim said the DAP is willing to face challenges in the elections and hoped that Malaysians will stand up to stop Umno and BN’s alleged bullying and arrogance by changing the government.
Lim also expressed shock over photoshopped photographs of him and other PH leaders being displayed in an exhibition at the Umno general assembly in the Putra World Trade Centre.
“This showed that Umno is bankrupt of issues that they have to use this, use racial and religious issues in their congress,” he said.
Zunar, who was present at the press conference with Lim, accused the authorities of double standards by allowing Umno to display caricatures that insulted racial and religious sensitivities.
“They also exhibited photoshopped photographs of Opposition leaders by placing their heads on other bodies and this was allowed and yet, others have been arrested for doing this is with photographs of other leaders,” he said.
He pointed out that he was arrested five times and slapped with nine different charges over his political caricatures, which were often mocking leaders in the BN administration but the cartoonists were allowed to do the same against federal Opposition leaders without any repercussions. – Malay Mail