By Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
If there was a grade to summarize the opinions of the Conference of Rulers sitting just yesterday, the PN government and Tan Sri Mahiadin would have received a D minus.
Every one in Malaysia who is concerned about the direction of this country has now read the Rulers' statement and have concluded that it was a slap in the face of the sitting PM.
I do not need to repeat the summary analysis of the statement because it cannot be interpreted in any other way but a sign of 'disgust' at the way the government has handled the pandemic, the economy and the sacred trust or 'amanah' of managing the finances of this country.
If the Conference of Rulers' meeting can be considered as a verdict in the Day of Judgment in Islam, all the members of the PN government, including the 'pious-looking religious clerics' would be heading to a place that has no Sheraton Hotel-like environment in it.
The hot season of 44 degrees Celsius in Malaysia would be a tiny shade in that place.
The question I want to deal with now is the 'soul' of Umno. It alone among the three groups may have a chance of worldly redemption with the people of Malaysia.
The Rulers had used the words 'majority' and 'confidence' in their statements. Will the new spokesman that suddenly appears out of the blue, Hishammuddin, lead Umno to the fiery depths of further mistrust or to meadows of peaceful acceptance?
Umno has two clear options at their disposal. They can either go the way of claiming the throne of PN by demanding Hishammuddin or Mat Hasan to be the PM or choose to be with PH with either of the two to be Deputy Prime Minister with Anwar finally installed as the PM.
Which of the two ways will it go? To me the choice, knowing Umno and its previous 'sins', it will take the PN route. However, in this article, I wish to portray what the implications of that route would be and the other PH route that it could choose.
Whichever route Umno chooses, Malaysians would rejoice at least that there would be no place for the 'traitors' of Sheraton.
The veteran Bersatu members will not have it and will try to claim the DPM post if Umno chooses the PN route.
Oldies like Redzuan will never accept a Johnny-come-lately of former PKR big wig to sit in that coveted spot.
What is the implications of Umno choosing the PN way?
For Umno, it would be the easy and most desirable route because they can now walk in the corridors of power in style and reclaim their lost throne.
Warisan and Pejuang minus Mahathir may join in to strengthen their rule and thus proclaim a clear majority.
Mahathir will never play second fiddle to anyone and so will be left alone with his blog.
However, for Malaysians, this government will forever be a backdoor government unelected by the people.
To Malaysians it is a government of charlatans and opportunists who care nothing for the people.
In all probability, the pandemic, economy and harmony of the country will still be unsettled which will not help foreign investors or any significant development ventures.
The easy way for Umno will be the hard way for Malaysia. Umno would have sold off its soul to its one and only chance of redemption. Umno will never recover its place as once the party of dignity and integrity looking for the rights of all races, especially the Malays.
The other route for Umno is not desirable for those powerful warlords who hunger always for more money and power.
If Umno were to choose to be with PH, then the implications for a new change in Malaysia is set to take place.
The so-called stupid taboo of working with DAP as if it is some kind of political leprosy will be ended.
In Perak, it had started and another state may take the same path. If Umno wants to reinvent itself as a powerful Barisan Nasional with MCA, MIC and its old gang and perhaps some new ones in the next election, then it needs to put its ideology as a party that upholds the original ideals of the constitution and the Rukun Negara as opposed to the Anwar and Amanah brand of 'progressive Islam that would soon be conservative'.
Umno would then return to its pre-Mahathir and pre-'Islamic' Reformist days that respect all cultures and races within their own lifestyles and beliefs.
There would no longer be 'separate supermarket trolleys' or Muslim-only laundromats.
The message here is for the young Umno members. Will they follow leaders who will take them to the route that would lead to easy money and power but which will make Umno to be a pariah party for a multicultural Malaysia?
he young Umno members should consider the PH route as they will be able to rebuild the integrity of their party in time for GE15 where they can then separate from PH and Anwar to bid for power with a new and rejuvenated Barisan Nasional that would fight for the pre-Islamic Reformist days of Malaysia where once again people of various races and faith can visit each others' houses without looking down on others as dirty, kafir or non-halal.
Which route will Umno take?
(Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor at a local university.)