THE United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) is the dominant party in the coalition that has ruled Malaysia since independence in 1957….an outfit with a past reputation as a ruthless political machine.
Yet what might be therapeutic for UMNO could prove the reverse for Malaysia. ..the party are determined to shift the country in a conservative, indeed reactionary, direction. … A return to race-tinged policies represents a repudiation of much of what the head of UMNO and prime minister, ..
..UMNO-led ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional (BN), won the election, its performance was its worst ever. The BN’s share of the popular vote fell to just 47%..
..to survive an onslaught from his conservative wing, Mr Najib has been forced to backtrack abruptly. On September 14th he announced a raft of initiatives privileging ethnic Malays. ..
Mr Najib couched his extraordinary about-turn in terms of fairness and “equity” for ethnic Malays. But it was also a blatant attempt to please party critics ..
..There is no denying the damage to Mr Najib’s credibility. To many Malaysians, even ethnic Malays, Mr Najib has sacrificed political principles to save his job. His campaigning slogan of “1Malaysia”, emphasising racial harmony, now rings hollow.
Meanwhile a stuttering Malaysian economy will somehow have to raise the necessary billions for the new BEE programme. A brain drain abroad of talented Chinese- and Indian-Malaysians, disgusted by the overt racism of it all, will continue. And the country’s stated goal of becoming a prosperous economy by 2020 will recede further. So much for Mr Najib’s great reforms.
source: The Economist