It used to be that flying chairs were associated with MIC meetings. No longer.
The big news today should have been Mat Taib emerging as a surprise contender for the Umno deputy president’s post, joining Ali Rustam and Muhyiddin.
But flying chairs at the Seremban Umno meeting, which left two people injured, have added to the litany of serious troubles facing Umno.
It is not just one incident that suggests that Umno is going through a testing time. Serious money politics, factionalism, the return of the old guard and Mahathirism, bitter leadership struggles and protests at divisional meetings are all evidence of a party in crisis. The big question now is can the party pull through unscathed at a time of economic turbulence or will the fissures that are now evident lead to a final implosion?
Najib is reported as saying that 900 complaints of money politcs had been received by the party’s disciplinary board. 900?! We have heard top Umno politicians complaining about attempts at vote-buying and money politics.
At the Rembau meeting yesterday, a commotion broke out when a number of delegates complained that nominations were closed prematurely.
Over in Tanah Merah, several members managed to get an ex-parte injunction from the Kota Baru High Court to defer the division’s delegates meeting. Controversy surrounds the status of 32 branch heads and alleged phantom members.
And that’s just the news over the last two days!
One commentator told me that Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat won’t have to do much: they needn’t bother looking for defections from MPs who lack conscience or principles. Instead, PR leaders can just sit back and watch as Umno, after the heavy blows it took on the chin on 8 March, stumbles around like a dazed and ageing heavyweight fighter trying to avoid hitting the canvas for the final count.