The Umno Supreme Council has suspended its Bukit Bendera chief Ahmad Ismail for three years over his alleged racist remarks, the Star Online has reported. The meeting chaired by Abdullah Badawi has also stripped him of all party posts.
I know a few people would have liked the ISA to be used against Ahmad. But if we are consistent about our position that the ISA is an immoral law, then to call for its use against Ahmad Ismail is not right.
Still, the party could have sacked Ahmad, but did not. (Remember Penang is Abdullah Badawi’s home-state.) Which raises the question: has the top Umno leadership lost control of its divisions – paving the way for, gulp, Mahathir and his allies to make their move? And you thought he would be contented passing his time with his carpentry hobby and looking after grandchildren, eh? He probably feels he has to save the country from Anwar!
Kadir Jasin has suggested that if Umno members are unhappy with the party leadership, they should change the leadership. He is also suggesting a unity council, with the return of Umno veterans, to save the party:
Apa yang diperlukan sekarang adalah mengembleng dan menggabungkan kuasa dan pemikiran akar umbi dengan kepemimpinan veteran Umno. Sudah pun wujud tanda-tanda yang hal ini sedang berlaku.
Inilah satu-satunya jalan keluar yang paling berdaya maju (viable) bagi Umno buat masa ini iaitu dengan pemimpin-pemimpin veteran Umno kembali memainkan peranan membina semula kepemimpinan dan perpaduan parti.
Untuk tujuan itu Umno memerlukan sebuah “majlis perpaduan” (unity council) atau badan penasihat yang terdiri daripada veteran parti (council of elders).
Can the party be saved? Should it be saved? Let’s see who the party’s “saviours” are going to be. I thought this remark by Anwar in Malaysiakini was cute:
On the reported move by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad to return to Umno, Anwar quipped: “Is he trying to help the ship sink faster?”
Meanwhile, let’s hope we get some peace – and space to focus on more pressing issues.