It was a Pyrrhic victory for Barisan Nasional and Najib Razak’s post-election speech called for national reconciliation. That is perhaps admittance that his 1Malaysia policy has not been as successful as he had hoped. It is all a nice, humble speech but his call for national reconciliation suffers from credibility crisis.
Soon after, various UMNO leaders made it clear that they did not plan to take up the reconciliation tone. They immediately took up their racialist perspective and blame the Chinese for their loss. The bitter former Chief Minister of Malacca Ali Rustam who lost his election went as far as accusing the Chinese as being ungrateful. Only the heaven knows what Utusan Malaysia will spew out today and the days after.
Najib may be sincere about reconciliation but the party is always bigger than him even as Najib is proving to be more popular than everybody else in his party. The truth is that the majority in his party does not believe in an inclusive Malaysia. If Najib is honest in reconciliation, he has to address his party, not the wider Malaysians, about his reconciliation agenda. He needs to convince his party of reconciliation and not the wider Malaysians. The wider Malaysians hear both Najib and his parties and there are stark diverging themes going on there.
Besides, it was UMNO — the primate party of BN by far — who pushed the Chinese aside. Can you really blame the Chinese for rejecting UMNO and BN?
And the suggestion that BN lost because of a “Chinese tsunami” is not entirely true. BN lost the popular votes for the first time in a long time. That would not have been possible if it were all Chinese votes. There are just not enough Chinese voters to go around making that kind of shift. And the Chinese have been hostile to BN for quite some time now. Does the death of MCA, Gerakan and SUPP not tell you something?
Maybe it was something else. Maybe, it was the urban-rural divide. The urban-rural factor has more explanatory power to describe BN’s loss of popular votes.
Maybe BN believed in its lying media too much that they thought they would have performed better. Maybe, the lesson of 2008 of the importance of credible media has not been learned by BN. They ate their own propaganda and then when it tastes bitter, they begin to blame for someone else.
For reconciliation to happen, BN needs to look at the urban-rural factors. Looking through the racialist view and then talking about reconciliation just will not fly.