Saying the Malay electorate is split between pro and anti-government voters, MCA today said Umno now could no longer depend on its racial slogans to win elections.
Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker, who heads the Chinese-based party’s Religious Harmony Bureau, also said there was a split between urban and rural Malays, which resulted in formation a party such as Amanah.
Amanah was formed by the progressive faction of Pas following the rise of the conservative faction in the party alligned to president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.
Ti said while Pas failed to be inclusive to their moderate members, Umno leaders especially from rural areas were also guilty of disregarding non-Malay sentiments by trying to “outdo” Pas.
“This rural vs urban mentality have led to disgruntled Pas members separating and forming the splinter Parti Amanah Negara. Umno has the same divide,” said Ti, urging Umno to change the rural mentality into “more progressive cosmopolitan and pluralistic electoral terrains”.
Ti added that Barisan Nasional now must win over both Malays and non-Malay votes, unlike in the 1970s and 1980s when slogans such as “ketuanan Melayu” (Malay dominance) held sway.
“Those were the days of yonders whereby Umno had mesmerised the Malays for decades by merely calling for Malay unity and dominance without fear of offending others,” he said.
He was responding to a call by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi urging Umno to be fair to non-Malays.
But Ti took a potshot at former Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, saying his statement “I am Malay first” was an example of leaders alienating non-Malay voters.
“Now Umno must be seen as BN and be more multiracial not only in words but in deeds. This was seen in Pakatan when PKR, Pas, DAP appeared on the same stage and page in their post-2008 general election leading to their victories in GE13,” said Ti.