ORANG Minyak, in Malay folklore, is real. He (there is no account of a she to this date !) is the sly, oily, and savage person, who goes in and out of people's home, to pilfer, rape and plunder.
Very soon, UMNO and PAS will produce an "Orang Minyak," to run in the Semenyih by election on March 2nd 2023. Why ? There are many reasons but it is important to understand what is the most important one.
First, and foremost, UMNO and PAS have been literally caught with their pants down. Even Hadi Awang has has to withdraw his trial against Clare Rewcastle-Brown in London. Thus, Hadi Awang, despite being a self acclaimed Islamic scholar, has refused the legal privilege to challenge the claim of Clare Rewcastle-Brown, a certifiable journalist, with previous background from the respectable British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), that the leadership of PAS had been on the take from UMNO. The amount is staggering to say the least: RM 90 million.
Despite the gravity of the claim, and the enormity of the bribe, one would have expected Hadi Awang to challenge the veracity of Clare Rewcastle-Brown all the way. But it seems truth is not important to Hadi Awang - a habit he has adopted from UMNO and former Prime Minister Najib Razak and his ilk.
Now, if sheer surrender is not an admission of guilt, the article remains in Sarawak Post for all to read. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Malaysians, and academicians who follow Malaysian politics, will take the above as a credible news.
Second, precisely due to the allegations of RM 90 million bribe, PAS has no loin cloth, let alone a fig leaf, to cover its most exposed area. When pressed to the corner, what does it do ? If holds hands with UMNO to cover each other's most private and sordid shame.
Semenyih's by-election is where the Game of Shame begins. Instead of owning up to their flaws, UMNO and PAS will solidify their electoral pact to challenge almost everyone else linked to Pakatan Harapan.
The only way to succeed, in defeating Pakatan Harapan, is slick and oily spin, the likes of which that cannot stay on one's skin. Thus who ever represent UMNO and PAS, with be the candidate not unlike the Orang Minyak depicted in the movie by the same name by the late Tan Sri P Ramlee too.
Third, PAS knows the trial of Najib would begin in earnest in the following weeks to come. More news and sordid stories of complex financial transfers will weigh UMNO and PAS down like a ton of brick. When deprived of any options, what does UMNO and PAS do ? They will deny, deny and deny, that they had anything to do with the financial heist of Malaysia, either through 1MDB or SRC, invariably, through Goldman Sachs too.
Having said all of the above, Pakatan Harapan is not without its shortcomings too. Within the ranks of Pakatan Harapan, some allegedly have had fake degrees camouflaged as real ones. But, at the very least, there are elements like Deputy Trade Minister Ong Kian Ming who called the bluff, as did this author.
Come what may, Semenyih is not a big election to be trifled with. If Pakatan Harapan wants to be the mainstay of Malaysian government, it has to take any by-elections seriously, especially if the said areas have a high concentration of Malay voters.
At 68 per cent, the number of Malay voters are not going to be anymore higher in an urban areas. But it is high. Thus, with or without a strong electoral turn out on March 2nd, analysts and pundits alike would look at Semenyih as the barometer of the performance of Pakatan Harapan. As they are watching, they will also be amazed by how so UMNO and PAS have schemed, and planned, to plant their Orang Minyak in the midst of an area that is not too far away from Putrajaya. Beware of the men and women who sell snake oil, as the warning goes. But be doubly cautious of the Orang Minyak from UMNO and PAS. And, if there is a need for any fresh reminder of the odious character, it does not hurt to watch the cinematic production of the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee again.
* Datuk Dr Rais Hussin is the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chief strategist.
** The views expressed here are strictly of the author's and do not necessarily reflect Astro AWANI's.