THE finger pointing has already started within the BN. Less than 24 hours after getting kicked out of Penang, Kedah, Perak and Selangor and having failed to reclaim Kelantan, the blame game has started.
Even before the election, there were voices saying that the ruling coalition was about to get some surprises. When it happened, the party leaders stood stunned and speechless. Pak Lah's Press Conference lasted not more than five minutes, and he fielded a few questions from the many newsmen.
This was in contrast to the 2004 victory Press Conference when Pak Lah were surrounded by a big crowd of newsmen wanting to ask him questions. The PM smiled, and answered all questions. There was also a big celebration of cake cutting and songs and flag waving in the Dewan Tun Hussein Onn at party headquarters to mark the unprecedented win.
But this time around, the Press Conference was short. Even the audio wasn't clear and there weren't many victorious faces in the background when Pak Lah claimed victory of the country's 12th general election.
In only four years, the euphoria brought about by a historic win at the polls had burst and turned to agony. A win is a win, of course. But the taste of victory is bitter, almost hollow. This was one victory accompanied by a lot of pain and disappointment.
The finger-pointing actually started on the night the results were announced. The Perlis Menteri Besar, Shahidan Kassim, took a swipe at his party colleagues, though no names were mentioned. Shahidan, who retained his seat and state, said BN Perlis and especially UMNO Perlis had to endure internal stabbing while fending off opposition party onslaught.
Shahidan was apparently referring to UMNO and BN Secretary General Radzi Sheikh Ahmad who, during the election run-up, had declared that the best person to be Perlis MB was Azmi Khalid.
Radzi's reasons were simple - Azmi is his friend and that he has a young and beautiful wife. (The wife was a newscaster with private TV station, TV3.)
While Shahidan's outburst was shown on TV (which has not been repeated for obvious reasons), I believe other expressions of anger, disappointment and frustration were made in private and shared only with close family members and close confidants.
In the country's history, the ruling coalition has not seen a more humiliating rejection.On top of losing four states to the Opposition and unable to win back one (Kelantan), the Barisan also lost its two-third majority for the first time.
BN components Gerakan, MCA and the MIC suffered a defeat that could very well compell their members to decide whether or not to continue their struggle under the same name. The parties only managed a token representation in the new government.
The blame game is going to be more intensed in the coming weeks. No one within the BN hierarchy will be spared. There'll be calls for resignations, that's for sure. I expect this call to be louder and widespread.