After UMNO was declared illegal by the High Court in 1988, Mahathir Mohamadwent on to register UMNO Baru ( which is the present UMNO, less the Baru which has been conveniently dropped ) whilst Kuli went on to register Semangat 46.
Before the 1990 general elections, Semangat 46 forged a pact with DAP, called Gagasan Rakyat. With PAS, Semangat went into another electoral pact, Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah.
It was then also rumoured that Gagasan was in talks with Joseph Pairin Kitingan’s PBS and that an agreement had reached that PBS would withdraw from BN at the eleventh hour.
A few days before polling day, Mahathir struck.
To spook the Malays into voting UMNO / BN again, the rumour that Kuli would ‘sell the nation to the Christians’ was spread.
Photos of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah wearing the Kadazan headgear with what appeared to be a cross was widely distributed at mosques at Friday prayers two days before polling day.
TV and radio stations and the mainstream media played this issue day and night right up until polling day.
Sadly, it worked.
Mahathir and UMNO are, again, employing the same strategy in the run-up to the 13th GE.
The TV and radio stations have given optimum airtime to the sermon delivered at mosques last Friday.