Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How To, And Who Can, Save UMNO?

By: Kassim Ahmad
17 September, 2008

Let it be said, without apologies, that UMNO, in spite of its English name, is a great patriotic political party. It united the Malays across class lines and, with the cooperation of the Chinese, the Indians and the other communities, defeated the British project of outright colonization of Malaya after the Second World War and obtained our national independence. Then its leaders, first in the UNMNO-MCA-MIC Alliance, and then in the larger National Front, developed the country and gave the Malays their lost self-esteem and national honour, and the other communities a place of honour under the Malaysian sun. British colonialism keeps Brunei, and ethnic conflict keeps Singapore, out of Malaysia that was formed on 16 September, 1963.

Then came political earthquake of the 12th General Elections! Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the fifth UMNO President and also the fifth Prime Minister, six months after the event, proved incompetent to solve the problem of UMNO and revive its fortunes. He seems to think that UMNO belongs to him and his family, and not directly to its 3.2 million members, and indirectly to the Malays and other Malaysians.The shameful affair of UMNO’s Bukit Bendera Divisional Head Ahmad Ismail looks like becoming a symbol of UMNO’s political death!

What is the matter with UMNO? Can it be saved?

Let is be said that the current problems faced by UMNO is not of Abdullah’s sole doing. They have been building to reach this point for more than two decades. The great second UMNO President and Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak, died prematurely, and did not complete his work of party-and-nation-building. He collected around himself some patriotic progressive intellectuals and with their help, he crafted many policies, such as non-alignment in our foreign policy, affirmative economic policy to help backward Malays, a national education policy, and a rudimentary political philosophy for the nation, not forgetting his far-sighted agricultural policy of the Green Book. He was considering a progressive political philosophy for UMNO, as the leading party in the National Front, when he prematurely died on 14th January, 1976 of leukemia at the young age of 53.

UMNO’s deterioration came with what was euphemistically called “money politics”, i.e. vote-buying in UMNO. The practice of democracy went by the board. An elitist leadership, alienated from the ordinary Malays, arose to control the party. Corruption, wasteful expenditure, a wasteful, oversized, top-heavy civil service, and all manner of deviations crept into the party and into the fabric of the nation. This was the beginning of the decay. This brought UMNO’s near doom on March 8 12th General Elections.

Any responsible UMNO President would have immediately called for an Extraordinary UMNO General Assembly to consider the matter. Fear for his own position, he dally-dallied and settled on a transfer of power to his deputy Dato’ Seri Najib Abdul Razak in June 2010, giving reasons that he needed the two years to finish his job. In the meanwhile, some measures were taken to assuage the people of Sabah and Sarawak as well as Malaysians in general to cushion the increasing and unbearable cost of living. The problems of the regaining support UMNO and Barisan Nasional were left unattended to, giving rise to uneasiness in the divisions and branches.

The affair of Ahmad Ismail and others led to the ridiculous misuse of the Internal Security Act on three people. De facto law Minister Dato’ Zaid Ibrahim, who criticized this, resigned. UMNO Vice Presdient Muhyiddin Yassin asked for a speedier power transfer. Veteran politician Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah announced his challenge to Abdullah.

In the meanwhile, Opposition Leader and PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, stated that he already has the required number of Barisan Members of Parliament to form the Federal Government. He has asked for a meeting with Abdullah. Abdullah, however, refused this meeting, and ridiculed Anwar’s claims, as do all UMNO leaders.

UMNO needs a major operation. The sooner done, the better. It has to go back to its original struggles and outline a clear political philosophy for the party and for the nation. On the basis of this philosophy, it must train its members and leaders, so that UMNO members are politically literate. Only in this way, can members guard the party against deviations by their leaders. The party must truly fight for the people, Malays as well as non-Malays, and guarantee their continued welfare. Corruption, wasteful expenditure and all manner of deviations must be rooted out. Poverty and unemployment must be quickly eliminated. Other policy matters must be looked into to make them conform to the Malaysian nationalist and humanist political philosophy.

That is what UMNO must do to recover its lost support. An Extraordinary General Assembly must be summoned to adopt this solution and implement it.



Kassim Ahmad is a Malaysian writer. He can be contacted at kassim03@streamyx.com His website is http://www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com/

6 comments:

moloyue said...

Hmmm... bagaimana dan siapa boleh selamatkan UMNO? Siapa tu susah sedikit sebab penyakitnya kompleks. Tiada seorang sendiri boleh menyelamatkan parti ini.

Tetapi, bagaimana? lebih mudah sedikit kalau kita lihat apa sebenarnya penyakitnya.

Penyakitnya bermula apabila UMNO dipimpin oleh diktator Mahathir Mohamad. Tetapi kita tidak boleh salahkan hanya seorang individu. Samalah dengan Hitler yang telah menyebabkan berjuta-juta orang terkorban dalam Perang Dunia Kedua.

Semua ahli UMNO, parti komponen BN, pegawai-pegawai Kerajaan, orang ramai dan pengundi adalah bertanggunjawab membiarkan seorang diktator memerintah selama 22 tahun merosakkan sistem pentadbiran negara dan UMNO sendiri.

Akibatnya negara telah menjadi kucar kacir dan akhir sekali UMNO sendiri menerima padahnya.

Rakyat/pengundi beransur-ansur sedar (terima kasih kpd Anwar Ibrahim yg bertindak sebagai penggerak) akan bencana yg dibawa oleh UMNO dan dalam pilihanraya yg lepas telah cuba membawa perubahan.

UMNO sendiri tidak mampu membuat pembaharuan. Pemimpin-pemimpinnya terlalu mementingkan diri sendiri (lihat sahaja betapa setiap pemimpin disemua peringkat kaya raya).

Secara ringkas jika parti ini ingin terus relevan dalam politik negara ia harus menginstitusikan semula demokrasi dlm parti dan menghapuskan sepenuhnya rasuah politik dlm parti.

Ini hampir-hampir mustahil kerana kebanyakan pemimpin atasan UMNO adalah TIDAK BERSIH!!!

LazerJuan said...

"Since when did this infidel called Kassim Ahmad has the right and audacity to tell us what to do"....would be a natural respond.

Sayang Pak Kassim,.. the paragraph about Tun Razak and his basic yet brilliant policies, really touched me.

Kassim Ahmad said...

Dear Friends,

1. Nothing is impossible if you put your heart and mind to it. UMNO can be saved, given a far-sighted and brave leader to do it.
2. Being a Malay, as well as a Malaysian, I have every right, in fact a duty, to write that article. One of the things Pak Lah should have done was to call patriotic members of the Malay intelligentsia for discussion.
Regards.

tualang3 said...

Pak Kassim,

Saya tak fikir UMNO boleh diselamatkan lagi. Penyakitnya amat kronik. Tiada siapa dapat bertahan dengan bahang dalam UMNO. What we need is a brave leader. That is what you said. Sayang sekali UMNO tidak mengajar ahli-ahlinya berbuat demikian. Ramai ahli ahli UMNO telah dilalaikan dengan pemerintahan Dr Mahathir selama 22 tahun. Sepatutnya pesoalan kaum dan bangsa tidak berbangkit lagi. Tetapi apa yang terjadi sangat menyedihkan. Kita seolah-olah terhenti tidak tahu arah hendak dituju..

Wassalam.

Kassim Ahmad said...

Sdr para pengulas yang budiman,

1. Kata pepatah, tidak ada penyakit yang tidak ada obat. Kata pepatah lagi, hendak seribu daya; tak hendak seribu dalih.
2. Adakah pemimpin-pemimpin UMNO mahu dengar semua pendapat dan ikut yang paling baik? Inilah yang patut mereka lakukan.
3. Pertama sekali 3.2 juta ahli UMNO itu MESTI DIBERI KURSUS TENTANG FALSAFAH PERJUANGAN BANGSA. Apabila mereka faham falsafah perjuangan ini, mereka boleh jaga UMNO supaya pemimpin-pemimpin yang oporcunis tidak boleh menjadi pemimpin.
4. Mereka kena jadikan UMNO sebagai kepala keretapi bagi keretapi perjuangan bangsa Melayu dan bangsa Malaysia. Contohnya, di tiap-tiap kampung, pekan kecil, dan bandar ada cawangan UMNO. Cawangan ini MESTILAH MENJALANKAN TUGASNYA SEBAGAI PEMIMPIN di situ dari semua segi.
5. Apa jadi kepada kelas dewasa? Mengapa tidak dihidupkan balik dan jadikan dia sebagai satu kaedah/alat untuk mendidik rakyat dari semua segi?
6. Banyak lagi perkara yang boleh dibuat bagi memajukan bangsa kita. Tetapi PERKARA POKOK IALAH PERJUANGAN BANGSA DIPEGANG DENGAN TEGUH. Apabila perjuangan ini tidak ada, yang tinggal ialah penipuan dan kejahatan. INILAH YANG TELAH BERLAKU.
Wassalam.

Anonymous said...

Saya rasa cara nak selamatkan UMNO ialah dengan membeli 2 batu nesan , kemudian talkinkan>>>Insa'allah hilanglah segala penyakit yang ditanggung olih UMNO...