Umno must get back on its feet


In less than a week we will know who runs Umno; the previous leadership hand-down (Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi), the man who could have been president 31 years ago (Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah), or will it be a takeover by Khairy Jamaluddin?

By most reckonings, all three are serious contenders.

I have not come across any downright silly statements by the Umno leadership on the GE14 loss thus far. That’s a very positive sign, never mind the rubbish utterances of some little people.

There were murmurs from a top Perak leader about infighting which caused several seats to fall. I think that happens in every election so it shouldn’t figure in any top level discussion for now.

Some 12 years ago I shared how a 64-year-old retired salon owner from Klang, out of frustration, remarked – before 1957 we had the British government, after Merdeka it was the Malayan government, then Malaysian government and now we have a Malay government.

This is from a lady who had been through an Umno-led Alliance coalition and an Umno-led BN for some 50 years altogether (1957 to 2006) and did she just suddenly realise Umno had been Malay-led?

If I were part of the Umno leadership, I would dissect her statement clinically and then question ourselves and reflect most earnestly.

I would also ask how Umno had failed, yes failed her principal allies MCA, MIC and Gerakan, after the tsunami in GE 2008. After all, these partners are known for having excellent service centres, so it must have had to do with government policies and their implementation, of which Umno had been in the driving seat continuosly since 1957. It doesn’t matter that the coalition partners hadn’t been forthright enough. It is incumbent upon the dominant partner to find out.

Someone wrote that it can’t be Malaysia Baru yet as the opposition is still almost excusively Malay i.e. 53 Umno and 18 PAS, with only three in MCA and MIC. We are already there. Watch how the cabinet has been working. Read the dailies and electronic media. Speak to the man on the street. So Umno and partners, and PAS had better re-align or their numbers will just get smaller.

Malaysia will always be Malay Malaysian-led and it follows that it will also be an Islam-infused values leadership. Maybe in 50 years it could alternate.

Back to the party elections, 14 Malay friends I asked preferred either Razaleigh, for wisdom or KJ, for youth. All cited “baggage” in not preferring Zahid.

We need Umno to be back on its feet pretty soon so that she can organise an opposition pact leading towards a two-party system.

Umno was primed to lead the nation from the very beginning, and did, but over time the leadership decided to only lead Malays … and Muslims.

What a regressive leadership!

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