Same old UMNO will never take us far

Whilst many observers a.k.a non-UMNO members are being pessimistic with the promises of Najib, the new party president and future Prime Minister has urged the public to 'judge him by his actions' [source]. One might already attribute the recent Perak constitutional saga as the basis for such judgement but the biggest concern for the future of Malaysia, I believe, lies not only on one man but the whole lot he would be leading into the future.

The UMNO General Assembly concluded on March 28 with much buzz as Datuk Seri Najib Razak officially takes over as party president from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The former promised reforms within UMNO and also the country to undo the much damage being done as racial tensions in Malaysia is currently being pulled to a thread.

Double Standards

Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam was barred from contesting in the party polls when three of his "agents" were found guilty of being involved in vote-buying. Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin was handed a 'warning letter' by the party disciplinary board for money politics. If vote-buying is a form of corruption and thus a crime, the question mark hangs over the MACC's indecisiveness in taking the appropriate action against the two. [source]

The double standards were obvious. Ali Rustam was not allowed to contest for the vice-presidency but is allowed to retain his position as Chief Minister. And Khairy who eventually won the seat of Youth Chief was only 'cautioned' despite being found guilty of money politics. Corruption is corruption. There is no such thing as 'a little bit of corruption'.

Left: Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam.
Right: Khairy Jamaluddin

Same old racial rhetorics

Fear-mongering was once again the common theme. During the debate of the UMNO Youth assembly, some pointed out that the rights of the Malays, the position of Islam and the Malay culture, enshrined in the Constitution, had been questioned by certain parties [source].

The fear is unfounded as the only the thing that these 'certain parties' are disputing is the racial supremacy philosophy enshrined in the UMNO psyche and not the position of the Malays guaranteed in the Constitution, the position of Islam and the Malay culture. The problem balloons when some fail to distinguish the disparity in meanings.

Many also called for the party supreme council to restore the membership of Bukit Bendera UMNO chief Ahmad Ismail who was suspended for a racial slur in a by-election campaign speech. Perlis delegate Jafri Othman suggested that Ahmad Ismail did no wrong in defending the Malay rights and should not be punished so severely. He went on to say UMNO members must not stay quiet while watching the Malay rights being questioned.

Is undermining Malaysians of a different ethnic group part and parcel of the Malay rights? My understanding of the Federal Constitution says not.

"When we Malays speak about other races, we get suspended. But when others question our rights and hurt our feelings, they get away with it," Penang delegate Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said who said Malay supremacy should be safeguarded at any cost. [The NST Online, 26/3/09]

Mohd Zaidi believes both Penang deputy chief minister Mohamad Fairus Khairuddin and former Perak Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin was being used by DAP for its own political agenda.

Hypocritical loyalty

UMNO Youth delegate from Kelantan Mohd Affendi Yusof took the opportunity to criticise ousted Perak Chief Minister Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin during a debate session for his famous quote: "Mohon maaf tuanku, patik mohon derhaka.” (Your highness, forgive me for I plead to commit treason.). [source]

He also said UMNO has been very lenient and patient towards Pakatan’s antics (in relation to the Perak constitutional crisis).

In English, that phrase would probably mean Nizar is defying the monarchy i.e treason. But an UMNO member like Mohd Affendi fails to understand that in his native language (which happens to be the national language) and Malay culture, "Mohon maaf tuanku, patik mohon derhaka" is a royal language or bahasa istana which a commoner like Nizar is compelled to use when speaking to a monarch. The former Perak Chief Minister was begging to differ with the Sultan of Perak's opinion. Does that amount to treason?

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