‘Malay-ism’ will stay even if Umno dies

By Mohd Ariff Sabri Abd Aziz, Free Malaysia Today

I think many Umno people miss an important point. Just as we (Umno) say that Islam is not the exclusive province of PAS or any other party posturing on its religion, image and perception, people can also say that Malay-ism is not the exclusive property of Umno. Just because Umno has fought on the basis of Malay nationalism and interests for so long, it is by no means its exclusive domain.

It does not own the fight. Malay interests and Malay causes will not evaporate if today, Umno disappears.

This is Umno’s biggest problem: It thinks Malay causes and fight are theirs by divine right.

This kind of thinking breeds self-conceit and arrogance which probably translate into the everyday behaviour of its members.

For example, look at the smugness that comes along with labelling Malays as liberal Malays, just because we disagree with your methods.

Hello kawan, lu ingat lu seorang sahaja Melayu ke? You ingat, your methods sahaja yang betul ke? If others are liberal Malays, what are you — Malay’s Malay? The purest of the pure?

Some of those championing this purest of the pure nationalism are not even Umno members.

What is more damaging is that this kind of thinking destroys the awareness that the allegiance to its (Umno) causes must be earned and worked at.

It’s the height of haughtiness and arrogance to have this idea that if Umno dies, then the Malay is finished. We’d better get this into our heads quickly.

Similarly, isn’t it also arrogance of the first degree to say that Islam is finished if PAS goes under?

Both Islam and Malay are bigger than the political vehicles that carry them. Once we become aware of this point, we commit ourselves to the reality that allegiance to our cause must be earned over and over again.

We should now realise that the original bright red fire that propelled us initially are turning into amber flashes. We are running on reserves.

The permanency of this political reality in Malaysian politics will always have to come to terms with the Malay question. It removes at once any conceited idea by anyone, including Umno, that it can forego having to accommodate Malay politics.

Taken for granted

In the case of Umno, it has been taken for granted. No one comes into power without embracing this reality — not Umno, not PAS, and not any other non-Malay political parties.

I am an Umno man. If possible I want all Malays to support Umno.

Malay support for Umno has always been a qualified support. I know it has to be earned, not expected to be had as of right.

It was, is and will never be unquestioning support and a “as-of-right property”.

In the past, from 1946 to the time of Tun (Abdul) Razak, Malay support for Umno was founded and grounded on a general and deserved belief that Umno was the best political vehicle to secure the community’s objectives.

But I say it’s delusional to state that it’s only Umno which fights for Malay interests.

It still does, but there appears to be something fundamentally wrong with the methods it uses for securing the community’s loyalty to its causes.