The Jekyll and Hyde aspects of Umno


Malaysians will recognise the split personality of good and bad in the country’s dominant party

Koon Yew Yin, Free Malaysia Today

Malaysian readers of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous book, which has been made into several films, will recognise the split personality of good and bad, if not evil, that has characterised Umno since its early days but has emerged especially strongly since 1969, when Tunku Abdul Rahman was stabbed in the back and taken down in what amounted to a coup d’etat by his party colleagues, led by Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, the father of the current Prime Minister.

Since then, although the party has had its share of good leaders such as Tun Hussein Onn and has played a positive role in some areas of nation building, it has been the major obstacle to building a robust and resilient nation based on the rule of law and the guarantee of equal rights, justice and freedom to all citizens. This is because it has made Malay dominance or “ketuanan Melayu” its main party platform and ideology, while giving lip service to the constitutional provisions for racial, religious and cultural equality.

If you ask Malaysians who typifies the best example of the Jekyll and Hyde side of Umno during the past three decades, the name of Tun Mahathir Mohamad will appear in the minds of many, if not most. Today we have, in Dato Seri Najib Razak, a new name that is not only challenging Dr Mahathir for this dubious honour but also seems to be pushing Umno in a direction which can only bring dishonour, disrepute and disaster to the party and its Barisan Nasional partners.

Everyone is aware that the Red Shirts rally was simply an exercise aimed at saving Najib’s positions as Prime Minister and Umno President. With the net closing in (or is it the noose tightening?) as a result of the 1MDB financial scandal and the unexplained RM2.6 billion deposited into his personal bank accounts, it is clear that the party and its president need a major distraction. Using the Bersih rally as an excuse, Najib has encouraged Umno’s proxies and Umno leaders to play the key role in organising the “counter demonstration” to allegedly defend Malay honour and dignity.

It is no surprise then that this rally brought out such a disgusting display of racial demonising and political hooliganism. This was truly the Hyde part of Umno.

Looking at the slogans in the banners, watching the crowd’s behaviour, listening to the speeches made in Padang Merbok, many Malaysians will not disagree that this description is especially applicable to Umno today.

Mr Hyde is effectively a sociopath – evil, self-indulgent, and utterly uncaring to anyone but himself.