The Origins of UMNO

Raja Sara Petra

Umno started life in 1946 as a gabungan of many Malay-based pergerakan and persatuan from all over Malaysia representing penulis, wartawan, guru, orang berniaga, orang ugama, penarik beca, pemandu teksi, petani, nelayan, dan banyak lagi. It was the first real gabungan rakyat dari semua lapisan masyarakat, dari anak raja dan golongan bangsawan down to the simple man and woman in the kampung.

At first, Umno was never meant to be a political party but a show of unity amongst the Malays in opposition to the British plan to wipe out the powers of the Sultan and turn Malaysia into what India had become, a republic where the powers of the Istana was almost zero. If the British were allowed to proceed with their plan, today there would no longer be any Raja-Raja Melayu in Malaysia.

After two years, because of UMNO, the British abandoned the plan for the Malayan Union and instead created the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. Umno basically saved the institusi Raja-Raja Melayu, which set the foundation for the struggle for Merdeka, and which was achieved nine years later. It was a long 11-year struggle but finally, after more than 500 years of penjajahan, Malaysia became a nation-state and a master of its own destiny.

Malaysia was founded upon the struggles of the early perwira Melayu, many who fought the British and were arrested, and sometimes simply disappeared or were executed. For generations names such as Dato Maharaja Lela, Mat Kilau, Dato Bahaman, Tok Janggut, and many more, were as famous amongst the Malays as Robin Hood is to the English. But it was not until Umno was founded in May 1946 did the Malay struggle begin to see progress and Malaysia saw Merdeka.

Selamat Ulangtahun yang ke-74 UMNO.