The Malaysian Insider
September 20, 2013
My colleague, Dzulfitri Yusop, a fellow journalist, asked me yesterday if I could make one positive statement about Umno or name one positive member of Umno.
I laughed. Too many people like to assume that I am anti-establishment just for the sake of being anti-establishment all of the time without being rational.
So I thought really hard to come up with a positive statement to show that I was not one of those ABU (Asalkan Bukan Umno, or Anything But Umno) people. We have to always keep an open mind, right?
Quite some time passed by and I still could not think of anything positive to say about the party aside from it being formed in my home state of Johor.
All jokes aside, I do know that Umno was formed with the best intentions in mind to help the Malays have political and authoritative powers in Malaya (and later Malaysia).
It was a party that was meant to protect the rights of the Malays and be a voice for them so that they will not be oppressed. Quite noble, I agree.
But the very fact that it was to protect a particular race makes it, in my opinion, totally unsuitable to be a political party because no one country consists of only one race.
If that particular party were to win the right to govern the country, common sense would come to the conclusion that their priority when governing is to protect the interests of that one particular race.
That does no sound too appealing, does it? No wonder Dato’ Onn Jaafar, the founding father of Umno, decided to leave the party when his suggestion to make the party multi-racial was rejected.
Aside from Dato’ Onn, there were many other attempts by other rational and forward thinking Umno members who wanted to change the party for the better.
Tunku Abdul Rahman was one. But even he failed and ended up being ousted and deposed by his deputy, Tun Abdul Razak, following the May 13, 1969 incident.
And even today, it would not be fair to say that all Umno members are racists, backward thinking and archaic. Because that would be too generalising.
People like Datuk Saiffuddin Abdullah are very forward thinking and, in my opinion, non-racist. But even he fell short of calling for Umno to be multi-racial.
Instead, he only suggested that people of any race can apply to be direct members of Barisan Nasional instead of being forced to join the racial-based component parties.
But these people are few and far between. I can probably count their numbers with just one of my hands. In fact, I actually can.
And when it comes to Umno, the saying that a drop of blue can taint the whole pot of milk does not exactly apply since everyone has to toe the party line.
At best, a party like Umno, with such specific interests as their objective would only qualify to be a non-governmental organisation (NGO) or even a lobbying organisation.
Then at least our suffering would just be limited to listening to or reading their ridiculous and atrocious statements instead of actually seeing them passed and becoming policy. – September 20, 2013.