The Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde of Umno

— Koon Yew Yin
Malay Mail Online
September 23, 2015

SEPTEMBER 23 — Malaysian readers of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous book which has been made into film on several occasions will recognise the split personality of good and bad, if not evil, in the country’s dominant party Umno since its early days.

This split personality has emerged more strongly especially since the Tunku was stabbed in the back and taken down in what amounted to a coup d’etat in 1969 by his own party colleagues led by Tun Razak, 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 ensuring 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 providing for racial, religious and cultural equality.

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

Everyone is aware that the Red Shirts rally was simply an exercise aimed at saving Najib’s position as prime minister and Umno party president. With the net closing in — or is it noose tightening around his neck — as a result of the 1MDB financial scandal and the unexplained RM2.6 billion deposited into his personal bank account, it is clear that the party and its president needed 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 defend so-called 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 behaviour, listening to the speeches made at the rally in Padang Merbok, many Malaysians will not disagree that this description is especially applicable Umno today.

But Dr Jekyll’s transformed personality Mr Hyde was effectively a sociopath — evil, self-indulgent, and utterly uncaring to anyone but himself.

Wake up Umno’s Dr Jekyll

There is one consolation. The Dr Jekyll part of Umno can be awakened as seen by these snippets of comments from some Umno leaders in response to the Red Shirts rally.

It is still a tiny minority opinion but hopefully these voices of sanity are reflective of the views of the Malay majority. We badly need to hear them and have them overcome the hateful and opportunistic forces that are allowing the Hyde part of the party to run amok.

Rafidah Aziz (former Umno Wanita chief and Minister of International Trade and Industry) in her Facebook Posting:

“I felt sad for my many non-Malay, especially Chinese friends, many from my primary school days, when I saw videos and photos berating the Chinese community.

“We all have friends of ALL races and creed. We feel for them, especially when, just like us, they are trying to make a life for themselves and their families in THEIR COUNTRY… MALAYSIA,”

Rafidah wrote in her Facebook posting today:

“I am personally, a fourth generation Malaysian. My great-grandfather came from Sumatra… and that is how I became a Malaysian.. Its the same story like many of the Malaysians of Chinese, Indian, and other descent, for whom Malaysia is THEIR COUNTRY OF BIRTH…

“So many of us Malaysians, can trace our origins to other countries and places… China, Sumatra, Java, India, Middle East, Europe, Australia, New Zealand… the list goes on…

“As a fourth generation Malaysian, I find it untenable and insulting to be told by anyone, to ‘balik ke negara awak’. MY NEGARA IS MALAYSIA!”

Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, International Trade and Industry Minister and UMNO Supreme Council Member speaking at the Malaysia Economic Update 2015 Dialogue:

“They think when you make such (racially charged) comments, you can be popular… We must go back to our humanity. As long as this is not resolved once and for all, it will be very worrying.

“In politics, there are those who believe that they can get votes by being extremists, and there are those who don’t.”

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, former Minister of Finance and presently Umno Member of Parliament) speaking to reporters on eve of Himpunan Rakyat, September 16, 2015:

“You have got the government that is headed by a Malay, state governments headed by Malays with the exception of one in Penang. The civil service is mostly made up of Malays.

“The army are mostly Malays and we also have Malay rulers. I don’t know where the threats are coming from. Let the gathering bring benefit to the masses and let it pass the message of unity which I think is much more important as we just celebrate 58 years of independence. That would be meaningful.”

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