Muhyiddin’s ultimatum to Zaid – rise of exclusive, intolerant and petty-mindedness in Umno leadership

I am surprised by the outburst of the Umno vice president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in Kota Kinabalu yesterday, excoriating former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, for attending an opposition function, accusing Zaid of “disloyalty to Umno” and demanding an explanation from Zaid or to face disciplinary reprisals!

I am very disappointed because Muhyiddin is the Minister for International Trade and Industry as well as the favourite in the contest for Umno Deputy President and therefore Deputy Prime Minister-designate next March – and should be an example of inclusive thinking and greater openness and tolerance instead of being very exclusive, intolerant and petty-minded in a country we want to market to the world as Instant Asia!

It is a major setback for the Bangsa Malaysia concept as it illustrates the sad fact that exclusive, intolerant and petty-mindedness have displaced inclusive thinking and greater openness and tolerance in the mind-set of Umno leaders 51 years after Merdeka!

Is “loyalty to Umno” so brittle and fragile that it must be invoked against any Umno member for attending an opposition function?

I attended the official opening of the new Umno Building at Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur in the eighties. Was my “loyalty to DAP” ever in doubt for attending an Umno function?

Why so childish, petty and narrow-minded when Malaysian leaders should set an example to the people and the world of our open-mindedness and tolerance of diverse views coming from a nation where pluralism and diversity are our most outstanding characteristic and greatest national asset?

Fortunately, this question of “loyalty to Umno” was not raised when the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz accepted my invitation to a DAP seminar on “Agenda for First-World Parliament” just before the opening of the 11th Parliament in May 2004.

Why didn’t “loyalty to Umno” become an issue when Nazri attended the DAP function in 2004 but it has become a big issue four years later over Zaid’s attending an Opposition function?

Is this a reflection on Zaid, Muhyiddin or UMNO? Is this an indication that Umno has lost the confidence to rule as compared to four years ago and that a besieged mentality has taken possession of many Umno leaders?

If Muhyiddin is so swift in issuing an ultimatum to Zaid to question his “loyalty to Umno” for attending an opposition function, will he be equally swift in demanding action to be taken against Umno Seberang Jaya Assemblyman in Penang, Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, who was the Barisan Nasional standard-bearer in the Permatang Pauh by-eleciton, for his statement in the New Sunday Times yesterday that he was “now at a crossroads between staying in Umno or joining the Pakatan Rakyat state government” because of “blatant power abuses” by Umno Permatang Pauh division leadership?

I was struck by a statement by Umno Youth Leader and Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein when castigating MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek and MCA Wanita chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun for saying that the concept of “ketuanan Melayu” or Malay supremacy was no longer relevant. (New Sunday Times 30.11.08)

Apart from accusing Chua and Chew for trying to be “heroes” in “jostling to position themselves politically”, and saying that “the people are tired of the religious, racial and political issues” after going through “the toughest general election eight months ago”, Hishammuddin warned that leaders “still unaware of the changes they have to make and to look at things in a new context … will be left behind when BN transforms itself in March”!

What is this “BN transformation in March” that the new MCA top national leadership and the other BN component parties are completely ignorant about?

Is it going to be a “BN transformation in March” that is to be solely and exclusively orchestrated by Umno, with the leaders of the other BN component parties with the prerogative only to raise their hands to express compliance?

(Media Conference Statement 2 in Parliament)

  1. #1 by HJ Angus on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 12:25 pm

    UMNO has really been shaken up by the March elections and has lost its invincible shield.
    It is now looking at each small incident as it is not sure what will be the “tipping point” that will finish its hold on power.

  2. #2 by Yee Siew Wah on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 12:39 pm

    Suddenly this Umno VP has shown his true colors. Not only narrow minded and intolerant but downright stupid.
    Since Zaid is only a small fry, then why the big huha.
    If this kind of guy going to be the future DPM, then i lament for the future of Malaysia. This proved that the majority of the bums in the majority BN component party are either intolerant, arrogant, foolish and worst is that they never ever learn. They thought they are above all other races and know all.
    Hope the rakyat especially those East malaysians please wake up. Help PKR to whack some sense into these bums in the any future elections especially the next GE.

  3. #3 by Saint on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 1:07 pm

    These people have no brains.
    Zaid is a lawyer with a law firm. He meets many lawyers as his “opponent” in courts. The arguments inside the court and the handshakes outside the courts should be a norm for lawyers. UMNO’s are nothing but fools.

  4. #4 by roossellee on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 1:43 pm

    UMNO will never change. They use their brains located in ‘kepala lutut’.

  5. #5 by Godfather on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 1:56 pm

    The most used mottos for the den of thieves:

    1. All for One and One for All (but limited to 40 thieves only)

    2. If You Are not With Us, You Are Against Us (aimed at traitors like Zaid)

    3. People Who Live in Glass Houses should not throw Stones (Hishamuddin to Chua Soi Lek).

    4. The Journey to Wealth begins with A Small Dip in the Bank.

    5. We can’t fool all the People all the time, but We Can Try.

  6. #6 by simon041155 on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 2:23 pm

    Loyalty to UMNO? The name “Muhyiddin Yassin” makes me shudder. I am from Johor and he is our Menteri Besar before. Need I say more about that white-nose magistrate in Chinese opera?

  7. #7 by frankyapp on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 2:24 pm

    Why UMNO VP questioned Zaid’s loyalty ? Isn’t UMNO claimed to have million of members ?.One Zaid Ibrahim just attended an opposition function and the UMNO VP was shakened.Is it because UNMO is craking and doesn’t want to admit it.Why the fuss over it’s members attending opposition function ? In a democrative country,people move around freely including members of all political party be it officially or personally. Isn’t UMNO a democratic party ?.If UMNO top leaders including VP Muhyiddin continue to behave in such a way and do not trust it’s members,how could it’s ordinary members and other citizens of the country in return would trust them (UMNO top leaders).

  8. #8 by draken001 on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 2:24 pm

    “Ketuanan Melayu” is definitely irrelevant today because of its racial connotation. It reminds us of the American Civil War to end slavery, the war in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, the troubles in Kosovo, apartheid in South Africa (thankfully, it’s history now). And not to forget Nazi Germany under Hitler who propagate the superiority of the Ayran race.

    The younger generation of Malaysians should be made more aware of these past events in history so that they know how much sufferings can be propagated by Man who practise bigotry and hatred under the guise of nationalism and all that nonsense.

    The term “K M” is as obnoxious as the “Ku Klux Klan”. For those living in the modern civilized world, the superiority of one race over another should never be condoned and be abolished. The suggestion that the term “Special Position” be used is more appropriate.

    Hats off to Dr Choi for speaking up. Hats off to Zaid Ibrahim for being open-minded and a true gentleman. And thumbs down to all those who still think that eveyone owes them a living.

    Hishamuddin’s utterance of a “BN transformation in March” sounds more like a veiled threat to Umno’s coalition partners who don’t toe the line. Would Umno decide to arbitrarily run the show in BN without much regard for the other parties? Would Umno tell them to bow down and renew allegiance?

    Where Umno is concerned, a “neo-fascist” kind of attitude is showing among certain party members. In a sense, they are just bankrupt of descent men who have the attribute of good leaders.

    Let all good men decide the right path to follow to make Malaysia a better nation for all true Malaysians.

  9. #9 by riversandlakes on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 3:24 pm

    That Muhyiddin fellow is jostling for the limelight with dirt cheap publicity shots. Ignore him.

  10. #10 by PureMalaysian on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 3:26 pm

    Even if UMNO is shaken up after the political tsunami in March 08, they not only have no insight and remorse about what’s happened; in fact, there are more and more fanatic and narrow minded Ketuanan Melayu group emerging – and more and more unbecoming and daring – if you don’t believe, just read here:

    You cannot trust them to lead the country anymore!

    Choose wisely.

  11. #11 by PureMalaysian on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 3:31 pm

    Speaking of cyberspace ethics and blog regulations to adhere to, I wonder if the govt “dares” to take action on those graduan melayu muda’s blog – calling Indians “keling makan biawak”, and the Chinese “cina makan babi”.

  12. #12 by Johorean on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 3:34 pm

    Just imagine the country being run by these short sighted, brainless, greedy people. I am really losing confidence in Malaysia’s future if we continue to allow them to plunder this country.

  13. #13 by jus legitimum on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 3:40 pm

    We makan babi,orang putih makan babi and black people also makan babi why u idiots tak makan babi.

  14. #14 by monsterball on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 3:41 pm

    Yes….Muhyiddin talk like he is the future PM…..not Najib.
    Anyway..who cares…UMNO days are numbered.
    In house fighting many times….dare anyone sack anyone??

  15. #15 by waterfrontcoolie on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 3:56 pm

    Can you imagine that the potential DP of UMNO trying to tell Zaid that he[Zaid] needs nurturing by the self-appointed learned thinkers!!
    By any measure, the quality of thinking is so different that just wanting to compare them is frivolous!
    Hence,YB of MITI, please don’t make educated Malaysians start to put both of you side by side and tick off your negative traits against his. Being a man of principle, he stands too tall for all current leaders in UMNO to even to whisper to him. So don’t ‘lecture’ him on what he can do and what he can’t do.
    Don’t think when you stoop to conquer, others will do likewise. this is really foolish to think that others would sell their principles just like you!! To some, not everything has a price tack!

  16. #16 by madmix on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 4:03 pm

    Hitler’s Aryan Master race: Ketuanan Bangsa Aryan (dirty words)
    White supremacy (US and South Africa): Ketuanan Orang Putih (politically shameful words)
    UMNO’s Malay Supremacy and Master Race: Ketuanan Melayu still very much alive and kicking and official policy and nobody can question it.

  17. #17 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 4:11 pm


    RESIGN! Karpal tells Bar Council
    Dec 1, 08 2:32pm
    DAP stalwart Karpal Singh today called on leaders of the Bar Council to resign for allegedly bringing the entire legal profession into disrepute.

    There are lawyers and there are lawyers…and there is this Bar Council. WYSIWYG.

  18. #18 by undergrad2 on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 5:53 pm

    Aren’t they all from the same house i.e. house of ill-repute?? By resigning they are no less honorable!

  19. #19 by shortie kiasu on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 6:17 pm

    This guy, Muhyiddin Yassin, does possess a bit of stature in his personality as a potential PM of a country. Now the way he conducts himself and the things he uttered further reinforce that impression.

    May be only in UMNO that this is possible.

  20. #20 by dawsheng on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 7:17 pm

    “What is this “BN transformation in March” that the new MCA top national leadership and the other BN component parties are completely ignorant about?”

    I don’t know, MCA also don’t know, in fact, nobody know. Malaysia never had a murder suspect as PM.

  21. #21 by luking on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 7:34 pm

    Probably we r going to have a DPM who is learned but …..can’t think of a word to describe him,wasting time lah

  22. #22 by no on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 7:40 pm

    Our Independent Father Tunku Abdul Rahman love peace and look forward a day equal rights will come above all Malaysian to share after independent in not long distance.

    Do you agreed Datuk Zaid Ibrahim wish Malaysian Malaysia for all Malaysian is loyalty to Our Independent Father Tunku Abdul Rahman?

    Does anyone disagreed those UMNO members who love racist Malay Supremacy is disloyalty to Our Independent Father Tunku Abdul Rahman?

    Who is more important to loyalty Our Independent Father Tunku Abdul Rahman wish/dream Malaysian Malaysia for all or UMNO members racist Malay Supremacy for Malay only?

    Whos should we classified as the traitor of our nation Malaysia?

  23. #23 by undergrad2 on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 8:04 pm

    Could he just declare himself an Independent? Is he required to vacate his seat? Or did he come in by the back door – and has no seat in the lower House to vacate?

  24. #24 by chengho on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 8:11 pm

    Dap should invite Zahid to become Dap general secretary . Dap must rise above the race base party. This is the time Dap have to show meritocracy at it best .

  25. #25 by c730427 on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 8:16 pm

    As non malay, we must understand why malays are so protective about their rights in the name of supremacy. if they are truly superior, then they wont be so narrow minded. it is their weak faith and knowledge towards the concept of unity and wealth creation that caused such handicap.

    We all know that most of them are very sensitive and emotional, therefore, we should help them.

    1. How to encourage them to open up? we should have more dialogue between party leaders, one good example is PKR. We should also invite more muslims from other nations for open dialogues to help all to speak up and understand each other.

    2. instead of NEP which is not transparent, we should introduce a solidarity tax for them. When they grow up, they will appreciate the fact that there are many non malays helping them.

    3. stop calling them useless, they truly need help badly.

    4. we must love them, not hate them. so that they love us too. we can harmonize together.

  26. #26 by lee wee tak_ on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 9:17 pm

    what do you expect from a feudal mindset? Despite being a minister with a portfolio of international outlook, one wonders how big is the coconut shell the other one lives under.

    when PR took over a few states, schools there were instructed not to accept visits or funding from PR state government. this shows the extend of tolerance and maturity of the UMNO federal power holders. not to mention a certain leisure related ministry as well. all at the expense of tax payers and voters

    when Obama wrapped up the fight with Hillary, they close rank and move on. when McCain lost to Obama, they close rank as American as well and move on.

    dear minister, please take note from them.

    did Lim Kit Siang and co not attended any puasa open house organised by UMNO? Do BN and PR MPs sit together and have tea breaks in Parliament? Why all this animated reaction when Zaid managed to find some chance to have a meal with his fellow Malaysians?

    Is UMNO happy to divide the nation according to racial and / or political party affiliation? Then all this talk about perpaduan is nonsense. Malaysians should be allowed to make friends with their fellow Malaysians. Are you going to ask Khalid Samad’s brother to severfamily ties with the PAS MP for Shah Alam?

  27. #27 by cintanegara on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 9:22 pm

    Birds of a feather flock together but I doubt LKS would allow Zaid to replace his beloved son. For many years he groomed his son to hold the highest position in DAP.

  28. #28 by Tonberry on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 9:50 pm

    cintanegara Says:
    but I doubt LKS would allow Zaid to replace his beloved son.

    running out of ideas to debate? And now started to do character assasination on LGE?

    chengho Says:
    Dap should invite Zahid to become Dap general secretary . Dap must rise above the race base party. This is the time Dap have to show meritocracy at it best .

    Dont be naive. You dont simply go around to invite some Umno member to join and hold such an important position in DAP. You think DAP is a hotel? If you want to talk about meritocacy, then a lot of senior DAP senior leaders are more qualified than Zaid, who had just declared he is loyal to Umno.

  29. #29 by shamshul anuar on Monday, 1 December 2008 - 11:06 pm

    Dear Tonberry,

    No DAP is not a hotel. It is a party replete with concept of Imperial China. The power will pass from father to son. Actually that had already happened.

    More senior partner were bypassed by the Crown Prince. Penang DAP Chaiman wad humiliated as he was bypassed on the choice of Ketua Meneri of Pulau Pinang. An imported politician happened to be son of the Emperor was chosen instead.

    As for Cintanegara, no need to be a nuclear scientist to know that Zaid will never be Secretary General of DAP. Even other more senior will not get it. They must fill one mind boggling criteria; that is he must be of blood line to Guan Eng.

    As for Lee We Tak, the loser in American election recently, Mc Cain, telephoned Obama and conceded defeat. In Malaysia, Anwar simply refuse to accept reality that BN won the last election. Imagine Anwar having the humility to accept reality that BN won in last election. Maybe it is too much to ask.

    MC Cain did not try to deny Obama of his right to be President. But Anwar openly declared to the whole world that by last 16 Sept, Abdullah badawi would have been toppled.

    That ambition did not materalize , That God. So, who is the idiot now?. Who is the joker now.

    As for Zaid Ibrahim, why not make thing simple for everyone. If you cant subscribe to UMNO’s principle, then leave. Nobody is stopping you. If you feel DAP which hallmark is questioning and ridiculing Malay ( but silent on rampant discrimination against non Chinese in private sector) suits you, then join DAP.

    AS PAS currently experience, becoming an ally to a political party known for its hostility to your own race is not that pleasant.

    As for Cintanegara and of course Uncle Lim, what are your comments on Hotel Putra Inn in Batu 14 Puchong that openly advertise for Chinese staff only.

  30. #30 by yellowkingdom on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 12:08 am

    As a Johorean, I’m ashamed of this bigotted and petty character harbouring hopes to be the next DPM of M’sia. A former MB of Johor, he appeared promising and had potential but his utterances laid bare his small and narrow mind. Had he kept his mouth shut, he would be thought wise. Alas, he had to speak and show himself the idiot he is. Does attending a Malay-Muslim friend’s wedding make me an apostate of my religion? Or I’m betraying my race? Come off it, lah! At the rate these monkeys interpret others’ intentions and actions through their sick minds and myopic lenses, UMNO sinks in the quick-sand of mockery.

  31. #31 by bystander on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 12:26 am

    umnoputras ministers have pea-sized brains. cannot think far. look at joe lieberman, a democrat supporting GOP without even being asked to leave. instead obama has retained him as chairman of sub-com on some issue.

  32. #32 by chiakchua on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 7:49 am

    Love them, don’t hate them. I believe the way to realise Malaysian Malaysia is to help coach the general Malays to be independent, that they realise they do not need the NEP which is a mask used by UMNOputras to suck their blood. We should train as many as possible with PR’s training scheme. PR component parties should sit down to come out with some direct and
    practical industry focused training program. Give this idea a thought. Most polytechnic students who came to our company for industrial training are so poor in their knowledge that I wonder how could they be employed, and I wonder how low could be their lecturers’ standard!

    The PR government in Penang, Perak and Selangor should also look into ways to lessen busy hours traffic jam with local municipality authority. Please look into this possibility instead of leaving the whole thing to the ‘numbed’ BN organisation.

  33. #33 by c730427 on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 8:02 am

    Chiakchua, I couldn’t put it better than you, fully agree with your suggestions to coach them, love them and don’t hate them. They are innocent since birth as they lack the concept of freedom to choose and reject. Since they have no choice, We must embrace them with their teachings of Islam. Encourage them to serve the community, the world and the environment according to their law of teachings. If they really follow the law, i am very sure Malaysia is a great place for growth!

  34. #34 by kcb on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 8:07 am

    Why are they feeling so insecure and lack of faith in their member?

  35. #35 by veddy.lum74 on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 9:04 am

    the graduan melayu are all spoon-fed creatures,dey are afraid of gomen aids being abolished,so now dey are desperodo!

    if dey insisted dat ketuanan melayu still exist,dey should support abolishment of NEP,becos of the mass assistance by gomen,nobody will respect malays at all!It’s damn contradicting dat on one side you want ketuanan melayu,and on the other side,you want mass assistance,damn hypocrites!

    Mahatiu and Son Sdn. Bhd. is the best example!

    Now,dey are blaming the primary schools of disunited!

    I think,if we could settle the ethnic issues,wat about religion issues?i think religion issues are far more complicated and dangerous than any other issues,right?

  36. #36 by taiking on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 9:07 am

    C730427 said:

    “As non malay, we must understand why malays are so protective about their rights in the name of supremacy. if they are truly superior, then they wont be so narrow minded. it is their weak faith and knowledge towards the concept of unity and wealth creation that caused such handicap.”

    There is another reason. Malay is not a race but a collection of race fragments from a dozen places around the world. So we chinese could well be the largest homogeneous race in malaysia. That is why they are scared.

  37. #37 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 9:10 am

    Well, the good news is they are worried. The possibilities of the likes of Zaid and Arif Shah going over hits the heart of UMNO, the legitimacy of the leadership – much like indulgent Sultans that broke Hang Jebat trust. Its why they are worried about money politics, because it the modern day version of indulgent sultanate.. They don’t get it that its not really the Sultan that is the problem but the sultanate itself. The indulgent sultan was going to happen one way or other under the sultanate system. Just as the UMNO-led BN hegemonistic feudal system was designed to be corrupt one way or other..

  38. #38 by taiking on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 9:22 am

    Sorry a diversion:

    Some joker wrote to the Star Online today, 2 Dec 2008:

    “I wish to highlight crime in Section 17, Petaling Jaya. Snatch thefts are becoming so rampant in this residential area that people are now fearful to go outdoors.”

    Didnt he read what our minister said. That crimes in malaysia is ok and still managable? The umno minister must be right and by the simple umno logic, the writer must be exaggerating.

  39. #39 by lee wee tak_ on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 9:54 am

    when our minister says our crime rate is manageable, perhaps he is saying the work load to head count ration for the criminals are manageable and the criminals need not out source, recruit more assistant and are not over-worked.

  40. #40 by lee wee tak_ on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 9:55 am

    sorry, ratio, not ration

  41. #41 by Godfather on Tuesday, 2 December 2008 - 10:27 am

    As we get closer to March 2009, the voices of extremism will drown out the voices of tolerance and reason. We have Mukhriz throwing the first spanner in asking for the removal of vernacular schools, you will soon hear of some delegates asking for indefinite implementation of NEP. Some will even ask for those who question Ketuanan Melayu to be put under the ISA.

    This is the UMNO way. Those who dare shout the loudest and the most extreme will win.

  42. #42 by kenghuei on Wednesday, 3 December 2008 - 11:18 am

    Oh well…Zaid is sacked. This is clear sign that Umno cannot commit to reforms, all that they have said or done are merely ‘window dressings’.

    Just like Anwar is symbol of reform for Pakatan, I see Zaid as a symbol of reform for BN / the government who has no self-interest. But unforunately, his views cannot be accepted by majority of Umno even if lame-duck PM hired and supported him.

    For him to attend opposition functions already indicates that Zaid already has issues in his heart with Umno, it is akin to a husband’s feelings for his wife which has faded and hence, he starts flirting around =) But instead of trying to court him back, Umno chooses to abandon him as he is just a ‘small guy’ compared to the corrupt and selfish majority in Umno.

    Like you pointed out, if Umno is open-minded and confident enough, a person’s loyalty should not be questioned if he attends opposition function. But perhaps today, Umno is not as confident and secure as before and Zaid definitely is seen to be rebelling and if he is not sacked, he may pave the way for other disgruntled Umno members to follow his footstep too.

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