Malaysians Say Corruption is UMNO’s Worst Flaw

Angus Reid Global Monitor | March 21, 2009

Many people in Malaysia say the governing party’s main problem lies in corrupt practices, according to a poll by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research. 35 per cent of respondents cite corruption as the most serious flaw of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO).

Being out of touch is second with 15 per cent, followed by having weak leaders with 12 per cent, having weak economic managers with 11 per cent, being arrogant also with 11 per cent, and being racist with 10 per cent.

UMNO—the biggest party in a coalition of 12 political factions known as the National Front (BN)—has formed the government after every election since the Asian country attained its independence from Britain in 1957.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over as prime minister in October 2003, after the retirement of Mahathir Mohamad, who served for more than 22 years. In the March 2004 election, the National Front secured 198 of the 219 seats in the House of Representatives. Abdullah was sworn in as head of government with the biggest majority in three decades.

In the March 2008 ballot, the National Front won 140 seats in the legislature. The coalition’s share of the vote dropped drastically, from 64.4 per cent in 2004, to 50.27 per cent in 2008. According to Human Rights Watch, the most recent election was “grossly unfair” and marred by irregularities.

Last September, Abdullah announced he would step down in March 2009. Najib Razak—who currently serves as deputy prime minister and finance minister—is set to take over as head of government in early April.

On Mar. 12, Datuk Mohamad Norza Zakaria, a top member of UMNO, was charged by prosecutors with bribing people in exchange for their help in securing his post in the party’s Supreme Council in internal elections, which will be held at the end of March. Norza pleaded “non-guilty” and was later released on bail. He is due to appear before the court on Apr. 22.

Polling Data

Among the problems mentioned by people about the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), please choose two that you feel are most serious. (Average of mentions listed)

Corruption 35%
Out of touch 15%
Weak leaders 12%
Weak managers of the economy 11%
Arrogance 11%
Racist 10%
Not sure 1%
No response 4%

Source: Merdeka Center for Opinion Research
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,031 Malaysian adults, conducted from Feb. 4 to Feb. 16, 2009. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

  1. #1 by alberttye on Sunday, 22 March 2009 - 6:22 pm

    When a party uses extreme racial sentiments and utterrances, such as “untuk Agama Bangsa dan Negara” as their platform, can one be surprised that corruption is rampant !

    Bigotry is the convenient refuge, everywhere in the world

  2. #2 by k1980 on Sunday, 22 March 2009 - 7:15 pm

    It is also a supremist gang of bigots, and it is going down the same path of destruction as the Nazis, Ku Klux Klan, Apartheidists, Abu Sayyaf and so on

  3. #3 by k1980 on Sunday, 22 March 2009 - 7:27 pm

    How the hell did PAS allow this froggie racist to contest in Pasir Mas in 2008?

    Malay right-wing group Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa today threatened that it would react to the actions of those who chose to question Malay supremacy. President Ibrahim Ali warned non-Malays to behave, if not then Malays would repay in kind.

  4. #4 by Godfather on Sunday, 22 March 2009 - 7:39 pm


    We have to watch out for the antics of Mamakthir. He just spoke at a NGO conference and stoked the fires of Malay nationalism by saying that the Malays are being dispossessed and that the situation now is even worse than being under the British.

    This old fox is dangerous because he plays on racial sentiments whenever it suits him (or in this case, his son). He is not averse to starting a war through the use of the race card. PR must come out and openly condemn him for his pronouncements.

  5. #5 by Godfather on Sunday, 22 March 2009 - 7:57 pm

    Amongst the various things Mamakthir said was this:

    “Orang Melayu dikatakan kaum pendatang di negaranya sendiri. Dan kaum pendatang lain tidak boleh dipanggil kaum pendatang. Jika sesiapa berbuat demikian, mereka mesti minta maaf. Tidak perlu sesiapa minta maaf jika berkata Melayu kaum pendatang.”

    This is Malayland so they must be allowed to say what they want and do what they want.

  6. #6 by yhsiew on Sunday, 22 March 2009 - 8:18 pm

    BN politicians who continue to play the race card for political mileage will be alienated by the non-Malays – that had been proven in the 12th GE. How come the old guard can forget the Tsunami 308 lesson so quickly?

  7. #7 by carcinoma on Sunday, 22 March 2009 - 9:46 pm

    well, this is bolehland. but not boleh for certain people. some retired man can always come back and initiate fire among the races. even we write in the blogs also need to watch out for IT guys from the troublemaker team. anytime we can be fined and sent to jail. instead of giving wise solutions to DPM the “fox” just enjoyed being a firestarter, to start the burning flames in the heart of the so many races. it was not easy to cool down after the idiot from penang commented on such issue. why should we accept this kind of irritating comment about who is pendatang again? in that case, lets not fight the economy, fight among us first. let the country down. i belief this is one of the aims from certain people. wise men saying: “get lost when u are retired! grab your hard earn money to save health, happiness and buy a good coffin” dont start a fire among the malaysians. we had enough. we have better things to do…..Economy Crisis.

  8. #8 by wanderer on Sunday, 22 March 2009 - 9:57 pm

    That old fart is harping on his old tune…this time to gain support for his beloved son, since his son is not capable to stand on his own two feet. With Rustam out of the race, Muhyuddin with have a easy ride over the non English speaking opponent. One of his horses is in the bag. The same support will now follow to his son with added frogs from Rustam’s camp.
    This sly old fox knows when to play the race card, to hammer home his ambition. A DPM and a UMNO youth chief together on the same team, they can be a very handy ‘weapons’ for future bidings.

  9. #9 by lee wee tak_ on Sunday, 22 March 2009 - 9:59 pm


    Che Det,”this old fox is dangerous because he plays on racial sentiments whenever it suits him (or in this case, his son).”


    Racism ranks above corruption for me.

  10. #10 by KennyGan on Sunday, 22 March 2009 - 10:19 pm

    It’s gutter politicians like Mahathir who keep reminding the Malays that they are under threat from the 35% non-Malays who do not even wield political power in order to keep them insecure and dependent on Umno.

    Malay rights is enshrined in the constitution and protected by Malay rulers. Malays are the majority, they wield all the political power and make up 90% of the civil service and security forces. Yet Umno politicians still claim that they are under threat of being down trodden by the non-Malays.

    This type of racist bogeyman to frighten the Malays went out of favour long ago yet Mahathir still repeats it as if he is addressing simple kampung folks. It just disgust everybody including the Malays themselves.

  11. #11 by KennyGan on Sunday, 22 March 2009 - 10:28 pm

    Come to think of it, Malays are indeed under threat, not by the non-Malays but by racist politicians like Mahathir who want to keep them weak, fearful and insecure for their own nefarious ends.

    How are Malays going to progress into a strong race, confident of their own abilities and able to compete on the global stage if Umno keep telling them they are weak and need special rights to survive? Umno is the Malay’s worse enemy.

  12. #12 by Godfather on Sunday, 22 March 2009 - 10:35 pm

    Well, this old man is simply a hypocrite, a person who plays the racial card only when it suits him. Of course he doesn’t believe in it, but he knows he can instill fear in the poor Malays – the very fear which would allow him and his cronies control over their mindset.

    Long ago, he realised that the NEP only made the rich Malays forget their heritage, and that a succession of UMNO Malay nominees simply walked out of UMNO with their loot in bags. The old man needed non-Malays who could also be nominees for UMNO, non-Malays he could trust to come up with money when needed. Hence people like Vincent, Ananda and the Yeohs all became beneficiaries of Mamakthir’s policies.

    If Mamakthir’s son fails in the UMNO elections, then we can expect worse vitriol from this old man.

  13. #13 by wanderer on Sunday, 22 March 2009 - 11:25 pm

    To sum it up in two words…”Corrupted Racists” that’s UMNO.

  14. #14 by Tonberry on Sunday, 22 March 2009 - 11:45 pm

    Umno have reached a level that is beyond repair. No amount of medicine can save this corrupted racist party. Judiciary, anti-corruption agency(MACC), police, Election Commission have all been tainted by Umno’s people and policies. I could not see Bolehland having a future with these people still leading the country.

  15. #15 by despin on Sunday, 22 March 2009 - 11:54 pm

    All of us called it “corruption”. Umno called it “money politics”.

    We are probably the only country in the world that has coined a politically-correct word for plain old bribery or corruption.

  16. #16 by cemerlang on Monday, 23 March 2009 - 12:20 am

    The problems listed, that of corruption, out of touch, weak leaders, weak managers of the economy, arrogance and racist did not happen just yesterday. It happenned gradually and insidiously since 1957. If the party is good, it will always be good since 1957. Then ask yourself. What is good ?

  17. #17 by voice out on Monday, 23 March 2009 - 12:23 am

    i 100% support the polling poll result!!!!!


  18. #18 by voice out on Monday, 23 March 2009 - 12:26 am

    Only in BOLEH LAND, corrupted people still remain in their position even thy are guilty…..

    IF this is Thailand, the layperson already over thrown the PM…

    IF this is Taiwan, the President can be sue….

    IF this is Philippines, The President can be force out of office

  19. #19 by voice out on Monday, 23 March 2009 - 12:29 am

    If the polling data not sufficient to show the evidence of the people sentiments, why dont we do a reality show asking public opinion on the road of every races and career background without fear and prejudice….

    If this reality show can happen in America, why not in MY? Anyone in media interested of this ? I’m sure the TV rating will get very high marks on this

  20. #20 by monsterball on Monday, 23 March 2009 - 12:49 am

    Americans call it…. kickbacks.
    Malaysians call it….corruption.
    UMNO says it….looks like so…sound like so..but not so as they are all…..COMMISSIONS!!
    I wonder have Income took note and taxed the RM500++ million commission given to Najib’s.Sec….Baginda..who was freed from Mongolian murder trial.
    I guess all tenders ….commission …are exempted from Income tax… one giving donations??

  21. #21 by anna brella on Monday, 23 March 2009 - 1:13 am

    1. NO real leadership due to NO GOOD LEADERS in UMNO/BN since the 1969 UMNO-engineered coup d’etat which deposed the harmony-building pioneering/natuonal leader Tunku Abdul Rahman and catastrophically diverted the direction taken by the fledgling nation and its till the integrated society.

    2. Racism (where is the logic in that stupid, blind prejudice in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultured and multi-religious country?)

    All the rest of the ills, particularly the onset of the national wealth destroying cancer called CORRUPTION are due to those two prime causes.

    Oh, that plus the fact that TRUTH was re-branded as being….er….seditious and controlled through the malicious ISA sledgehammer through the Peoples stupid own goals – the award of those consistent whopping, beefy Big-Mac majorities to the UMNO led-BN self-interest coalition, and allowing the MSM to become the political lapdog taht it is today.

    “Imagine Power To The People” John Lennon.


  22. #22 by Jeffrey on Monday, 23 March 2009 - 7:43 am

    Corruption (35%) is UMNO’s worst flaw? Racist (10%) as 6th flaw ?

    No lah, Merdeka Center for Opinion Research itself is obviously “flawed” in failing to differentiate between pernicious corruption from that of a vigorous pursuit of patronage policies, sanctified by Federal Constitution, justified by historical “Social Contract”, meant to correct historical economic imbalance between the haves and haves not, the urban denizens and rural agragian toilers. People should differentiate that correcting historical economic imbalance is social justice – not racism!

    “Out of Touch” (15%) and “Weak Leaders” (12%) as 2nd and 3rd flaws?

    No lah. We see a recent return of an ex leader and strongman on political sideline who ebulliently just told a 1000 strong gathering that majority have been turned into minority and insulted by minorities, thereby articulating fearlessly the sentiments on the ground. If there were any weak leader, he is on the way out in a matter of days….

    “Weak managers of the economy” (11%)? This is nonsense. Though not entirely spared from effects of global economic crisis, we’re comparatively better off than our neighbours especially that little red dot south against whom we’re often compared in unfavourable terms. Has anyone heard Khazanah lost money the way Temasek did when its assets deflated by some S$58 billion when even her PM’s wife helming it had to resign? In terms of FDI, MIDA has convinced executives of US corporations to stay or even relocate here from China. The world may have a banking crisis or break in credit cycle but not us : our monetary/fiscal management is excellent; we don’t have a fold up by a major investment bank like Leyman Bros; our Malayan Banking is not like Citibank, indeed it could afford to acquire PT Bank Internasional Indonesia (BII) for over RM8 billion and our banks generally are flushed with liquidity and deposits – especially when our leaders have the forsight to have the government fully guarantee all ringgit and foreign currency deposits with commercial, Islamic and investment banks — either local or foreign — until December 2010 – whilst having manageable Non performing loans and no Sub Prime problems. One just have to verify with one’s own eyes the number of people in our shopping complexes and eateries to know that we’re keeping up with consumption demand, which will be given further impetus into the economic stratosphere by the RM60 billion stimulus package, almost 9 per cent of the GDP.

    “Arrogance” (11%) as 5th flaw? Maybe a little of honest arrogance based on achievements above adumbrated uis admitted. Nothing wrong with this to take pride in honest achievement, which proves a measuring cast from those extolling hypocritical humility!

    To sum: unbeknownst to the common man, an opinion poll like that taken by Merdeka Center for Opinion Research is fundamentally flawed. And we’re not only talking about uninformed or misinformed sampling of opinions canvassed: we’re talking about a confusion and mix up of wrong benchmarks used!

  23. #23 by Jeffrey on Monday, 23 March 2009 - 8:03 am

    Not sure 1%
    No response 4%

    I forgot to say that this 5% of either “not sure” or “no response” are certainly not the lowest 5% in terms of IQ on the Bell Curve as some of us are proned to infer: they are simply the highest top 5% of the population with IQ above 200 on the Bell Curve.

    They are not sure or have no response because the questions asked and benchmarks presented were wrong and misconceived.

    A highly intelligent respondent cannot give an intelligent answer to a set of wrong stupid and irrelevant questions, so the intelligent respobnse is either “not sure” or “no response”.

  24. #24 by taiking on Monday, 23 March 2009 - 8:34 am


    And umno say:


  25. #25 by Jeffrey on Monday, 23 March 2009 - 9:20 am

    And umno say: “THAT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS BOZOS!!!” – taiking 08:34.07.

    However that is not all. There is something in this criticism of UMNO’s faults.

    It depends on whether one is a friend and well-wisher of UMNO, wishing that it will rule for the next 50 years or a detractor wishing the opposite.

    A friend will not scold and upbraid someone he wishes well unjustly. However only our best friends are those who criticise us – and I must say justly – the most of our genuine faults and . . who never condone them. Our friends hope that by criticising we will change and rectify our faults for the better.

    In sharp contrast those who desist from criticising our faults – and in fact flatter our good points insincerely when we have none – are our worst enemies. For our detractors hope that we will continue blissfully in our faults that will inevitably bring our downfall!

    So one has to make up up his mind : to be a friend or a detractor, a well wisher or ill- wisher, to criticise or keep peace….

  26. #26 by ALLAN THAM on Monday, 23 March 2009 - 10:35 am

    The old hat say it again. He was just lucky to implement the expansionary policies that bring him to fame. He was out spoken in many ways. People always believe that old wine can only get better but unfortunately we do not have an old wine but and old junk just awaiting to be condemn, even given an incentive of 5k people still do not want to condemn this old junk and believe he is still good.

    look at what he has say recently in the ultra racist ngo meet.

    He was also the architect who has nature the corruption culture in his former party who has in and out for many times.

    He was also got in twist and turn for his argument until most people will pray to him as the greatest man in Malaysia.

    At his twilight hours he chose to play the racist card and this is his last present to Malaysia people.

  27. #27 by frankyapp on Monday, 23 March 2009 - 1:26 pm

    Malaya won’t achieved independence should the chinese and indian at that time didn’t secure their rights and freedom,right guys ! .The umno leaders and TDM now said we couldn’t question the malay right and freedom but have the right to question the non-malays right and freedom. Is this correct guys ? Where is the mutual respect that we malaysian is entittled ?. Umnoputras and TDM should know that most non-malays didn’ t question the malay’s right as we respect the policy but only questioned the implementation side of it especially by umnoputras who hold and control all high offices in both states and federal levels.Don’t we or all malaysian irrespective of race and religion have the citizion’s right to raise question when we realize that the govrernment has deviated from the policy or policies in it’s implementation of development ?. The umno/bn government if it’s not quillty,should not be afraid of such questions being raised .On the other hand when ever it’s being asked,the government/umnopuras reacted negatively,thus raising more and more questions.Should these umno leaders reacted positively,we won’t be in a mess like what we are having now,ie race,culture ,social and religion disputes.Come on you guys out there, be fair,positve and honest should you want a peaceful and prosperious malaysia.

  28. #28 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 24 March 2009 - 12:02 am

    “The umno leaders and TDM now said we couldn’t question the malay right and freedom but have the right to question the non-malays right and freedom. Is this correct guys ?”

    According to Limkaput, “YES”.

  29. #29 by Toyol on Tuesday, 24 March 2009 - 9:40 am

    95% of respondents nailed it on the head. What else to say? UMNO is redundant! Time for retirement.

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