As Umno opening acts, analysts see wings telling stale tale with ‘regressive’ rhetorics

By Zurairi AR
The Malay Mail Online
November 27, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 — For all their sound and fury in opening the much-anticipated Umno general assembly, its youth and women’s wings appear to be mired in partisan and parochial issues that political analysts said is distancing the ruling party from its ambitious reform agenda.

After a full day of speeches from the wing leaders and delegates which one analyst called “regressive” rhetoric, several pundits recommended Umno work on offering fresh ideas that will bridge the divide among the different races in order to capture the attention and imagination of their countrymen for the future.

“I think Umno needs a new voice, not one that reminds us of old news… Umno leaders need to come up with extraordinary ideas, only then can they show their leadership,” Prof Dr Jayum Jawan, a political analyst with the National Professor Council, told Malay Mail Online over phone.

“We need new ideas to strengthen Umno, its unity, and the good relations between Malays and non-Malays. Coming from its important wings, this is pretty disappointing from Umno’s top leaders.”

In his winding-up speech yesterday, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin called on Malays to rise and defend themselves from an onslaught of insults and challenges to their special position in the country, declaring that the country’s majority ethnic group has been patient enough.

The Youth and Sports Minister also warned non-Malays to do their part and honour the pledges of their ancestors when they were granted citizenship during the formation of the country.

The two wings also defended the controversial Sedition Act 1948, with Women’s wing chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil proclaiming the move to be a Malaysian agenda, not just a Malay one, aimed at protecting the security, stability and harmony of the country.

“Rightly, the issues that should be discussed aggressively and progressively are the more macro issues, not just the basis of the party’s struggle,” said Prof Dr Shamsul Adabi Mamat, a political science lecturer with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Shamsul suggested that the Umno wings would have found better resonance if they had talked about issues such as urban poverty, housing problems, rural social ills and youth unemployment instead.

“These are the issues that can give the public a perception that Umno has come out of its stereotypical frame,” added Shamsul.

Jayum, who is also a lecturer with Universiti Putra Malaysia, chastised the Umno wings for harping on the rights of the Malays, insisting that the Malays would still dominate Parliament and the prime minister post for a long time to come.

“The Malay rights would go nowhere… Instead they should show how Malays can set an example and uphold good relations with the others,”

“The prime minister would still be a Malay, the Malays would still dominate the federal government, even if Umno loses. It is impossible for an ethnic Chinese or Indian to be PM, and there is little possibility for someone from Sabah or even Sarawak.”

Prof James Chin, a director with think-tank Jeffrey Cheah Institute, however remained cynical, claiming that Umno wings’ meets have always brought up fiery and controversial rhetorics rather than broader topics.

“Umno Youth and Women act as pressure points, there is no such thing as progressive voices there. The two wings would bring out all the difficult subjects before the main assembly,” Chin told Malay Mail Online over phone.

“Basically, the message was for the non-Malays to watch out. ‘If you keep rejecting us in the general elections, Umno will look to the right, and you’ll pay a heavy price’,” the political scientist said.

Chin also suggested that the Umno wings had offered consistent points along the same lines with the Malay rights gathering National Unity Convention that was held on Sunday to send a message to Umno.

The convention, attended by over 300 Malay rights NGOs and more than 1,000 supporters, tabled a memorandum covering topics such as economy, law, education and Islam, that is expected to be delivered to Umno today.

It had also passed a declaration that, among others, sought for Bumiputera citizens to be officially recognised as “bangsa teras”, or “core group”, who “calls the shots” on national policies.

The 65th Umno general assembly runs this week till Saturday at the Putra World Trade Centre here.

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Thursday, 27 November 2014 - 10:15 am

    HAPPY Thanksgiving
    Ooops, sorry, may b too sensitif 2 some, CANNOT say 1

    When UmnoB kaki, boys n gals, gather together like in their GA, their favorite activities include HENTAM non-Malays n DAP, plus ENJOY seksi remarks

    Where got time 2 hentam CORRUPTION, incompetence, inefficiency, leakages, n issues of NATIONAL importance 1

    It’s ALWAYS abt UmnoB Malays’ special privileges n eazi access 2 DUIT, LUI, $$ – Gua gasak, lu pun gasak, hapi, hapi

  2. #2 by worldpress on Thursday, 27 November 2014 - 8:21 pm

    Yes, you (poor majority) please protect it so we keep continue

    For those connected at top rich become richer

    For Poor become poorer (like) a MODERN LIVING SLAVE

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