After five decades in power Umno has lost touch. Moreover, there is no sense of urgency.
When people write or even talk about Umno nowadays they tend to use words like “balance”, “relevance”, “responsibility”, “integrity” and “honesty”, and in virtually every example it’s the lack of these qualities that observers criticise.
In the past, Umno (whatever critics may say now), possessed an inalienable connection with its core voter base, the Malay community. There was trust. There was respect and there was competence.
Indeed, the party in the era of the “cikgu” activist was at one with its members and the people; they lived together, they ate together and they worked together.
At the same time the party’s leaders always understood the importance of being both Malay and Malaysian. They recognised that they carried a responsibility of leadership €“ that great power meant an even heavier sense of duty, witness Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman.
Of course, times change. Economic growth and prosperity has altered the Malay community dramatically €“ there are clear winners and losers, with the “cikgu” unfortunately among the “losers”. Still the party’s response to these shifts in prosperity has been neither effective nor productive.
The influx of rent-seekers and businessmen has turned Umno into a clearing house for government contracts. Self-interest has prevailed and the poor (and not-so-poor) of all races have been forgotten.
In Port Klang there is an extremely potent symbol of this disconnect between the party and the Malays (let’s not even mention how the non-Malays feel).
There is a house €“ more like a mansion or palace €“ that epitomises this terrible breakdown between the party and the people. Indeed, it is the ultimate symbol of all that’s gone wrong with the great party of Merdeka.
..If like me, you’ve been an Umno supporter (albeit qualified) all your life, you’ll step back into your car and drive off, knowing that you have witnessed something profoundly tragic and sad: a betrayal of hope and integrity.
Umno – a betrayal of hope and integrity