UMNO is 70 this year.
Whether we like it or not, communal politics shall remain the main feature of Malaysian politics. Although the Federal Constitution places Bahasa Malaysia as the official language and medium of instruction, MCA, MIC and other communal parties including the self-proclaimed multiracial party DAP will continue to fight for the existence of the vernacular schools which is among the reasons this country continues to produce an ever divisive society.
And although the Federal Constitution places Islam as the religion of this blessed nation and although the Federal Constitution also gives the right to for each religion to manage its own affairs, we get BN component parties questioning the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act amendments which does not affect them and claims that it would lead to double jeopardy – a claim so ludicrous that it makes me wonder how these lawmakers even made it to Parliament not knowing that Article 121(1)(1A) of the Federal Constitution stated clearly that neither the High Court of Malaya and the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak have any jurisdiction in any matters that are within the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court.
And DAP as well as its puppets (PAN, Pribumi, PKR, BERSIH) will hitch a ride on this communal collision course to ensure that the wagon cannot be steered to safety.
The basic question that was raised during the Pemuda and Puteri meetings revolved around the rising cost of living. Ridzuan Ahmad (Pemuda UMNO) from Negeri Sembilan quoted a makcik selling pisang goreng who lamented the rise of fuel prices as well as the smuggling of cooking oil to foreign countries that has caused the removal of subsidies. Norsarfinaz Mohd Azman (Puteri UMNO) of Pahang told the government not to sugar-coat the economic situation from the public.
While the questions above are valid questions, what has the Pemuda as well as Puteri UMNO delegates done to understand and explain things to the masses?
As a layman and a non-UMNO person, I can proudly say I have explained this better to the masses. Therefore, I find it odd that even with a strong Information Machinery, Pemuda UMNO finds it difficult to explain to the masses about the benefits of the withdrawal of subsidies. On the question of hoarding and smuggling of cooking oil, it is not an easy task to prevent smuggling. Nevertheless, one cannot expect the government agencies to achieve success if the public does not cooperate in reporting such activities to them.
I don’t think the government has sugar-coated anything. In his Budget 2017 speech, Najib Razak spoke about the drastic reduction in earnings from the oil and gas industry. This has been made up by the introduction of the GST which saw an increase in the number of businesses having to pay taxes to the government as opposed to them collecting tax from their customers but under-declare earnings to the government previously. Furthermore, household essentials are mostly zero-rated items under the GST scheme thus there is no tax on most food items nor should it affect households.
If it does, then again it becomes the responsibility of the masses to assist government agencies by reporting such occurrence to them. Has this been conveyed to the voters?
We can all whine about the cost of living but what have we, especially those in UMNO done, to actually come up with solutions to accompany the problems that they put forth to the party management? Is it fair that the party management is given the burden to think of solutions but the whole party bathe in all the glory when a solution works without the participation of the grassroots?
Even the non-Malay and non-UMNO Miss Lim Sian See could explain things better than most!
Perhaps, in this final stretch before the 14th General Elections, party wings organise workshops on improving the standards of living rather than go on trips or exclusive makan-makan events.
However, on my Facebook this morning I received a message from a friend asking is the Ringgit really bad and are the rakyat truly suffering? This was the message:
UMNO party members should be more selfless. I watched the commentary by one of the panelists on RTM1 just before Najib Razak delivered his speech and it was an interesting piece when he said the Opposition is more on the ground and stand on the a level platform as do the people in the rural areas, while UMNO members spend more time at high-end coffee places and surround themselves with ‘loyalists.’
Najib Razak also touched on this in his speech:
“Bercakap tentang tanda hormat, acknowledgement and respect terhadap Wanita ini, saya berasa begitu sayu dan tersentuh apabila mendengar cerita tentang wirawati-wirawati Wanita UMNO yang tidak didendang, namun telah berkorban jiwa dan raga demi kepentingan parti.
Kisah tauladan yang saya maksudkan, adalah tentang Puan Saridah binti Ibrahim, Nombor Ahli UMNO 01441342, Ketua Wanita Cawangan Bandar Baru Selayang, juga merangkap Ketua Penerangan Wanita Bahagian Selayang.
Beliau terlibat dalam kemalangan jalanraya sewaktu pulang dari berkempen untuk Barisan Nasional, semasa Pilihanraya Kecil DUN Kajang pada tahun 2014.
Sesungguhnya, saya berasa sungguh sebak dan terharu, melihat keadaan Puan Saridah kini… yang penuh semangat, walaupun dalam keadaan yang uzur, beliau sanggup hadir bersama kita.”
Such is one of the selfless acts that UMNO members should emulate. Najib Razak rightfully gave respect to Wanita UMNO which forms the backbone of UMNO – with 1.3 million members from a total of 3.5 million members nationwide. Pemuda UMNO has about 600,000 while Puteri UMNO has close to 400,000.
However, questioning the race of a GLC boss by a Wanita UMNO member, was not something smart. Arul Kanda is not a Malay although he is a Muslim, but it is his expertise that is sought to handle GLCs in the manner that they should be. We cannot just appoint someone just because he is a Malay and expect things to be rosy. Look at FGV, for instance. I shan’t say more.
Najib Razak also pointed out on how the government has provided medical treatment to its people for next to free. Transformation Centres that run daily until 10pm. And for the benefit of Ridzuan Ahmad and Norsarfinaz, the government provides RM200 in assistance per person for the 400,000 small-scale farmers and rubber tappers during the monsoon season. On top of that, the 60,000 fishermen in Malaysia are being given a special allowance of between RM200 to RM300 per month for the whole year. For padi farmers, RM1.3 billion is provided to subsidise the purchase of seedlings, fertilisers and price of rice to make them more competitive.
Yet, people still call the government zalim not knowing what the word really means.
The zalim are the ones who, when in office, make solemn oaths proclaiming Wallahi Watallahi Wabillahi which all literally mean ‘and by Allah.’ When they are sworn into office, in Parliament as cabinet members, they took an oath Wallahi Wabtallahi Wabillahi to protect government secrets and not disclose them to anyone under whatever circumstance; then as party leaders they swore Wallahi Watallahi Wabillahi to protect the sanctity of Islam as the religion of the Federation, and uphold the Malay rights as leaders of UMNO, yet when they fail to fulfil their self-interests, they leave the party and take sides with those who actually attack Islam and the Malay rights.
Those, as Najib Razak mentioned in his speech, are munafiks (hypocrites).
At 70, UMNO is still young. It shall remain youthful for as long as it is able to draw the support of the younger generation and continues to not only listen to grouses but able to provide solutions as well as explain well to the masses. It is those weary ones, who from the start never align their aspirations with that of UMNO’s (putting self-interest forward) who will cause UMNO to feel weary.
These are the people who would just dump everything, leave, and then attack UMNO out of frustration.
As Najib Razak quoted of the national literary figure Usman Awang and the Melayu-Riau literary figure Tenas Affendy at the beginning of his speech:
Melayu itu orang yang bijaksana,
Budi bahasanya tidak terkira,
Kurang ajarnya masih beralas dan bersantun,
Kalau berkelahi biarlah cara Melayu,
Kalau menikam pula, pun dengan berpantun,
Walau menyanggah dikuntum senyum.
Kalau merayu dan meminta,
Hendaklah pada yang kasih dan sudi memberi.
Mencontoh biarlah pada yang senonoh,
Berteladan pada yang sepadan.
Adil menjadi hakim,
Amanah dalam bersumpah,
Sekalipun begitu,… walau watak Melayu menolak permusuhan, setia dan sabar tiada sempadan,…
biar berkecai tulang,… hatta hancurnya badan,…
pantang pendekar, meninggalkan gelanggang!!!