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Malay liberty, its trust and faith in Umno

 | August 31, 2011

After more than 50 years of independence, wealth distribution among the races and within the Malays themselves is not improving.

COMMENT

What does Umno mean to the Malays and to me?

Like the American declaration of independence, Malays hold some inalienable rights, among these are the right to protect the religion of Islam, the rights on the Malay language, culture and ethnic identity and finally the right over this country.

And to secure these rights, Umno was formed. Umno is relevant for as long as it remains loyal to these rights. Or if it can reinterpret these rights better.

These fundamentals on which Umno was constructed can be said to be the ABC of Umno’s mission.

‘A’ stands for agama or religion, ‘B’ is for bangsa, bahasa and budaya (race, language and culture) and C is the country.

Some of the readers may find the comparison between the fundamentals of Umno’s creation with the American declaration of independence disrespectful.

America, after all, is the most powerful nation on earth. It is the only superpower.

My response is why should we be ashamed of declaring what we stand for? This is the basic fault of the current Umno leadership – it no longer gives effect and substance to these fundamentals.

Right to self-determination

How does the Malay understand the concept of a Malay nation?

Looking from a Malay perspective, the following are the traits of a Malay nation. They understand it as being the homeland of the Malays, where the religion is Islam, its culture as that practised by Malays, Bahasa Melayu is the official language.

They understand it to be a land where the monarchy system remains an integral part of their cultural and political heritage.

They understand it to mean that Malays will control some degree of the economy. They understand it further as an embodiment of the inalienable right of self determination.

Having understood this, in the end, the unpopular idea of a Malayan Union was rejected way back in history.

Umno was the driving force behind this rejection. The Malay race is indebted to Umno.

After the first general election in 1955, Umno led the other non Malay political parties to form the government. In 1957, Umno gained independence for us. Since then, this country has developed in leaps and bounds.

Yes yes, the Umno Rottweilers and Dobermans can repeat ad nauseum the achievements of the government – Felda land schemes, modern amenities, schooling etc etc.

Yes, we are indebted to Umno but never, never were we enslaved by, nor were we hostage to Umno.

Trust must be protected

What are the foundations of Umno’s relevance? To my mind it is Malay nationalism.

This is the overriding thread that binds all other Malay interests. All other interests are subsumed under the force of nationalism.

Malay nationalism is about primacy of Malay interests. They must be protected, expanded and defended. This was the basis of trust given by the Malays to Umno.

I fear these interests are perceived as being watered down by the Malay public. It is watered down by weak implementation, failure by Umno to provide leadership, by rhetoric more than substance, by mere words more than action.

These sentiments and emotions emanate from the breasts of ordinary man, not those in the halls of Putra World Trade Centre.

These powerful forces can only be sustained on the backs of economic and educational strength, areas in which the Malays are weaker by the day.

Forgotten virtues

After more than 50 years of independence, wealth distribution among the races and within the Malays themselves is not improving.

Put it simply, Umno has not taken care of its own members.

The perception is that ordinary Umno members, on whom the vision of Umno is carried, are marginalised.

When Malays rallied behind Tunku Abdul Rahman in the early 1950s, they were looking for a leadership that can defend and fight for their inalienable rights to call Malaysia their home.

They placed their trust and faith in Umno. They came from all walks of life. They pawned whatever material wealth they had to fight for a cause.

As author Francis Fukuyama noted in his book ‘Trust: The Social Virtues And The Creation Of Prosperity’, trust and faith are founded on the principle of reciprocity.

When there is trust, people cooperate. We give you our trust and faith believing that you will honour that trust and faith by fighting for what we want.

Once trust and faith are wasted away, you lose our trust. Can it be, after 62 years of Umno’s founding, it has forgotten our trust and faith?

The writer is a former Umno state assemblyman and a FMT columnist.


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