18 October, 2008

Umno is no bully ?

Malaysiakini reported that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has dismissed suggestions that Umno has over-dominated the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition at the expense of other component parties.

Umno has never bullied its Barisan Nasional partners and it is the Opposition that came up with the claim to undermine the coalition, says the Prime Minister.

The complaint that Umno was a bully was not even started by the component parties but initiated and harped on by the Opposition to make people perceive the Barisan parties were weak and hence hate and reject them.

Rebutting the claim, he said the Barisan co-operation was still very much intact.

“People say Umno is a party that likes to bully. I actually do not know how to bully people. There is no such thing as bully; we are all friends. Ask our friends (party leaders) in front.

“If bullying is our way, I believe many of the parties would want to leave Barisan because they wouldn’t want to put up with Umno bullying all the time,” he said.

" The accusation against Umno was started by the Opposition."

“Their intention is to ridicule and make MCA, Gerakan look bad so that people will not like the parties and their leaders. Similarly, this is being done by Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force) whose attitude is to ridicule MIC and its chief (Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu),” he said.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi must be suffering from amnesia.

That is the most charitable conclusion to draw after he said today that the perception of Umno being a bully in the Barisan Nasional was off the mark.

Wasn’t it only a month ago that Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail exhibited supreme arrogance when he showed no remorse for calling Malaysian Chinese immigrants at a rally in the run-up to the Permatang Pauh by-election.

And when Gerakan stood up to him, he behaved just like a schoolyard bully.

He asked for Gerakan to be kicked out of the BN.

He and the party’s supreme council members only took disciplinary action against the Bukit Bendera politician after being pushed into a corner. Even then, it was half-hearted attempt to apply balm on the raw feelings of the non-Malays.

Is this PM so out of touch with reality that he does not understand how frustrated BN leaders have become in dealing with arrogant Umno politicians.

Before he stepped down as a minister, Ong had to speak in hushed tones if he wanted allocation for Chinese schools from the Education Ministry. Speak too loud and the minister may be offended.

Koh had to stomach all the excesses of Penang Umno for years and had to be careful not to antagonise them even when they complained about the lack of opportunities in the state for Malays.

The arrogance and bullying did not stop there. And it hurt the MCA and other component parties in many ways.

Abdullah still was prepared to defend a political party that has bullied him since the general election; that refused to back his reform agenda and is now making final preparations for his humiliating send-off.

Malaysians should save their sympathy and goodwill for another leader. This man deserves the bullying treatment he is getting from his party faithful.

For UMNO the next four years would be crucial. If whoever becomes the new President fails to revive the party, it would be the end of the road for this longest surviving fighter for national independence. If this were to happen then the incoming leadership of UMNO will go down in history as the betrayers of this once glorious and powerful political machine.

UMNO had adopted the democratic system apparently to ensure that betrayers of the party would be removed and replaced by better men. But clearly UMNO democracy has not always worked. Many have reached the top through false pretences. Once there they make use of their position of power to prevent democracy from safeguarding the party. By dishing out lucrative jobs and titles, by abusing the authority conferred on them, by threats of all kinds, these pretenders have been able to stop attempts at their removal, at least for quite some time.

Thus in the March 2008 Elections the Barisan Nasional Party and UMNO suffered heavy losses. The leadership refused to accept responsibility for this debacle, even claiming victory because they have enough seats to form the central Government.

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