Today wherever the Malays go – be it to PKR, DAP or PAS – the ugly part of Umno will follow.
Today the Malays are faced with the choice of sharing political power with the non-Malays.
They are asked to do so because of the abject failures and abuses of executive power for personal gains by those within Umno while in the government.
Why Umno has failed so miserably can be explained by the same affliction that has plagued humans over the centuries – greed, self-interest and the lack of a sense of responsibility and duty to the very people that have put them into government – the Malays!
Umno’s way is to put into the hands of their president and our prime minister, all the executive political power that Umno has without checks and balances in place to ensure that misuse of that power will be minimal.
Time and time again, it has been proven that their presidentvis-à-vis our prime minister have not always used that power with the proper care that he should.
This has been so with Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Pak Lah (Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) and now that enigmatic Najib Tun Razak.
Najib fancies himself to be the “great transformer and initiator” of events and changes that could, would or should shape or break our country. The common consensus, however, leans towards “break our country”.
The latest trial of Anwar Ibrahim for his dalliances during the Bersih 3.0 rally is just one example of a supposedly enlightened Najib taking advantage of a ‘transformation’ of the law that governs public gatherings.
He is trying to use it to put away his political nemesis just before the 13th general election.
That he is even trying to do so with the excuse that it is “due process” is indicative that he has no concept of what being man enough to face his political rival on a level playing field actually entails.
For all his personal failings, Anwar has been prosecuted enough by this Najib-led government to ensure that he enters the 13th general election as the underdog.
‘We have become corrupt, arrogant’
But I digress.
Let’s get back to the Malays. For me, the challenge for the Malays is not to change Umno but to change themselves.
Umno is the manifestation of what the Malays have become – a corrupt, arrogant and irresponsible dominant race.
It’s a race that thinks itself entitled to political power – political power that they then use and abuse for personal gain at the expense of our nation and to the detriment of our people.
A harsh judgment indeed for the Malays coming from a Malay.
Today wherever Malays go – be it to PKR, DAP or PAS – the ugly part of Umno will follow.
What separates where he goes from what Umno now is, is a matter of degree, not substance.
We talk about corruption and money politics within Umno. We talk about the arrogance of Umno leaders who are lost in their self-importance and drunk on the power that their ministerial position accords them.
And we see the spectacles of Malays arrogantly striding down the corridors of power within Putrajaya busy in their deal-making to secure projects to make their millions while Umno still have political power.
Don’t apologise for Umno
These are the people who make Umno and our nation the cesspool of greed that it is today.
But what happens in Umno also happens in PKR, in PAS and in time to come will happen in DAP if it has not already being practised by the Chinese there.
Are there Malays who are ashamed of what is going on in Umno? Are there Malays making apologies for the excesses of Umno politicians and for the arrogance of Umno ministers?
Are there Malays apologising for the abuse of the judiciary, the civil service, the police and for the blatant use of race and religion for political gains?
For sure there are!
Some of them are from within Umno and some from outside. These Malays who are now outside Umno want Umno to change for the better.
These Malays must now become Umno – an almost impossible task given their abhorrence of all things Umno.
But we Malays need not be the apologists for Umno’s failures to the Malays and to the nation.
If we have failed ourselves, it is in our failure to seize the opportunity that political power gives us to make Malaysia change into the country we aspire it to be.
To do this we must first change ourselves into the Malaysian that shall do good for all Malaysian.
When the Malays change for the better, so will Umno – for is not Umno the manifestation of what the Malays are?
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.