Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ku Li laments Umno but holds out hope - Malaysiakini

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — As Umno prepares to crown Datuk Seri Najib Razak as president next month, his ertswhile challenger Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah today lamented the differences between an Umno that helped give birth to two countries and one that grabbed power by "underhanded means".

The Gua Musang MP referred to Umno's previous leaders who had united the people to make Malaya independent and Tunku Abdul Rahman's bold vision of forming Malaysia "decided upon after much care and thought," the fruit of "mutual consent by debate and discussion, inquiries and elections".

"Today's Umno, under its present leadership, is probably beyond reform. Our leaders are the problem, and they have structured the party, bullied and bought it, so that they cannot be replaced by those who would lead to serve," Tengku Razaleigh wrote in his latest post.

He pointed out the party then had the confidence and leadership to envision a new nation not once but twice with a calibre of leaders to draw diverse communities into it and to found it on the rule of law, saying it had the confidence to unite people under a vision of common good.

"Contrast the breadth of vision we had 50 years ago, and our method of naming and solving our problems then, even in the face of serious threats to our security, with how we conduct ourselves now, having surrounded ourselves with self-made threats while real challenges such as education and the economy go begging," Tengku Razaleigh said bluntly.

"Umno's most recent achievement has been to wrest power by underhanded means from a democratically-elected state government. In doing so we came across as the party of the desperate, not the confident.

"Contrast the broad field we ranged over, with the narrow stage we now strut before a shrinking audience," Tengku Razaleigh lamented in reference to the adverse public reaction to Umno's move to unseat the Perak Pakatan Rakyat government.

But he held out hope for the Malay nationalist party that was founded in 1946 to defend the rights of the Malays and the Rulers and that had formed an alliance for independence in 1957.

"But no other party can do what Umno once did, and must do again," the Kelantan prince concluded.

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