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Razaleigh, Anwar not traitors to Umno

Written By Syafrein Effendiuz on 23/09/04 | Khamis, September 23, 2004

Razaleigh, Anwar not traitors to Umno
Pak Pandir Baru

I refer to the speech by the Umno Youth head yesterday at the party’s AGM in which he said that traitors and turncoats should not be allowed to rejoin the party again for the harm they caused while they were out of the party.

Hishammuddin Hussein Onn, for all the legal qualifications, must have done poorly in history in school for he has forgotten that Umno has many anecdotes of those who challenged party incumbents for their posts but never did once were they branded traitors - or to be succinct, ‘derhaka pada party’.

Hishammuddin must have been a child when the late Sulaiman Palastine challenged his father for the president’s post and the prime ministership that goes with it.

The challenger was not branded a traitor and was not kicked out of the party and for that matter neither was Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah when he challenged the Umno presidency recently.

Razaleigh, in fact, was at one time forced out of Umno, not unlike Anwar Ibrahim. They did not leave the party on their own accord. They had to have a different political platform to fight for their political future with their ardent supporters.

Even the present prime minister had gone against the former premier once but eventually won the post due to good will and the fall of the heir apparent for reasons which historians will have to dwell upon later in life.

There is a fine line between going against the Umno president and going against the party. Umno’s constitution says that all party posts are up for grab during the annual general assembly and if one has the grassroots’ support of the delegates, it would not be consider traitorous to go against the incumbents.

Should Hishammuddin himself be considered a traitor for going against Zahid Hamidi during the power struggle turmoil of 1997? Hishammuddin should know that to be prime minister material, one should act like a statesman like his father and grandfather before him, men of principles who quit their seats without qualm when the tide was against them - unlike the immediate past president who held on for 22 long years.

Look around you Hishammuddin, the winds of change in favour of democracy are blowing in the winds and in India and Indonesia there have been a change of governments due to people getting fed up with the ruling elite holding on to the fort for too long.

Don’t think that the strong mandate the BN won in the last polls means that the people will again vote for the BN in the next general election. The political landscape has changed and if BN doesn’t change with it, it will be history.

Anwar, for whatever his weaknesses, fought for the party posts he aspired to. Can the same thing be said about you, Hishammuddin, who breezed into your post without being challenged?

Remember history’s record of children taking over their father political office such as Benazir Bhutto and Indira Gandhi. They are all history now and have just been joined by Megawati Sukarnoputri. [http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/30258]