KJ John’s Comments on Bridget Welsh’s End of UMNO?

November 7, 2016

KJ John’s Comments on Bridget Welsh’s End of UMNO?


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I attended a book launch on the ‘The End of UMNO?’ because my good friend Saifuddin Abdullah wrote the foreword and invited me to be present. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, the veteran UMNO member and the best prime minister we never had gave the keynote address.

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The book has four chapters contributed by four authors, and edited by Bridget Welsh. Other chapters are by other equally renowned scholars; John Funston, Clive Kessler and James Chin. The chapters are good reading with titles like:

  • UMNO – From Hidup Melayu to Ketuanan Melayu
  • UMNO – Then, Now – and Always
  • From Ketuanan Melayu to Ketuanan Islam: UMNO and the Malaysian Chinese
  • Malaysia’s Fallen Hero: UMNO’s Weakening Political Legitimacy

It is a good political and truthful outsider view of the history of UMNO from its past to its natural and impending disastrous future. All speakers predicted the same fate to UMNO, similar to Japan and India with their politically and morally corrupt political parties of power, authority, and ultimate final loss of control.

Tengku Razaleigh’s thesis

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Given that this was only my second time hearing or being with Tengku Razaleigh; allow me to summarise his thesis because the UMNO leadership of the future needs to hear his complete argument; assuming they understand English.

In Tengku Razaleigh’s view, UMNO Baru started because the judges lacked wisdom; the High Court should have ordered regularisation of unregistered branches instead of declaring UMNO illegal. In his view also the original spirit of UMNO needs to be revived. UMNO Baru is not the UMNO of Onn Jaafar and the other such originalists.

Next he argued that the Conference of Rulers is still a relevant and significant part of both the Malaya and Malaysia Agreements. They are always a significant party and that singular constitutional amendment does not exclude them from their role as moral guardians of Malaysian Constitutionalism.

The UMNO Racists (Zahid Hamidi, Kerismuddin, Noah Omar, Khairy Jamaluddin, Jamal Ikan Bakar Yunos and Criminal Najib Razak)

The MPs also have a role and responsibility of their Oaths of Office; to uphold, protect and preserve the Federal Constitution by which they took their oath. All MPs hold this responsibility to uphold the constitution as their supreme loyalty; as per Oath of Office. Even UMNO’s Supreme Council cannot and should not overrule this truth. This moral role of all MPs and Royalty needs to be better institutionalised for assuming full and moral responsibility.

To his mind and heart, our constitutional democracy and supremacy of the Federal Constitution specifically took a beating because of the policy of privatisation. Allow me to quote his most caustic description of the Malaysian political and policy problem today:

“The privatised corporate power became the defining factor in moving the country ahead, and in the process, makes a mockery of the sanctity and supremacy of our constitution. What we need to realise is that the country is not a corporation. We cannot conflate the two; for this would place corporate power above the constitution and the people. The problem and controversy surrounding the 1MDB issue is a classic example of the conflation.”

I fully and totally agree and I am amused that to date the federal government and all her agents and agencies, whether the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), or Auditor-General, or Bank Negara Malaysia, could not observe this issue clearly to rectify the mess we are already sinking into. 1MDB is simply a bad example of such abuse of power.

Conflicts of interest as operating paradigm

The older UMNO fought for the interest of others. The Rulers-in-Council also did the same. They all agreed that race-based parties were needed and therefore included MCA and MIC with their concessions. The British agreed with all these with new Malayan leaders of that time.

But today’s UMNO is now corrupted to the core; by the spoils of corporatisation through privatisation. No agency is spared including the Federal Land Development Agency (Felda), which has a clear and specific bumiputra agenda; but who cares right? It has also become a mere means to get rich through appointees and players (crony capitalism and rentierism).

The abuse of governance of this nation-state was fully institutionalised when the president of UMNO and Prime Minister becomes also became the finance minister; 1MDB is only one small case in point.

The entire Finance Ministry is today a framework for “piratisation of public assets for private benefit”. In fact, today the entire nation and all her natural assets are up for grabs. Anyone who can is already doing this; all in the name of privatisation but which has become ‘piratisation’.

The cabinet as executive arm of governance appears to have lost its significance and meaning. For example, Act 355 is a major policy issue for the governance of this nation-state; apart from its abuse of the Federal Constitution. But, to the best of my knowledge, it was never presented to the executive branch of governance. How then can it be tabled in Parliament, or even placed on the agenda list; without a serious discussion at the cabinet? Are all ministers colluding then?

Tengku Razaleigh warned that the government cannot simply table issues and concerns, after support of the Umno supreme council. Such lack of transparency and abuse of good governance principles needs complete review to check the other arms of governance; including by the Conference of Rulers.

Therefore, Bersih

Given this ugly reality of the blatant abuse of governance today by most in authority, is it unreasonable for civil activists to mobilise Bersih? After all Bersih now only wants the following five claims:

  • Clean general elections
  • Clean governance
  • Strengthening parliamentary democracy
  • Embolden and enable Sabah and Sarawak
  • The right of peaceful protest by citizens

Are we really asking for much more than Tengku Razaleigh?

9 thoughts on “KJ John’s Comments on Bridget Welsh’s End of UMNO?

  1. Dr.K J John,

    Most of us have given up on Tengku Razaleigh, He is all talk. I expect more talk from him. He expects to be handed to be handed the premiership on a silver platter. And we know that will never happen. He is not in contention for the post. Zahid Hamidi, Hishamuddin Hussein and Khairy Jamaluddin are waiting in the wings for the job. –Din Merican

  2. 1. Contemporary Nigeria is a picture of how 1Malaysia will be like in the future

    2. Massive transfer of wealth and income (from natural resources and from the hard-working and tax-paying public) to the UMNO Baru-BN political-parasite class

  3. I would suggest a better title should be the end of Tanah Melayu. I have stronger suspicion in the next decade, Beijing, Washington, Putin, and Saudi would have more say to what is happening in Malaysia than any members of UMNOb as we move towards our 2020. Layuism has no re-course option now. There would be many more handsome Jonah than what anyone of us could handle. The Keris will only be waived at phantom made believe enemies of the Layu-layu. Rightways rhethoric would dictate what is being spelled out by our Finance Minister. If not, it would be the Jho-Low type. Tanah Melayu would be lucky if it is not grouped under a bigger generic name. Nonetheless, perhaps, all is not lost from such idea. Some, if not most people could indeed feel less miserable.

  4. So long there is financing available, UMNO will not crash. That is the real scare. Imagine a post-UMNO rule where financing is exhausted, its not just bankruptcy, its bankruptcy without recourse. Recovery is dehumanising, slavery, prostitution, human decency is the price of recovery..

  5. UMNO claim to have done a lot for the Malays. Can I ask how much money they have taken from us. And how much more will they take.

  6. No point crying over spilled milk. Do MM dares to rewrite the constitution similar to Indonesia or Philippines. Can MM promise the same in their election manifesto, surely nobody dares especially MM. We can only assume that the new administration will be honest and transparent if god willing.

  7. You are right Dino, Kuli is all talk. Probably with a few more shots of whiskey, more blah…blah could be elicited from his mouth. He does not know what hardship is all about ’cause he was brought up with a silver spoon. At least Kutty was brought up the hardway from a young Indian he had to fight and finally he succeeded in becoming a constitutional bumi. Don’t get me wrong, I am no supporter of Kutty. Think hard all my friends, it’s not about the end of UMNO. Now tt’s about the sovereignty of our beloved country. China do not come into the country with that much money without any ulterior motives.

    During my younger days, often I bumped into some Chinese nationals, impressed with my ability to communicate in Mandarin and English, they asked me why I wouldnt I want to go back to the motherland. I told them straight into their face: “this is my motherland – born and bred here”. Now I wonder, whether Jibro has any motherland to talk about in the near future. Of course many would take comfort that each time the Red Shirts shout “Balik Tongsan”, in the not too distant futures “Tongsan” would be just right at our doorsteps. These people just wouldn’t care about the country anymore. Australia stopped the sale of some farmland to the Chinese and also some power-lines in the country not too long ago for strategic reasons. Just why can’t we foresee what’s coming.

  8. The mission for all Malaysians is to save Malaysia from UMNO and the only way is to slaughter it at the next GE by not voting for it in a massive way. This appeal to people should come with a promise of a truly people’s government by a grand alliance of opposition parties. For this to succeed all should swallow the bitter pill. Yes – Mahathir should lead it and become the interim PM should this alliance win. He should remain as PM until he pushes for and secures a royal pardon for Anwar Ibrahim. Should this be given (within 1-2 years time?) Anwar should contest in a by-election to get elected as an MP. Thereafter Mahathir should resign paving the way for Anwar to become the PM. This option seems to carry the best hope to knock out Najib and UMNO and when you work the ground hearts out there is every chance of savouring the sweet smell of success.

    Isolate PAS. Except for winning a few seats in Kelantan, it will probably be wiped out elsewhere. There are some excellent young leaders in PKR and DAP. Their time will come post-Mahathir. In the interim, God willing, a handful of them should be absorbed in Mahathir’s government should he win in the next GE. He should also list out the programmes he would implement within the first 100 days of taking over power, if this happens.

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