Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Umno... part 2

Like any other members, I love Umno. No doubt about it. Even without the exposure given since I was 5, I would opt for Umno for its mediocrity in attending to our multiracial society. Yes, there were major crisis hitting the party but it took just a while for partisans to reconcile and go back to square one.

I was offered a position in the Youth wing for Masjid Tanah division in 1987, thanks to a close aide of Rahim Tambychik. However, I declined for two simple reasons. First, I was residing in Kuala Lumpur and only went back once or twice a month; and secondly, I didn't have the money to move my politics. So, it was better to help the party from the sideline.

I am of the opinion that a candidate for any divisional position must me chosen among those who resides, works and moves actively within his division. He has to be popular among the constituents for his personal character - a heart winner, humble and easy to access. He has to be a person who has the will to listen and find outlets to domestic problems, someone whom the grass root members can trust and confide.

At that time, few journalists made it successful in politics. My seniors, Ruhanie Ahmad or Ron and Ashaari Ibrahim were among them. Some also tried but faltered.

It is not practical having someone who works in KL or Penang to become our branch and division head, unless the members agree to it. In most cases, grass root members would not allow such a practice, especially when the office bearer is someone they don't know and not familiar with.

During the 2007 party election, I was an observer to votings at my branch. A prominent Datuk who resides and works in KL was booted in his first attempt to lead the branch although he was born and brought up in our kampung. However, he got a job in KL and seldom make it 'home' after that. My kampung buddies finally chose a primary school teacher for the post.

Since Dr Mahathir became prime minister in 1981, Umno 'regulated' another provision - that those who want to contest any party positions must be qualified professionals, i.e doctor, lawyer, engineer, accountant, etc. It didn't matter if they are close or not to their constituents and it was not important if the members like him or not.

If the members refused to endorse him, someone from the Supreme Council or the Chief Minister's rep will come down to convince them that the State's leadership was giving them the right division leader, and as such they must support him. And when he won the State or Parliamentary seat in the general election, he 'disappeared' for good.

And so, you need some money for politics. Enough or not, any amount has to suffice. A Terengganu politician whom I helped campaign for a Supreme Council seat in the early 1990s, failed to make it because he only got RM1,200 in his pocket. How much do you expect a general assembly's delegate ask? However, he made it at the next party election.

I have seen money changing hands at the PWTC, Pan Pacific and other hotels each time Umno held its election. Former Bernama editor-in-chief Jaafar Hussein and NST reporter, the late Azran Aziz were once offered cash and a wrist watch to usher some delegates to certain hotel rooms. If not for Datuk Jef's warning that we could face the music, I would have taken that RM5,000 'upah'.

As a journalist, I was bound to travel throughout the country for various assignments. One of the usual thing I liked to do after every Umno general assembly was to take a few days leave to conduct a 'grass root survey' in some chosen areas. My common question to them is - how has the party general assembly and election affected them? We will come to this part in my final (part 3) posting on Friday.

The general assembly is when politicians become so chummy with reporters and members of the media. Umno general assembly often becomes a beano for some opportunists. Each and every Umno leader and delegate attending it will look like a grandee. Everybody wants to show off something, if not in their long and bric-a-brac' speech, at least in their attire and their cars.

When Dr Mahathir was deputy prime minister (I was already in college), I did follow my uncle to an Umno general assembly at Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP). He was not a delegate but as a member eager to watch the proceedings. Not many cars were parked in that area as most delegates took the public transport. Speeches were centered at efforts to uplift the Malays' standing, economically and socially. No rhetoric, no unduly sycophant speeches.

Compared to the present time, speeches are deemed not complete without rhetoric, bombastic words, hadith and a 5 to 10 minutes 'full of praise and support' for the party's top leadership, namely the president, deputy president and the three vice presidents. The delegates chosen to speak or enter a debate too will try to impress others, notably the leaders, with their well-colored-sweetened words.

After covering and attending dozens of Umno general assemblies, I can't recall anybody praising the grass root members for choosing and staying with Umno... or at least a simple attribution for their support all this while!

to be continued...


Tini Hashim said...

'I can't recall anybody praising the grass root members for choosing and staying with Umno... or at least a simple attribution for their support all this while!'

Terima kasih diatas kenyataan saudara.Saya harap Pemimpin diatas jangan leka dalam bekerja dan harus senantiasa ingat hakikatnya UMNO itu dibina atas suara dan semangat berjuta rakyat yang mendokong mereka,benar,Gelombang luar itu bahaya tetapi riak Tsunami didalam UMNO jika tidak dijaga akan meruntuhkan kerajaan yang ada.Jika ada Pemimpin yang menjadi kebencian Bangsa,menghina Agama,mengadai Negara,kami didalam sebagai rakyat UMNO takkan biarkan mereka terus berleluasa.Kerana pejuangan kami bukan kerana nama,harta dan kuasa tetapi kerana cintakan bangsa,agama dan negara.
Terima kasih sekali lagi saudara kerana menbuat kenyataan ini..

andi said...

to delegates if you read this blog take note bro...this piece is offering the way to take heart of grass roots...

DAS, ampang said...


saya ada tinggalkan pesanan dalam e-mel sdr. harap baca dan respon segera.

ia mengenai apa yang sdr tulis.

t kasih

masih di BH said...

jai, memang bagus tulisan kau ni. aku harap kau tulis buku je, cari sponsor, at least something. aku sokong je... hehehe!

Anonymous said...

of course we need money for politics. those without money will lose out.

trust me. look at how the umno people, especially in pemuda, wanita and majlis tertinggi move around with their luxury cars, how the spend and who are they with.

if politics dont bring them money, they wont step into it!

clarke gable said...

the general assembly is only to voice out this plan, that strategy and various plans to help the malays... but nothing happens after that.

it is also a platform to lash out at the opposition.

gone are the days when any resolution taken at the umno general assembly were translated into reality. tun m's era was the last to confirm their promises

Anonymous said...

i read a comment about tun ghafar died as a poor leader. i agree.

he is a true statesman!

penangan said...


saya setuju bahawa tanpa wang, tidak ada siapa sanggup bergerak dalam politik hari ini, berbanding zaman sebelum dan selepas merdeka.

apa yang pasti, politik hari ini lebih menjurus kepada perebutan kuasa dan mencari wang. ucapan dan ungkapan membela rakyat hanya retorik dan melepaskan batuk di tangga saja.

jurusistem said...


i think people like u should be given a space to talk at the general assembly.

or at least, umno leadership should employ people like u to form a special team to deal with the grassroot members.

time is running out for umno...

Anonymous said...

jai, kita sebagai ahli biasa umno ni cuma macam anjing menyalak bukit je. takda siapa yang sudi dengar. kalau diajukan kepada wakil rakyat pun, belum tentu suara kita sampai di peringkat atasan.

jadi, melayu ni akan terus hidup macam ni jika umno enggan mendengar suara dari bawah.

bujai said...

kepada tini hashim,

terima kasih atas komen yang jujur.


kilat said...

akan relevankah umno dalam tempoh 10-15 tahun akan datang jika pendekatan yang digunakan sekarang masih tidak berubah?

ahli umno peringkat bawahan adalah aset penting parti. tanpa mereka, maka tiadalah umno dan tiadalah pemimpinnya.

ahlilah yang lebih banyak berjuang untuk parti daripada pemimpin... fikir-fikirkanlah!

laman seni said...


elok tulis panjang sikit. mungkin akan ada pihak yang nak taja kau buat buku, insya-allah.

ia baik untuk umno dan melayu...

Anonymous said...

kalau sumbangan ahli tidak dihargai, alamat musnahlah umno suatu hari nanti!

bekas ahli said...


saya meninggalkan umno lebih kurang 8 tahun lalu, bukan kerana bencikan umno tetapi bosan dengan karenah ketua bahagian dan timb ketua bahagian yang berpuak-puak dalam merebut jawatan, kedudukan dan projek.

beginikah umno?

Anonymous said...


one of the best jottings about umno i have read.

suitable for a simple book... pls consider!

pro-PKR said...


sebab itulah orang melayu perlu masuk pkr.


hidup PKR!

AkaZukii ChaCha said...


Artikel yang jujur dan sangat baik pengolahannya. Sama seperti mereka yang lain, harap ada pemimpin UMNO yang membaca dan mengambil kira pandangan saudara.

Daripada pengalaman saya sendiri yang tak seberapa, seperti juga saudara - membesar dengan UMNO, arwah atuk saudara saya dahulu seangkatan dengan pemimpin2 UMNO - selalu beliau katakan perbezaan semangat perjuangan pemimpin UMNO dahulu dan sekarang.

Politics has got so much to do with perceptions, and the perceptions with the people now is that the party not doing much to champion Malay issues - all said are merely rhetoric, wooing votes - most got into UMNO for money and that is a fact.

A cousin brother I know of is doing swell in the UMNO youth now so much so when I covered the assembly last 2 years, I bumped into him and was surprised when the people there called him 'Datuk'. I was like "wow, UMNO is really doing him good - first the money, big houses, big cars (he got 2 mercs S-class which is a huge deal for someone like him with no education except SRP and was a mere kampong boy) and now a Datuk". And he is not even a division leader. Wonder what he will have if he is one.

And no, not that i am not happy for his successes; is good thing he for him and he has been helping back (mostly)to his kampong folks e.g. hire some of the drop outs to be his driver or PA, give contributions every once awhile to the society and JKKK.

BUT yes that was during his initial involvement, now that he is a Datuk, his priority sets for bigger thing, not to mention eyes-set for other ladies (ah, typical male politician is it not?)

Bottomline - UMNO is bringing in some big bucks for a selected few.This cousin brother of mine- one of the many examples-he's got quite a few 'projects' to handle and his 'rise' in politics was merely because he was tailing the 'right' people - and for his loyalty he's given a place.

Other than enriching one self, these politicians merely talking the talk but ain't walking 'em.

BUT i may be wrong.

Anonymous said...

dulu lain, sekarang lain.

zaman sekarang, nak masuk politik perlu kaya, perlu ada duit. ahli pun mahukan orang yang berduit jadi pemimpin. kalau yang takda duit, setakat air liur je, nak buat apa.

inilah melayu hari ini.

dondang sayang said...

ahli umno tidak perlukan retorik perhimpunan agung, mereka lebih perlukan perhatian kepada masalah peringkat bawahan yang jarang ingin diambil tahu oleh pucuk pimpinan.

pokok getah tua said...

bukan umno yang perlu berubah tetapi pemimpinnya di setiap peringkat...

setakat nak ubah umno, takda maknanya kepada ahli akar umbi kalau pemimpin tidak berubah langsung!

Anonymous said...

Sdra Jai,

Saya bekas pelajar ITM 1981-1984. Saya tak pasti sama ada sdra bekas pelajar ITM Mass Comm atau bukan. Tujuan saya menulis nota ini adalah untuk meminjam ruangan sdra bagi menghebahkan tentang kewujudan sebuah buku berjudul 'Selagi Hayat Dikandung Badan Lembaran Perjuangan' yang telah ditulis oleh saya dan rakan-rakan: Zakaria Ibrahim, Yusri Ramli dan Sabaruddin Hussein. Sempena pelancaran buku ini di Dewan Tunku Canselor, Universiti Malaya pada 22 November 2011 oleh Tun Dr Mahathir, kami turut menganjurkan satu simposium yang melibatkan pembentangan kertas kerja oleh dua orang pakar sejarah negara pada sebelah pagi, diikuti dengan ucapan oleh Tun Dr Mahathir sendiri.

Sambutannya tidak berapa menggalakkan, tetapi yang lebih dikesalkan, wakil media berbahasa Melayu hanya diwakili oleh Utusan sahaja. Ini sungguh pelik kerana biasanya, setiap majlis yang ada Tun Dr Mahathir, media pasti datang membuat liputan, lebih-lebih lagi buku ini adalah mengenai sejarah orang Melayu.

Pihak yang sepatutnya mengendalikan hal ehwal media telah tidak menjalankan tugas dan saya rasa ini satu perbuatan sabotaj terancang. (saya telah menyiasat perkara ini dengan bertanya sendiri kepada rakan saya di Berita Harian yang tidak mendapat berita/undangan mengenai majlis tersebut daripada pihak yang bersetuju membahagi tugas mengendalikan perhubungan media)

Oleh itu, saya ingin meminta jasa baik sdra membantu saya menghebahkan kewujudan buku ini yang boleh dibeli di MPH, Popular dan Kinokuniya. Majlis pelancaran buku serta pembentangan kertas kerja tersebut kini boleh dilihat di You Tube Video dengan menaip Selagi Hayat Dikandung Badan Lembaran Perjuangan.

Untuk maklumat Sdra, Tan Sri Arshad Ayub (Bekas Pengarah ITM) telah memborong 50 naskhah untuk diberikan sebagai hadiah kepada rakan-rakan beliau.

Please browse through and I am contactable at Thanking you in advance. Sidang Penulis Alaf Baru