|Umno comes under fire from Malays|
Malaysian dailies say Malay voters turned off by politicians' greed for power
KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA'S ruling party, Umno, has come under serious scrutiny and criticism from many Malays who say the supremacy of the race has been threatened by last Saturday's electoral results.
Greed among its members and their quest for power seem to have been key reasons for the 5 per cent swing in Malay votes away from the Barisan Nasional coalition in which Umno is the dominant party, say the critics.
'It is no longer the party struggle for bangsa, agama dan tanahair (nation, religion and country), the party slogan of the early years. That has taken a back seat,' wrote Mr Zainon Ahmad, political editor of the English-daily The Sun, in a commentary yesterday. 'It's the narrow individual struggle to amass wealth.'
He noted that some BN candidates lost simply because party workers refused to do their jobs when they did not get their cut of the party's campaign funds.
'Thus, many campaign posts had to be abandoned,' he wrote. 'For Umno, volunteerism is long gone.'
Professor Md Shukri Shuib, a lecturer with the college of law, government and international studies at Universiti Utara Malaysia, agreed. 'Umno leaders were engrossed with tenders, wealth and corruption issues, cronyism and weak leadership, outdated ideas and implementation of projects that did not have a positive impact on people,' he was quoted as saying in a commentary in Thursday's Utusan Malaysia.
'They must now think of their responsibility to the race above self, family and friends.'
Malay voters also no longer viewed Umno as their sole champion. That was reflected at the polls.
Political observer Abdul Rahim Abdul Rashid noted that Malays divided their votes between Umno, the conservative Parti Islam SeMalaysia, and the (PKR), which played the multiracial card in the election campaign.
'Chinese voters have long been unhappy with the treatment of non-Malays and they want the same rights and privileges and thus voted for the opposition,' he was quoted by Utusan Malaysia as saying. 'Unfortunately, the young Malay generation who are angry with the government also chose the opposition.'
Professor Mohd Zainul Fithri, vice-president of the Management and Science University, said: 'Voters no longer think about Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy).'
In the election, voters shifted their support from to the opposition 'as a sign of protest and not because the PKR is strong', he added.
'The BN and Umno suffered because there were too many leaders who were hungry for power. They forgot about service to the people.'
Utusan Malaysia's commentary warned: 'If Malay leaders do not take serious steps now, the future of bumiputera is under threat.'
It quoted Prof Abdul Rahim as saying: 'What worried us is that, when the power of Malays in is weak and can be easily toppled, the same thing might happen in areas with a Chinese majority in other states.'
Letters from readers published in the newspaper expressed similar sentiments.
'Personally, I would prefer that PAS rules Kedah and Kelantan because at least the dignity of the race and religion is safeguarded, ' wrote a reader Jasa.
Another reader wrote: 'There are many safer ways to voice unhappiness but not by taking this risk (of not voting for BN).
'Malays do not have anything to safeguard our dignity besides staying in power.'
Umno Women's deputy chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said in Utusan Malaysia yesterday that it was time for the BN to do some soul searching.
'I believe that not everyone rejects BN,' she said. 'They just want a check and balance and we should face all of that.'
From The straits times of
Daripada Abu Umarah iaitu al-Bara' bin 'Azib radhiallahu anhuma, katanya: "Kita semua diperintah oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk melakukan tujuh perkara, iaitu meninjau orang sakit, mengikuti janazah, menentasymitkan orang yang bersin, menolong orang yang lemah, membantu orang yang teraniaya, meratakan salam dan melaksanakan sumpah."