Is Zahid nuts?

The question everyone is asking after the UMNO President, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi’s speech at the Ipoh Barat UMNO Division yesterday is: “Is Zahid nuts?”

Zahid was very macho and exclaimed that UMNO’s opponents will have to cross the dead bodies of its party members if they want to try and dissolve the party.

In my 53 years in politics, which involved two imprisonment under the Internal Security Act, dragged to court for a variety of charges including under the Official Secrets Acts, and being the victim of the worst and longest, and continuing, demonization campaign against any politician in the nation’s history, the thought of the dissolution of UMNO had never crossed my mind.

In fact, the thought of dissolution of other political parties, like MCA, MIC and Gerakan, had never entered my mind.

If I had never entertained the thought of the dissolution of marginal parties like MCA, MIC or Gerakan, why should I have thought about the dissolution of UMNO?

Why am I saying these things?

Very simple. Zahid and other proponents of klepto-theocracy had accused Mahathir of being my stooge and that I am the puppet-master.

Zahid said he had met Mahathir last year, who reportedly told him to dissolve Umno as it no longer represented the Umno that was.

Was Zahid’s account true?

If Zahid is right that Mahathir is my stooge, I must protest when I next meet Mahathir and ask why he suggested UMNO’s dissolution when such a notion had never entered my mind!

But Zahid’s colourful language hides a very misleading reality, that the UMNO that he leads is a political party which the first four Presidents of UMNO, Datuk Onn Jaffar, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn would have found totally unrecognisable.

Onn left UMNO on an issue of principle, when his call to UMNO to open its door to all races was rejected. Tunku Abdul Rahman sold his house in Penang to fund the running of UMNO. Tun Razak berated his children for wanting a swimming pool to be built at Seri Taman, the Prime Minister’s residence while Tun Hussein Onn is famed for his integrity and meticulousness.

It is completely unthinkable that anyone of these four Presidents of UMNO would have been hauled to court whether for 42 or 87 charges of corruption, abuses of power and money-laundering – and this fact alone shows that UMNO under Zahid is a very different UMNO under Onn, Tunku, Razak and Hussein..

Talk about crossing their dead bodies before any talk of dissolution – but where to find these “dead bodies” if the UMNO President, his immediate predecessor and other UMNO bigwigs are sharing cells in Sungai Buloh Prison?

What is most meaningful is the fact that Zahid as the present UMNO President is not prepared to declare that klepto-theocracy or the misuse of Islam to support thievery, corruption, intolerance, bigotry, lies and falsehood is totally against the Malaysian Dream to unite Malaysians to build a top world-class nation respected and admired by the world!

I do not think that apart from his immediate predecessor as UMNO President, all the past UMNO Presidents would have any qualm in condemning any misuse of Islam or religion to peddle lies, falsehoods, intolerance, bigotry and hatred as well as to support thievery and corruption.

This is the difference of UMNO today from that of UMNO yesterday.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri