Has UMNO from a party of independence fighters become a party of kleptocrats?

Has UMNO from a party of independence fighters become a party of kleptocrats?

An UMNO-watcher observed: “In the early days of UMNO, it would be difficult to find a millionaire among UMNO division leaders. After over six decades of Independence, it would be difficult to find an UMNO division leader who is not a millionaire.”

The fifth UMNO President believed that UMNO is beyond redemption. He said UMNO is totally corrupt and the conviction and sentence of Najib Razak for embezzling public funds in the mega 1MDB scandal isn’t likely to cleanse the party.

Is the fifth UMNO President right that UMNO is beyond saving and that the only way to end the corruption perpetrated by UMNO leaders is to kill UMNO off entirely?

The 15th General Election will decide whether UMNO can cease to be a party of kleptocrats and whether Malaysia will continue in the trajectory of a kleptocracy.

Up to now, neither UMNO nor any major UMNO leader has ever condemned the RM50 billion 1MDB financial scandal or the string of mega scandals which plague the country.

UMNO has so changed in character that the first four UMNO Presidents, Onn Jaafar, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Razak Hussein and Hussein Onn, will not be able to recognise or endorse it if they are alive today.

None of them would have countenanced Malaysia becoming a kleptocracy with it infamy world-wide, let alone “kleptocracy at its worst”.

Tun Razak is famous for the “swimming pool” story told by his youngest son, Nazir Razak, who asked his children: “How would it look if the Prime Minister spent public money on building a swimming pool for his family”?

In 1979, at the UMNO General Assembly, Hussein Onn warned that Malaysia will be destroyed if its leaders are “dishonest, untrustworthy and corrupt” and expressed the hope that the Bank Rakyat scandal would be a “bitter lesson to other government institutions and agencies including companies and subsidiaries set up by the Government”.

Hussein Onn was right and UMNO is being destroyed and destroying the nation by having “dishonest, untrustworthy and corrupt” leaders for 30 years later, a RM100 million Bank Rakyat had ballooned 50 times to become a RM50 billion 1MDB scandal!

Can UMNO be saved to ensure that Malaysia can be saved?

Or UMNO cannot be saved but Malaysia can be saved!

Or have we reached the tragic position that both UMNO and Malaysia cannot be saved?

I do not believe in the last proposition for the past two weeks testified to the truth of the saying that hope springs eternal in the human breast.

Very few expected the 14th General Election to topple the UMNO-BN government and until the late afternoon of Polling Day on May 9, 2018, Najib Razak was expecting not only a big win for UMNO-BN but to regain two-thirds parliamentary majority UNNO-BN lost in the 12th General Election in 2008.

But May 9, 2018 surprised everyone, to the extent that even those who doubted that the UMNO-BN political hegemony could be ended in the 14th General Election have convinced themselves that they had expected the UMNO-BN government to be toppled on that day.

Those who had dared to dream, hope and acted, like those from the world-wide Malaysian Diaspora, whether Singapore, London, New York, Los Angeles, Montreal, Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington, Auckland had not acted in vain to ensure that their single vote was counted or the 1MDB scandal and other scandals like the latest RM9 billion littoral combatant ships (LCS) scandal would remain buried.

We must thank the 5.6 million voters who voted for Pakatan Harapan in the 14th General Election for exposing the 1MDB scandal and other mega scandals but we made the big mistake of not realising that what we did on May 9, 2018 was only the first step of a long struggle to make Malaysia a world-class great nation.

Are Malaysians prepared to continue the campaign started on May 9, 2018, and sabotaged by Sheraton Move conspiracy 22 months later, to continue the reform struggle until we succeed in making Malaysia a world-class great nation?

Zahid Hamidi has argued that UMNO-BN would lose the upcoming 15th General Election (GE) if it is not held within the next few months.

I say that UMNO-BN would lose the 15GE if held within the next few months if UMNO cannot convince the voters that it has changed and is no more a party of kleptocrats.

Zahid is right that there in only one cluster in charge in UMNO – the “court cluster” – whose sole interest is to free the corrupt leaders in UMNO from various corruption charges levelled against them, instead of freeing UMNO and the country from kleptocracy.

Zahid is only confirming that UMNO has drastically changed character from its founding days and deviated from the struggles and sacrifices of its founding fathers by becoming a party of kleptocrats.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri