Sometimes I can’t understand Umno

Umno needs to walk the talk. If it wants to convince Malaysians that it is serious about reforms and that it respects the rights of Malaysians to free speech then Umno has to prove it. Talking alone is not enough. Unless you can demonstrate that you mean what you say then expect many voters to vote against you come the next general election.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

I can’t understand why Umno is making a big fuss regarding the foreign funding that Suaram, Bersih, Malaysiakini, and so on, are alleged to have received. Is it illegal for Malaysian organisations to receive money from overseas (or from local sources for that matter)? Organisations, especially NGOs, need donations and grants to survive. If not how would they operate?

I myself donate monthly to the cancer research institute and the seeing-eye dogs for the blind NGO (http://www.guidedogs.org.uk/) here in the UK. They stand on street corners and go door-to-door to sign people up as monthly donors. In fact, the dog I have adopted is called ‘Sparkle’ and it is being loaned to a blind person for a payment of just one pound.

Umno should demonstrate a bit of maturity and not treat everything as a political issue. Umno reminds me of the opposition supporters who question me as to where I get my funding from, as to who is sponsoring me, as to how I survive here in the UK, and whatnot. That is very childish — raising issues that are a non-issue. Umno should not reduce itself to this level.

The private jet that was loaned to the Pakatan Rakyat leaders is another issue that is silly. So a Malay businessman lent the opposition leaders the use of his jet — or he paid the cost to rent a private jet. Is that wrong?

The fact that the businessman does business in the Pakatan Rakyat ruled states should not be the excuse to turn this into an issue. You are just assuming that since this person is a businessman then there must be strings attached. That is malicious and mischievous. You are jumping to conclusions and are insinuating that one is considered guilty until proven innocent.

Again, Umno is acting like those Pakatan Rakyat supporters who questioned me about my friend’s yacht that I holidayed on in Phuket during the Christmas holidays last year. Actually, we had a meeting on that yacht and a few activists such as Haris Ibrahim also joined me a couple of days in Phuket. And that meeting was actually what resulted in me doing that NST interview on 1st January 2012.

Another thing that Umno is being silly about is regarding Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah’s statements. He has always demonstrated an independent spirit and has always spoken his mind. No doubt some of his statements and opinions may go against Barisan Nasional’s ‘party stand’. But then what Saifuddin said is very true and is mere coincidental that some of the things he says are what some people in Pakatan Rakyat are also saying.

But just because what he says is sometimes also what those in the opposition say does not mean he is a traitor, Trojan horse, mole, or whatever. As the Deputy Higher Education Minister, what he says is very important because the youth are Malaysia’s future. Hence it is very crucial that the youth are told the right things and who better to do that than the Deputy Education Minister himself, especially one from Umno?

Umno, which has been in power for more than half a century, should know this and, therefore, should allow its ministers some degree of independence. Umno cannot always expect its leaders to just toe the party line. When it is right the leaders must be allowed to say it is right and if it is wrong to say it is wrong.

Umno should prove to Malaysians that it is really interested in reforms and respects the rights of Malaysians to speak freely. Umno should not act like those in Pakatan Rakyat who are calling Nasharudin Mat Isa a Barisan Nasional agent, mole, Trojan horse, and whatnot, just because he speaks his mind and what he says does not go down well with the Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

Umno should know that the days when you vilify someone for expressing an opinion opposite to yours is long gone. Maybe some in the opposition still do that but this is forgivable since Pakatan Rakyat has not ruled Malaysia for more than 50 years like Umno has. Hence, while the opposition can be excused for being less tolerant or matured, there is no excuse for Umno to also be like that.

Umno needs to walk the talk. If it wants to convince Malaysians that it is serious about reforms and that it respects the rights of Malaysians to free speech then Umno has to prove it. Talking alone is not enough. Unless you can demonstrate that you mean what you say then expect many voters to vote against you come the next general election.

That is all I wish to say to Umno. If Umno does not wish to listen that is their problem. Then expect the voters to show you what they think of your hypocrisy when they next go to the polls. And if the people vote against you don’t get upset. You have only yourself to blame.