Saturday, 05 April 2008
(Bernama) -- Gua Musang Umno division chief Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah today proposed three major changes in Umno to consolidate its position and ensure the party remained relevant to the current political climate.
Tengku Razaleigh, who is also Gua Musang member of parliament, said among the early steps that Umno could take was to abolish the quota system for the nomination for party posts, thus bringing genuine democracy into the party.
Umno should also be the party which controlled the government, he said, adding that party members who held government posts should not become more powerful than the party.
"It's the party which should control, monitor and evaluate the performance (of the office holders).
"If they implement policies which are against the policies of the party, then they can be questioned by the Umno Supreme Council," he said when opening the Gua Musang Umno special delegates' meeting in Bukit Cekati here, attended by more than 2,000 party leaders and members as well as observers.
A total of 423 delegates from 191 Umno branches in Gua Musang attended the meeting to pass a motion, asking the Umno Supreme Council to convene a special assembly to discuss party direction after the March 8 general election.
Tengku Razaleigh said it was only logical that Umno leaders, who held posts in the government, be subjected to party scrutiny.
"The prime minister, his deputy and ministers from Umno will not be holding the posts if they are not chosen by the party to be the president and deputy president, and elected by the rakyat," he said.
The second changes proposed by Tengku Razaleigh was on party policies and vision, which he said, should transcend racial boundaries.
Tengku Razaleigh said however, that this did not mean that the party should abandon its original struggle.
On the contrary, Umno's original struggle in defending the nation, religion as well as the Malay language and culture, should continue, he said.
However, in terms of the struggle for better economic and social development as well as education opportunities, he said, Umno should present itself as the party that represented the interest of all.
"We want Umno to be a supra-ethnic party, a national party which is fair to all, irrespective of race, but remained dedicated to defending its traditional vision.
"...which is to defend the nation from political, economic, ideological and cultural colonialism.
"(A party) that defends the Malay language as the country's official and national language, and a party that defends Islam as the religion of the federation.
This policy will not affect the rights and interest of other races," he said.
He also said there were several faces of Umno at the moment, including the face of a party that was no longer defending the Malay heritage.
The party, said Tengku Razaleigh, was seen to have ignored the Malay language, the Malay culture and the Malay economy, and was lacking in its commitment to safeguard the 700-year-old Malay royal institution.
He said the non-Malays saw Umno as fighting only for the interest of the Malays without regards for the interest of others.
Umno's image, he said, was also tainted with allegations of corruption, of the rich making it to the top and the poor remaining at the bottom, and of being a party "infested with crocodiles that are bent on swallowing government projects without regards for the rights of the poor."
He said: "This image is despised by all, not only by the Malays but also by the non-Malays. This must change. Umno should gain the trust not only among the Malays but also the non-Malays."
The third change proposed by Tengku Razaleigh was related to the conduct and behaviour of party members.
He said in the last election, there were Umno candidates who were arrogant and snobbish.
"In the end, we ended up performing very much worse than in the 2004 election, not because Umno policies were bad but because these people smeared the image of the party," he said.