HISTORY’S LESSON:REPAIRING THE SOUL OF THE EMPIRE CALLED UMNO

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Raja Petra Kamarudin
PM: Don’t change historical facts
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has reminded the people not to change historical facts or to glorify the communist terrorists.
He said the communist terrorists in the past era were certainly cruel and the people were in their grips as their ideology did not favour the people. They were anti-religion and despotic, he said.
“That was why we opposed the communists at that time because they were behaving cruelly in this country,” he said at the Malaysia Aidilfitri-Merdeka 2011 open house on Sunday.
Najib said the communists at that time were different from the present communism because in the past, the communists did not give the people the right to be wealthy.
“The present communism is different from the past. Previously, they wanted to control the country and spread the ideology which did not give the people their rights.
“We are friendly with communist countries now because they have discarded their old ideology,” he said.
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In 1915, Tan Cheng Lock launched the Straits Chinese British Association (SCBA) and became its first President. In 1923, he was appointed a member of the Legislative Council of the Straits Settlements. In 1926, Cheng Lock made history by delivering a speech to the Council about the ideals of a territorially and politically united Malaya.
Cheng Lock spent the war years in exile in India during WWII. In 1949, together with Tun Leong Yew Koh and Colonel H. S. Lee, he launched the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA).
Under Cheng Lock’s leadership, MCA engaged with senior Malay leaders from UMNO (which was formed earlier in 1946) such as Datuk Onn Jaafar and Tunku Abdul Rahman. Cheng Lock also joined the All-Malaya Council of Joint Action (AMCJA) and became its Chairman.
Many informal meetings were held between Onn Jaafar, Cheng Lock, and E.E.C. Thuraisingham (who represented the Indians), which resulted in the formation of the Communities Liaison Committee (CLC).
The CLC became the platform for hammering out proposals and compromises on a number of issues that included citizenship, education, democracy, and in resolving the deadlock on Ketuanan Melayu.
It was eventually decided that an ‘agreement’ would be forged between the Malays and non-Malays. In return for giving up Ketuanan Melayu (the Malays’ special position), the Malays would receive assistance from the non-Malays in closing the economic gap between the impoverished and overwhelmingly rural Malays with the substantially better off and urban non-Malays.
Thuraisingham later said, “It is true. I and others believed that the backward Malays should be given a better deal. Malays should be assisted to attain parity with non-Malays to forge a united Malayan Nation of equals.”
In 1946, the British tried to implement the Malayan Union. That was when and the reason why UMNO was formed, to oppose the Malayan Union.
That same year, the Malayan Democratic Union (MDU) sponsored a meeting in Singapore to “provide the machinery for the various communities, through their organisations and associations, to reach agreement on all points connected with the future constitution of Malaya, thus avoiding the dangers of separated and self-interested representation.”
Ahmad Boestamam and Musa Ahmad of the Malay Nationalist Party led the formation of Pusat Tenaga Ra’ayat (PUTERA), which later included the non-Malays to become the PUTERA-AMCJA.
PUTERA-AMCJA was the first platform for the fight for Merdeka. In 1947, the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce (ACCC) together with PUTERA-AMCJA supported a nation-wide strike called the All Malaya Hartal with an aim to pressure the British into discussing Merdeka.
The Hartal, modelled after the one organised by Gandhi in India, was very successful. UMNO, however, opposed the Hartal and organised counter demonstrations in many parts of Malaya. UMNO was basically pro-British.
In 1948, the plan for the Malayan Union was replaced with the Federation of Malaya. The Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), who opposed the Federation and wanted self-rule or Merdeka, decided to launch an armed rebellion. With that ended the PUTERA-AMCJA and the Emergency was declared.
The British realised that Merdeka was inevitable. But they refused to talk to the CPM, Malay Nationalist Party, Malayan Democratic Union or PUTERA-AMCJA. The British felt that British interests in Malaya (which contributed to about a third of Britain’s economy) would be better protected with an UMNO-led government heading an independent Malaya.
One important point to note is that the CPM insurrection was very costly for the British who were almost bankrupted by the war. This made it necessary for them to quickly resolve the issue of Merdeka. In that sense, the CPM helped accelerate Merdeka and it assisted UMNO in its negotiations with the British.
Those who opposed UMNO were rounded up and detained by the British. Those, like Mustapha Hussein, who joined UMNO, were spared arrest. Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Razak Hussein, however, were not only not arrested but were allowed to tour the length and breadth of Malaya to speak at ceramahs in their fight for Merdeka.
It was clear that the British were assisting UMNO in its fight for Merdeka.
Datuk Andika, who died in Kuala Terengganu at the age of 100 a few years ago, was the Assistant District Officer of Dungun around that era. He formed UMNO in Terengganu soon after meeting Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Razak in Kuantan.
Datuk Andika told me he was encouraged by the British to join UMNO and his boss, the District Officer, not only gave him leave to campaign for UMNO but he was also given financial support by the British.

Mountbatten, as governor general, and Nehru, as prime minister, did not let Pakistan seize by armed force what should have been negotiated over a table. They ensured the legality of the Indian response to aggression through the instrument of accession and then supervised the Indian Army action that drove the invaders out of most of Kashmir.

Would we remember August 15 if it were not a holiday? Admit it: most of us are feeling vaguely cheated that it falls on a Sunday this year. Its rituals have fallen flat, tripped by boredom and repetition.

A more interesting question: did we actually become independent on August 15, 1947? No. This truth has been carefully screened behind a mist of sentiment and the symbolism of the rising tricolour on a pole where once flew the Union Jack. What we got in 1947 was dominion status, under the Government of India Act of 1935, amended by the British Parliament in 1947 to create two dominions instead of one. At the apex of their polity, India and Pakistan would have a governor general, appointed by the British monarch in consultation with Delhi and Karachi.

Jawaharlal Nehru, with commendable foresight, asked the last viceroy, Mountbatten, to continue, and gave him a role in the executive as chairman of the Cabinet’s defence committee. This was hard-headed, not sentimental, since the commanders of the Indian armed services were British, as were senior officers: transition would take time. This single decision would pay historic dividends in Jammu and Kashmir. Mountbatten wanted to be named governor general of Pakistan as well, but Jinnah chose to become Pakistan’s first British appointment, rather than his country’s first prime minister.

India became a sovereign nation on January 26, 1950 when it adopted a Constitution and held an election that gave India its first adult franchise government. In Pakistan, there was much squalid politics, with governments being dismissed arbitrarily, before it got a Constitution in 1956, soon usurped by a military coup. Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, united Bengal’s last premier and the law minister who piloted the Constitution through the assembly, tells an amusing story in his memoirs. In May 1953, Governor General Ghulam Mohammad, dismissed Pakistan’s first Bengali prime minister, Khwaja Nazimuddin, just after he had proved his majority in the legislature, apparently because Nazimuddin was about to reduce the strength of the army by 30,000 men. Ghulam Mohammad took care to cut Nazimuddin’s telephone line to prevent him from appealing to Queen Elizabeth for a reversal of the dismissal. Such action would have been within her legal rights.

Do these anachronisms of history matter?

They matter so much that blood is still being spilt in Jammu and Kashmir.
Partition divided India and Pakistan in 1947, but did not resolve the status of the two largest princely states, Kashmir and Hyderabad. The Hindu maharaja of Muslim-majority Kashmir and the Muslim Nizam of Hindu-majority Hyderabad thought, for reasons they never made very clear, that they could remain independent. A little after Partition, Nehru wrote to Mountbatten that the best time for discussions on the future of Kashmir would be after the spring thaw of 1948 since his government was overburdened by the bitter aftermath of riots and resettlement.

Pakistan pre-empted a peaceful settlement in 1948 by organizing an invasion thinly disguised as an “uprising”, in October 1946. If Pakistan had not sought to seize Kashmir through war, the Kashmir problem would have been resolved across a table in 1948. The Act granting dominion status to India and Pakistan did not envisage independence for any princely state. Britain still had a legitimate presence on the subcontinent.

Mountbatten, as governor general, and Nehru, as prime minister, did not let Pakistan seize by armed force what should have been negotiated over a table. They ensured the legality of the Indian response to aggression through the instrument of accession and then supervised the Indian Army action that drove the invaders out of most of Kashmir.

When, in response, Jinnah ordered the Pakistan army to join the war, he discovered the limitations of his power in a dominion. Acting chief of the Pakistan army, General Sir Douglas Gracey refused to take orders from Jinnah. His army joined the war only in the spring of 1948, after a quiet nod from London.

Mountbatten was, of course, also the man who pushed Nehru into referring Kashmir to the United Nations. It is ironical that his reputation is now stained on both sides of the border. In Pakistan, he is vilified as the biased viceroy who favoured Nehru’s India for public and personal reasons; in India, he is the UN-villain. Such was the fate of do-gooders whose best intentions were a trifle out of step with reality. The Kashmir story has now moved beyond the UN, plebiscites and even the India-Pakistan war. War solved nothing and wrought nothing but misery in 1947; it can only inflict havoc today. There is only one lesson, if indeed anyone has time for history’s moral science. The war that Pakistan began is a recipe for disaster; the negotiations that Nehru and Mountbatten wanted are still the only option.

 PAS today put Umno in the hot seat over remarks made by the National Professors’ Council (MPN), which claimed that Malaysia was never colonised by the British.

Professor Datuk Dr Zainal Kling, who was representing the MPN, had said in a statementrecently that Malaysia had never been colonised by the British prior to Merdeka and had only been a protectorate of the British Empire.
The MPN said that although the British had then governed Malaya, it had remained sovereign under the Malay rulers.
Malaya later joined together with Singapore, Sabah, and Sarawak to form Malaysia in 1963. Singapore was subsequently expelled in 1965.
“Umno has to state its stand regarding the remarks made by the MPN. Do they support it or are against it?
“Umno has not said anything regarding whether Malaysia was colonised. We dare Umno to state its stand. If it is true this country was never colonised, we should cancel Warriors Day (Hari Pahlawan) this September 16,” PAS information chief Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man told The Malaysian Insider.
The PAS leader said MPN’s statement brought about serious “general” and “academic” implications, and that the onus was on Umno to respond given its position as the lynchpin of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition,
“The people await the response… it will be irresponsible for them to remain silent,” added Tuan Ibrahim.
The current furore over Malaysia’s history first started when Utusan Malaysia alleged that PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu had said on August 27 that the communists who attacked the Bukit Kepong police station during the pre-Merdeka insurgency were heroes. The Umno-owned daily reported that Mohamad made the remarks at a political ceramah in Tasek Gelugor, Penang, on August 21.
During the Emergency (1948-1960), communist insurgents had attacked the Bukit Kepong police station on February 23, 1950 while the country was still under British rule.
The Malay daily also stated that the PAS leader said the country’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and Umno’s first president Datuk Onn Jaafar were not freedom fighters.
Mohamad has since said he will file a suit on Monday against Utusan Malaysia over its report of his ceramah last month that touched on the Bukit Kepong tragedy.
His 24-hour ultimatum for an apology from the Umno-owned Malay-language daily expired two days ago.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said Malaysian history as currently taught in schools was inaccurate, claiming that it failed to provide proper context of the country’s fight for independence.

“Many from the younger generation do not understand history and the origin of the nation, as there were attempts to alter historical facts into fantasy,” the former prime minister was quoted as saying in a Bernama Online report today.
The subject of local history became a hot topic after Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia alleged that PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu had said on August 27 that the communists who attacked the Bukit Kepong police station during the pre-Merdeka insurgency were heroes.
National Professors’ Council (MPN) has taken the debate further by claiming that Malaya, the precursor to Malaysia, was never colonised by the British Empire and had merely been a protectorate.
Today, Dr Mahathir urged the government ensure that historical accuracy be given priority over political expedience.
“The government needs to focus on what really transpired so that writings on the country’s history would not be influenced by current political interests… History is all about what had happened, and we cannot change that… whatever happened in the past, had happened,” said Dr Mahathir.
Last week, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin said the current History syllabus in schools was in need of review.
Anyone following the Umno vs Mat Sabu debacle may be a little confused as to why the PAS leader glorified the Communists as reported byUtusan Daily, whom he is  about to sue for twisting his words.
Contrary to the historical perception shaped by 5 decades of BN hegemony, the Communists did play a role as freedom fighters in the country against the British Occupation. This debacle has caused a furore among army and police veterans whose forefathers had fought against the Communists and British Rule, and who have little or no knowledge of what actually transpired.
Mat Sabu’s good intentions were grossly misquoted by the mainstream media and sad to say, some distinguished professors aligned to the BN saw fit to support their politicians rather than the facts as they were.
In a joint statement, the president of Teras Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, and Shura president Abdul Ghani Samsudin slammed the National Professors’ Council and historian Zainal Kling for claiming that leftist fighters were not freedom fighters, accusing Kling of distorting historical facts.
They also stressed that the British had banned many Malay movements such as PKMM, API, Awas and Hizbul Muslimin as communist movements. “The idea of labelling hardline Malay movements as communists comes from the British and their sympathisers,” said Azmi.
“How dare they group the ulama who resisted and fought against the British, like Tok Janggut , Abdur Rahman Limbong, Tok Guru Hussin Dol as communists just because the British had labelled them as insurgents?”
Thunderbolt
Meanwhile, PAS president Hadi Awang too ridiculed the views of Zainal Kling who claimed that Malaysia had never been colonized. Hadi said such “polemics” were being raised to “fool the rakyat” and shift public attention away from the many problems within the notorious and corrupt electoral system.
He also condemned the portrayal that only Umno fought for the Malays, and not the others including the Communists.” We hope that the Malays do not get fooled by these 60-year-old issues.
So far, of all the history benders Zainal Kling would probably win the top award. The Sultan Idris Teaching University (UPSI) head of history claimed that it was untrue that Malaya had been colonized by the British, who only gave us their “protection”. He also claimed that only Singapore, Malacca and Penang were British colonies.
Needless to say, his comments came as thunderbolt to the nation. Most Malaysians are now torn between exasperation at Umno and what to do to rid the country of such UMNO-stirred farces, which have only brought shame to the nation in the eves of the civil world.
As PAS information chief Tuan Ibrahim Tuan sarcastically pointed out, why then has Malaysia been celebrating Merdeka annually over the past half century. Isn’t this ridiculous? Isn’t it the height of the surreal and the unbelievable? Does it not make Mr Beans of all Malaysia’s past prime ministers, who were all from Umno, including the current Najib Razak?
Let’s take a very brief walk down Malaysia’s history to ascertain for ourselves whether Zainal Kling’s version of history is true:.
Ancient Malaysia:
8000BC the arrival of Stone Age hunter –gatherers and Stone Age Farmers who practiced slash and burn agriculture
1000BC: metal-using farmers and fishermen arrived in Malaysia with tools from bronze and iron and settled along the coasts and rivers.
200-300AD: Kedah had a civilization that traded heavily with India. Most were Buddhists or Hinduists.
700-1300AD: Srivijaya Kingdom dominated much of Malaysia especially along the coasts of Java and Borneo who also traded much with India and China.
1400AD: Parameswara a former leader of Temasek(now Singapore) founded Malacca which became a great port. Its wealth grew from trade between Arab, Chinese and Indian ships. Parameswara became a Muslim and Islam spread to much of Malaysia.
1541-1641: Portuguese conquered Malacca and occupied it for 150years. The remnants can still be seen like the A Famosa and the St Paul’s Church. While at the time Johore grew to be a powerful trading state and opposed the Portuguese.
1641: with the help of Johore the Dutch conquered Malacca and occupied if for nearly 200years. In 1786: Francis Light occupied Penang and founded Georgetown.
1800: the British took Province Wellesley. In 1819: Stamford Raffles established a British trading post in Singapore.
1824: the Dutch surrendered Malacca to the British in exchange for Sumatra.
1841-1963: Sarawak was under British control under Raja James Brooke. Tin trading was established between Malaysia and the British. Since 1874 the British assumed political control of Malaysia with influence over the states of Selangor, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Brunei, Sarawak and North Borneo which became British protectorates. In early 1900’s the British influence extended to Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu and Johore in 1914, which came under British rule. Tin and Rubber were the major industries which attracted more Chinese and Indians labourers.
1930: the Malayan Communist Party was formed
1941-1943: the Japanese invaded and occupied Malaya.
1946: UMNO was formed
1948: the Federation of Malaya was formed. The communists started to attack European Estate Managers. In 1949, the attacks declined after the British offered Independence. Insurgency continued but did not pose any serious threat until the early 70’s when the Communist Party was disbanded.
1957: Malaya became independent on. The first prime minister of Malaysia was Tunku Abdul Rahman.
1963: Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah joined Malaya to form the Federation of Malaysia. However in 1965 Singapore became a separate state.
Making a Mr Bean of all the Umno presidents
So from 1824 until 1963 the British had a firm hold on Malaya and Sarawak Borneo. Their forays into the interior and up to the East Coast states show that the British were firm occupiers until our independence in1957. Unless Zainal has a further ‘interpretation’ that Malaysia was never colonized, it is time for him to back it up with proof.
As the head of History at UPSI, it is rather disconcerting for him to deny that the British Occupation of Malaysia, which lasted for well over 130 years did not happen. If he can’t back up his words, he should resign because the tear to his credibility and professionalis can never be erased. The same to Umno.
The time has really come for the Umno leadership to evaluate where they have taken the nation to the extent that even Merdeka Day is now questioned. Most of the blame has to go to Najib, who has promoted this form of silly and irresponsible politicking. Even in the recent Bersih crackdown, he suddenly arrested the 6 PSM leaders for ‘rekindling’ Communism.
It is time for all political parties to remember, a political leader such as a PM must not only be popular and able to lead the people. He must also have some brains, otherwise, he would be vulnerable to all sorts of the wildest and dumbest shenanigans and advice. Worst still, the whole nation is held ransom because of his inability to be sensible.
Punish UMNO
Just remember, Umno has been proudest of the joyous shouts of Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka! These have echoed through the years since our August 31, 1957. But if Kling and the Najib administration is right, then sad say, Tunku was the first Mr Bean for hollering on an empty premise. He was followed by other fools – Abdul Razak, Hussein Onn, Mahathir Mohamad, Abdullah Badawi and the ‘beaniest’ of them all – Najib Razak!
Sincerely, a revamp is necessary to ensure our History books are accurate and that our children are not studying rubbish. It is also extremely worrying that Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin has said the history syllabus for schools will be revised following “new findings” on the nation’s past. “We can dig deep into history and we can start not from 1400 but from the very beginning,” Khalid told reporters on Friday.
It is also high time to stop taking advantage all the police, army veterans and the rural folk, who may not have learnt history in depth. This is a form of buyllying. These folk are our fathers, uncles, grandads, aunties, moms and so on.To take advantage of their simplicity just to get their votes is downright immoral and for this alone, Umno should be banned.
t is curious that six decades after 1947 a debate on Jinnah can pack halls in Delhi and Mumbai but a discussion on Gandhi might not fill a front row. Is this because Jinnah offers the drama of a court trial, the speakers being advocates for defense or prosecution, and the audience a silent, but ultimately decisive, jury? Jinnah, one of the great barristers of his age, would have relished the metaphor.
Has Gandhi become, in our subconscious, an irritating nuisance, a mirror before our guilty conscience? Who wants to be measured by the yardstick of a saint who was so disconcertingly honest that he turned his autobiography into a confessional? Jinnah, on the other hand, was so private, and even secretive in life that, in death, he is vulnerable to endless post-mortem dissection. Gandhi has become as ephemeral as an ideal. We can disturb the memory of Jinnah. Gandhi’s memory disturbs us.
Where would Gandhi have been on his 140th birthday, October 2, 2009, if he were not safely dead? He would have been on a fast in Maharashtra. Why? The state police has slipped into the public space a statistic made even more astonishing by the indifference with which it has been received: there has been, on an average, a riot every 20 days in Maharashtra during the last five years. Print media consigned it to a couple of statutory paragraphs inside. Television, crowded with high-decibel celebrities, ignored this completely. It seems that our innumerable guardians of secularism need familiar villains for their rage. Faceless violence is not attractive enough.
Gandhi placed the facts of violence above the politics of conflict. He would have been an inconvenient presence for those who profess to live by his creed today. As for the heroes of modern India: they would not recognize him. There is no way to reinvent Gandhi as a happy symbol of a rising sensex, checking out the value of an investment portfolio at five every evening. It makes sense on every side to convert Gandhi into a token portrait on the wall of a government office.
Jinnah’s problem, conversely, has been that he has been appropriated, or misappropriated, by a range of vested interests, each determined to resurrect him in its own image, to serve its agenda. Pakistan’s political elite, forced to compromise with the culture of theocracy, has converted the natty, lean, handsome owner of 200-odd London-tailored suits into a shalwar-and-cap chameleon. If, instead of being clean-shaven, Jinnah had sported a slight, fashionable beard, they would have extended the beard by six inches in official portraits. Most Pakistanis would be shocked today to discover that Jinnah did not know Urdu, never fasted during Ramzan, had little interest in the rituals of religion, and that his concept of spiritual sustenance was very worldly indeed. Jinnah sent out invitations for a formal lunch-banquet in honour of the visiting Mountbattens for August 14, 1947, the day the new nation was born. The meal had to be cancelled when someone realized that they were in the middle of Ramzan. Jinnah had been oblivious of the fact that observant Muslims had been fasting for three weeks.
Indian politicians have restructured Jinnah more subtly. Contemporary Congressmen needed a cardboard Jinnah as the all-purpose villain who could soak up all the guilt of Partition. An obstinate, communal hate figure was planted into Indian schoolbook history. This was then morphed into something more insidious.
When Jinnah’s utility as the father of Pakistan receded, he was transformed, surreptitiously, into the symbol of the guilt of Indian Muslims, who became the whipping boys of Indian nationalism as practiced on all sides of the spectrum. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh, forerunner of the BJP, latched on to this projection with great glee, since it perpetuated the politics of isolation and accusation. Indian Muslims, in this construct, were genetically unpatriotic and therefore, deservedly condemned to the status of second-class citizens. When Jaswant Singh challenged this single-dimension mythology by lifting the record from the private domain of academic archives and flinging it into public discourse, he had to be expelled. He had spread the guilt to others, who were Hindus, and disturbed the equanimity of a half-truth.
The secular parties, whose expertise in the dynamics of electoral behaviour has always been more astute, quickly understood that fear is the easiest route to the Indian Muslim vote. Fear of the past, Partition, was compounded by fear of its future consequences. Muslims had to choose between the communal cage and the secular trap.

Anything But Umno — Ali Kadir

Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK), the blogger, is right. We don’t know if Pakatan Rakyat will be able to govern our beloved country responsibly or walk the talk. But we do know that they will not be worse than the plundering and blundering hordes of UMNO.

I say UMNO and not BN because in reality the BN component parties such as the MCA, MIC, etc are subsidiaries of UMNO. They may have a different flag, motto and even president but their mission statement is to be subservient to UMNO.

The elections are around the corner. How do we know that? Simple, the clamour for allocations and funds is getting louder in UMNO. Soon, we will be asked to make a choice and by my reckoning the choice is clear: Anything But UMNO.

Just let us examine what these UMNO types have done to our country. I have no doubt that the likes of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Dr Ismail, Hussein Onn, Tan Siew Sin (left) were men of integrity and they served the rakyat.

But from the Mahathir era onwards it has been looting, corruption and using race and religion to divide Malaysians. We are sliding down a slippery slope in this country and we have a choice to either go with the flow and do nothing or change the direction of this country.

Please don’t expect Najib Razak and UMNO to do anything. Najib is too weak-willed to ever be a reformer, and plus he seems to be caught by institutional paralysis. What he or any UMNO president of late is doing is governing the country for the party and its crony capitalists.

It is an open secret that the biometric scanning system deal benefited an UMNO minister, the son-in-law of a top UMNO leader and businessmen close to Putrajaya. And now we are told of the secret plan to privatise Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) by 1MDB and Puncak Niaga. So secret that even the minister in charge did not know about it.

As reported in The Malaysian Insider, this deal was given the greenlight by the Economic Council. Then you have the PM saying that a good portion of MRT contracts will be set aside for Bumiputera contractors. This is an euphemism for UMNO warlords and contractors connected to the party.

The plundering does not stop there. National Service camps are given to UMNO politicians and their supporters and smaller contracts are farmed out to Class F contractors, nearly 90 per cent of them UMNO members.

The government-sanctioned looting has reached such a crazy stage that members of the inner circle of PM and supporters linked to Muhyiddin Yassin are fighting over the economic largesse. I have not even touched on the notoriety of the First Family and their friends and hangers-on. Some people may think that excesses are okay as long as the economy is growing.

Well, it is not and nothing can justify expensive shopping trips or diamond rings in a country where many still find it hard to make ends meet. Malaysia must be the only country in the world besides Zimbabwe where a top government official can remain in his job despite facing countless allegations which strike at the core of the man’s honesty.

The man in question is the Attorney-General Gani Patail. He has been accused of fabricating evidence, of hiding corruption cases involving UMNO politicians and every dastardly act by a former senior police officer.

The correct thing for the government to do would be to set up an inquiry and examine if the allegations are true. This man is after all the top legal officer. Instead the Najib administration just keeps silent and ignores all this incriminating evidence.

We can only surmise that Gani Patail has enough to sink UMNO dulu, kini dan selamanya. Just like probably VK Lingam knew too much that he could not be charged with subverting justice by trying to influence in the appointing of judges and just like how Tajudin Ramli knows enough about the backroom deals to warrant the government asking GLCs to stop litigation against him.

Honestly, I can’t think of a period when race relations have been worse than now and a large part of blame has to be directed at UMNO for its divide-and-rule policy.

When it feels threatened as it does now, it plays the Malay race card, warning of some imaginary threat to Malay political power. When the party is in this mode, everyone who is not of the same thinking and religion is an enemy. How do you build a united country with this thinking?

Like a number of Malaysians, I always thought that Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was a decent chap but who was ill-equipped to lead Malaysia. But the Wikileaksexposure on his sister-in-law’s US$400 million (RM1.2 billion) aircraft deal and the report that UMNO guys get 30 per cent commission on defence deals just tell us how systemic the rot is.

Given this track record, it has to be Anything But UMNO.

One offered a diet of gruel, and the other a scrap of cheese. After six decades, Indian Muslims are beginning to bang on the door of both the cage and the trap.
Mahatma Gandhi would have heard the clamour.
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