As we watch the unfolding battles and drama within Umno, we cannot ignore the fact that this ageing political party is paying a huge price for its outdated political misconduct.
Racial politics and religious bigotry served Umno extremely well in past decades.
However, since Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s stranglehold on the party and his reinvention of Umno as Umno Baru (New Umno), the party has become permanently maimed.
Today, party members shoot ‘poison darts’ at each other and are desperately pinning the blame for its fall on its current leadership.
Umno leaders need to finally realise that what is paralysing the party is its outdated championing of race and religion.
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The long years of exploiting racial fissures and religious bigotry have today resulted in a crippled party that has drifted away from its founding goals.
Behind the false façade of appearing to be fighting exclusively for “Malay rights” and Islam lurks the real enemy – corruption.
Despite the large sums of money Umno may have amassed – along with those amounts ‘stolen’ by those who may have personally profited from direct abuse of power or through the abuse of the existing control mechanisms of the country’s financial watchdogs or through rent-seeking practices – the party today is trying helplessly to return to its glory days.
It is time Umno realises that such illicit practices cannot provide a lifeline to any political party, just as any illegal amassing of wealth and profiteering by individuals will not be able to save them.
This realisation should shape a new philosophy – that a sense of purpose and honesty is an appropriate strategy for the times.
If ever Umno wants to jump start and reinvent itself, it must first eradicate corruption and a corrupt mindset from the party.
Likewise, it should abandon its racial politics and religious bigotry.
Be humble. Learn a lesson or two from parties like PKR or from Umno’s favourite ‘whipping boy’, the DAP.
A worldwide movement to celebrate diversity is driving many other nations forward. A tidal wave is also transforming humanity, driven by breakthrough technologies. These are global changes that Umno will have to confront to remain relevant.
The human endeavour to break free from racism and religious bigotry is today everywhere on this planet.
So, unless Umno comes to terms with these new global realities, it has no hope for survival, let alone a long-term future. It the party fails to adopt a more inclusive outlook, it will go the way of many parties of bygone times that were buried by their chauvinistic agendas.