The suggestion for a single party for Barisan Nasional (BN) is expected to top Umno’s general assembly scheduled to be held by September, a subject that every Umno member will take serious as it involves the dissolution of the party if it ever happens.
Despite the matter being mildly talked about at present, the subject is expected to dominate the party assembly as members defend the existence and the importance of the party, particularly at the present moment where the conclusion of the 13th general election pointed to a divided political landscape.
The party assembly will also hold its party election which uses the new system with a wider-base where some 146,000-odd members participating instead of the old system where only the 2,000-odd delegates voted for the leadership.
The party headquarters had directed branches and divisions to hold their respective AGMs and election of office-bearers at their levels from July 14 to end of August after which the national level assembly will be held.
Suggested by Gerakan that lost all seats contested in the recently concluded general election that saw Umno stood out as the single party that won the highest number of parliamentary seats, the suggestion was also supported by MCA and People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
Umno, as the backbone and bastion of the ruling coalition, has listened to the suggestion and replied with a heart-warming affection that the suggestion would be studied further.
But the ground is not that ‘warm’ to the suggestion that may end up with Umno losing its identity and ruling BN will lead the path to a two-party system which the opposition had wanted all along.
Umno led by Najib Tun Abdul Razak had stood the ground and worked hard to gain lost ground since 2009 April when he took over the party leadership after the dismal performance of BN, carrying along Gerakan, MCA, MIC and PPP, which were nearly wiped-out in 2008 general election.
Najib planned and implemented several transformation programmes and more importantly introduced the moderate approach that seemingly gave more lee-way to the Chinese which was seen as sidelining the community that is supporting it with its heart and soul – the Malays and bumiputras.
It was after two years of Najib’s lone ‘battle’ that the rest in the coalition began putting their heads out and ‘fought’ along Najib to regain the lost grounds among the respective communities they represented but the push was proven insufficient.
The oppositions had already penetrated the hearts and minds of the people way before the 2008 general election, using every methods available that made it difficult if not impossible for the coalition parties to recover the lost influence.
But Malays and bumiputras who are traditionally loyal and trust the leaders of Umno did not cry out in grief nor show any resentment as they continue supporting without question so long as the leader takes care of their needs, not amounting to much though.
Thus, when the suggestion of a single party for BN emerged and the party that suggested was a party that was supposedly to be multi-racial but in reality Chinese-based, Umno members and non-members who support Umno find it hard to swallow what more to support.
As far as the members and those who support Umno are concerned, Umno has been the prime mover of the country’s Independence and the party that got the Chinese and Indians to come together as a united force.
As far as they see it, Umno should no longer sacrifice itself to rescue other parties that are drowning because Umno has already sacrifice a lot to satisfy others and yet these ‘others’ did not repay the deeds as expected.
“Time may have changed and expectations changes but loyalty and trust should not and the two elements have no expiry dates,” said a veteran Umno man Ahmad Bahri Abdul Rahman.