Monday, December 1, 2008

Why I Didn't Join UMNO

I am a kampong boy. I grew up during the time where black and white TV was considered a luxury, electricity was only available in the cities, and average kampong folks lived in hardship and difficulties.

I grew up in UMNO circle. My late father was among Ku Li’s trusted lieutenants during 70s and 80s in Ulu Kelantan. At that time Ku Li held cabinet post as Minister of Finance. Perhaps my dear viewers wonder did my father benefit a lot from the relation. All I can is this, in many occasions we adik beradik just settled for instant noodles for dinner. Although I was still young, I always tried to understand why my father worked so hard for a cause that surely generated no income.

The hard work pays in 1978 when BN conquered Kelantan from PAS. Within the next four years plenty of physical and infrastructural developments brought to the state. As the standard of living slightly improved, I was beginning to understand that the purpose of struggle by my father and his fellow UMNO members was actually to see things were becoming better for the people.

So why didn’t I join UMNO. Could I just follow the path set by my father to continue with the struggle? My answer is simple, there’s merely no more struggle for the people. What exists now is the struggle for the UMNO leaders to grab power and to stay in power, so that government contracts are secured.

Quite significant number of Malay professionals complained that their applications to join UMNO were rejected. A university professor once told us when he visited my father early this year that his application form was torn due to instruction from higher command. There are still many Malay professionals who grew up in UMNO circle but prefer to stay away from the dirty game being played now.

Few months ago I met my old classmate who anxiously wanted to contest for Ketua Pemuda Bahagian (KPB). I knew that in term of track records and personality, he was not capable to go after his opponent, another close friend of mine. So I advised him to contest for Timbalan KPB and formed an ally with his opponent. He gave me a simple NO, the reason was - not much projects allocated for the second man.

Ku Li visiting my father (right) while meeting with the
kampong folks at our humble home back in 2007.

This is not the kind of struggle my father or your father had fought for. My father passed away peacefully on 1st May 2008, at the age of 83 while he was still keeping himself busy contributing to the kampong folks voluntarily. Perhaps my late father had already foreseen what was coming to UMNO, and for that reason he never encouraged any of us adik-beradik to join the organization.

Related links:
UMNO The Sinking Ship - Lawyer Kampung
The Anwar's Supreme Legacy - Ismail N