I am not in Umno because I “harbour hope of saving Umno” in its present incarnation. I remain because the cause for which Umno was formed, and the principles which guided its promotion, has not gone away just because we have lost our way 60 years later, and they need to be upheld.
The high principle of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Ismail, their devotion to nationbuilding, their incorruptibility, their sense of fair play and their devotion to duty, exemplified for me as a young man the meaning of this cause, and how it could be both Malay and Malaysian, nationalist and cosmopolitan, traditional and contemporary, at one and the same time.
The Malay cause was not premised on an eternal zero sum game between the native and the immigrant. We meant to build a nation united by a prosperous, confident and enlightened Malay community, not a permanent state of divide and rule by political lowlife. We meant to foster Malay leadership worthy of national leadership, and we looked to our common future as Malaysia rather than to our past as people accidentally brought together by colonial history.
So much is ideal. Yet it is important that we hold up ideals in today’s moral chaos. The future of our political system lies in a healthy, competitive democracy. If so, whether or not it looks realistic right now, we shall need a reformed incarnation of this nation’s most important political party. The Umno ideal which I embraced half a century ago has a role to play in the future we hope for.
A second reason I shall not be accepting Zaid’s kind offer is that things have deteriorated to the point that party affiliation is really not the issue anymore. The issue is how we are to save our country.
In the case for Ku Li, the real problem would be that although he wishes to do so, he is still clinging to UMNO. As my friend, a close associate of his said, it is very hard for him not to go out of UMNO to do the change. Previously, when he offered himself to become the party president, he only garnered one nomination out of the quota required. It would now take require UMNO to sack him out to start the ball rolling.
Ku Li should walk out of the party to send a message to the other UMNO top brass that UMNO has gone out of control, and deviating from its original objectives. Yes, walk out, but he's right not to join PKR. He can become someone who can start a third force move that many of us are mooting about.