Shahrir: Feudalism will bring Umno down
Umno supreme council member Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad blames the feudal system in the party for its declining support among Malays.
Shahrir, who is also Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, described the feudal culture as one where lower echelon leaders were afraid to speak up for fear of upstaging their leaders.
He admitted it could also be because the lower echelon leaders were concerned about their personal interest.
“Yes, they don’t want to speak up as they fear that their position may be affected. This is the problem faced by the party now.
“They are no longer interested in championing the cause of the party and country, but their own interest.”
“As long as this practice is not discarded, Umno will not be successful in attracting the support of the Malays and the people.”
Shahrir, who is noted for being a vocal leader, had experienced such a problem when he was relieved as federal territories minister during the administration of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He had also stepped down as Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club chairman after he was said to be supporting an opinion voiced by then opposition leader Lim Kit Siang in 2006.
Describing the feudal practice as a “time bomb”, Shahrir said the current leaders should revert to the original struggles of Umno if they truly love the party.
“If we look at the history of Umno, the party gained its strength as a popular Malay movement because it acted as a non-governmental organisation.
“It (Umno) looked at the problems of the community, and resolved these problems. It listened to the views of the community.
“Umno became a channel in voicing the community’s opinion and provided a democratic feedback system.”
Shahrir said at that time, when Umno leaders spoke, whether at the party or government level, they represented the views of the Malays, not their personal views.
He said Umno no longer played this role. Instead, it handed the responsibility of tackling the people’s problems over to the NGOs.
“I don’t agree that we ask the people who have succeeded through our efforts to reciprocate and vote for us. Helping them is our responsibility.”
Commenting on the public perception, especially among the younger generation, that Umno is a party that indulges in cronyism and nepotism as well as money politics, he said this was due to the attitude of party leaders who only looked after their own position.
Their focus was no longer to provide service to the community but to gain the support of Umno members in order to achieve their political ambitions. – Bernama
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