It saddens me to know that the former Petaling Jaya UMNO Divison Chief, Capt Zahar Hashim (Retired) has resigned from UMNO and joined PAS. He was the whistle blower in the Eurocopter issue that saw him being suspended from the party. Regardless of his reasons, Zahar Hashim actions has brought to light many little known governmental procurement procedures, which hitherto has been tightly kept to the confines of the Minister and top ministry officials. The infamous 'direct negotiations' seems to be the choice of top ministry officials in awarding contracts that costs millions. One need only to search the files of all ministries to see how many contracts have been awarded through direct negotiations, and the costs charged for each contract. The talk that there is absolute transparency in the award of contracts are mere rhetorics.
Zahar Hashim is not alone in resigning from UMNO, but had brought along with him almost the entire Petaling Jaya UMNO Branch Chiefs and the Division Committee members. With this mass resignation, the Petaling Jaya UMNO Division is now defunct, and the Division's Headquarters which belongs to Zahar Hashim is no longer available to UMNO. What then be the fate of Petaling Jaya UMNO, in light of this mass exodus of UMNO members to the opposition. And the closure of the division, must have caused a severe set back for UMNO Selangor.
Since losing power to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the March 8 general elections, UMNO Selangor in particular has been in complete disarray and is unable to consolidate itself, caused by an apparent weakness in the leadership. The former Menteri Besar Dr. Khir Toyo, has been busy defending himself of his past actions, from critics leveled at him by the present state administration.
Khir Toyo's former state executive councilors are no longer to be seen nor heard, to render support for their former boss'. They all must have gone into hibernation, cooling their heads off; or are they on a long holiday with their families. This is UMNO's definition of loyalty i.e. abandonment of the boss when there is nothing left of the boss. And haven't Tun Dr. Mahathir suffered the same fate when he was no longer the PM? And I am quite sure, the same fate will befall Pak Lah when he steps down in March next year.
Several lessons can be drawn from Zahar Hashim's fate in UMNO, and such lessons should serve as a reminder to all UMNO members, if they wish to remain staunchly a member of UMNO. The lessons can be briefly described as follows:
1.While UMNO leaders talked about the practice of democracy in the party, they somehow cannot tolerate criticism, although such criticisms are well intended to better the party. It would be better not to criticise, and to keep your mouth shut.
2.Loyalty to the leader is only temporary and good while he is in power. Isolation immediately follows when he relinquish power. In other words, there is no absolute loyalty among political friends, and friends today can be your enemy tomorrow.
3.To survive in UMNO, one has to be, in the words of Tun Dr. Mahathir, a 'YES MAN'. One has to sustain this to survive, and this can be done by rushing to the airport to be seen by the boss each time he returns from overseas. Of course, kissing the hands of the boss (and also preferably the hands of his wife), should sealed an acknowledgement that you were there to receive the boss.
4.Since open criticism is not tolerated, members has no other option but to accept what is seen as wrong, to be correct. When wrong becomes too obvious, members only need to say, again in the words of Tun Dr. Mahathir 'SAYA SOKONG'.
What I have written above is not intended to batter UMNO, but to put across what I have observed and heard from ordinary people in the street, and from some UMNO members themselves. There is obvious disgruntlement among party members which is conveniently kept unknown from party top leaders, by those who wish not to hurt the leaders. And leaders would only want to listen to everything that is good, and apple polishers are many in UMNO to do the job of singing the good news.
Are not the many infightings during the recently held UMNO Division meetings an obvious indication of disgruntlement among party members? And are leaders blind to all this? And the scourge of money politics....this will continue unabated if UMNO leaders are themselves involved (not personally but through proxies), and without the will to fight money politics.
Many elder Malays (me included) had shyed away from UMNO because of the many 'ills' within the party. They will only return when UMNO is able to shed off the image of being corrupt, arrogant, boastful, and a party invested with 'show-off'.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION
Posted at 9.00am on Dec 29,2008