PETALING JAYA: Umno’s future depends on its members, said Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Tengku Hamzah.
“The members must regulate and discipline the leaders. Should there be a need, they must rein the leaders in. Of course, the people – in the privacy of the polling booth – will have the last say,” said Tengku Razaleigh in a speech yesterday.
Speaking at the launch of a book, The End of Umno? Essays on Malaysia’s Dominant Party, he said the party must stay relevant and follow parameters acceptable to practising democracies.
“Most importantly, its struggle must be seen as being above board and within the law. It must not be accused of resorting to and justifying the practice of dirty, underhanded politics,” said Tengku Razaleigh.
He said that politics as a process of governance was neither clean nor dirty.
“Its practitioners are something else. There are politicians and there are politicians. And like any other group of people, there are rotten apples in politics.
“It is the politician then, if at all, who is dirty. This is not to say that there are no clean and honest politicians and political leaders,” Tengku Razaleigh said.
He urged party members to be wary of certain political leaders.
“In this regard, I would draw their attention to the saying about a fish rotting from the head, in reference to leaders and leadership.
“This, quite often, signals the start of nepotism and cronyism. These ultimately develop into corruption. Left unaddressed, it could crystallise into a part of the way a political party does things, which is what culture is,” he said.
He pointed out that Umno had contributed a lot to governance and government, as well as economic and social development.
“As a party, it stands for the ideals of democracy, fairness and equality. It has always been so,” he added.
Edited by Bridget Welsh, the book is a collection of essays analysing the contemporary history of Umno, with particular focus on changes in the last two decades.
It is authored by Welsh, international academics Clive S. Kessler, James Chin, John Funston and Saifuddin Abdullah.