KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — The Malays would be much better off in a world without Umno, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said today, claiming the country’s dominant race would not only be better educated and free from corruption but still humble and religious, without feeling any need to show off.
To the majority of Malays, Zaid said, there was little benefit to be had from having Umno around, save for the creation of a handful of “instant Malay millionaires and billionaires”.
The former Cabinet minister, in a fiery response to the pro-Malay rhetoric heard all week at Umno’s 67th general assembly, even declared in a blog posting here his belief that party he once believed in would never change its stripes.
“It’s a true blue extremist, racist and religious party. The Umno President can protest and say Umno is not a racist party, but it is. It’s no different from other parties with fascist ideas.
“It’s a party that panders to emotions about religion and race, and feels no remorse about attacking others on these religious grounds and feeling proud of its position,” he sniped.
Slamming the party as racist for pushing “fascist ideas”, he said the delegates were too busy attacking everyone from the Chinese to the Shiah Muslims while indulging in mock religiosity to even begin to address the real issues facing Malaysians today.
“Then, we heard the bombshell from the President: where would the Malays be without Umno, he asked,” the former de-facto law minister wrote in his blog.
“The short answer is that the Malays will still be Malays without Umno. Without Umno, the Malays would not descend to such depths just for political advantage.
“In short, without Umno, the Malays would be more civilised beings,” he said in his latest hard-hitting blog entry.
Islam took centre stage in Umno’s annual pow-wow last week, with Najib announcing plans to amend the party constitution to adopt the provision in the Federal Constitution that places Islam as the religion of the federation.
The amendment will also include the phrase “Sunnah wal Jamaah” to specifically define the brand of Islam that is endorsed by the country’s most powerful political party.
Zaid bristled at the proposal, questioning why Umno does not go all the way and do the same for the country’s apex law.
“How such a definition can make Islam and Muslims better is something only small minds can fathom,” he said.
Zaid, who at one time was a PKR member after quitting Umno, described the recently concluded Umno general assembly as gathering of demagogues who felt no remorse about attacking others just to pander to emotions about religion and race.
“The speeches from the delegates were no different from the speeches of members of extremist parties in Greece, France and Holland. They want to wipe out those they dislike.
“Just as these parties feel that Christianity is under threat, Umno believes that Islam is under threat. Their economic conditions are not what they would like so they blame this condition on others,” he said.
Zaid ticked off a long list of reasons why the Malays would be better off without Umno, claiming that everything from education and media freedom to the acceptance of the country’s diversity and plurality would blossom among the Malays.
He said all Umno has successfully done was to brainwash the Malays into believing that they are under constant siege by the enemies of their race and religion, making them more “subservient and militant”.
“The hypocritical Umno leaders of today know they can only stay in power by brute force, so they cultivate this extremist culture among the party faithful until blind obedience becomes the accepted norm.
“They have successfully created imaginary enemies so that the Malays will turn to and embrace them for protection. In short, the Umno leaders have reduced the Malays to being small-minded bigots who are superficially religious and ready to go to war,” he said.