Tuesday, May 15, 2007

May 13 & endemic rot within UMNO

I am not sure what to make of Teropong Negara’s letter to malaysiakini on his recollection of May 13 - not so much on those ‘smoking guns’ he mentioned, but more on his observation of Tunku Abdul Rahman.

I quote him:

The Tunku was already clearly overstaying his welcome. His love for drinking and too frequent ‘ronggeng’ sessions and love for horses were eroding away Umno's credibility among conservative Malays. On being interviewed by the Far Eastern Economic Review of what he thought of the proposal that adulterers be stoned to death, he replied that: ‘I fear that there would not be enough stones left to construct our roads’.

Some speculated that in order to contain the endemic rot within Umno, it was decided by the party’s inner circle that it was imperative to create a major incident as an excuse to clean, consolidate and restore Umno and thence the Malays to their rightful places.

“The endemic rot within UMNO …” and today, what of UMNO?

We are now 50 years into independence. In another 50 years, Tunku may well stand out as the only Prime Minister of Malaysia in a century who left office virtually destitute. His successor Tun Razak had to quickly pass a bill to endow him with a pension appropriate to a retired PM (including a house in Penang).

Yet, even today we hear some young turks condemning him of corruption. Yes, Tunku was a PM who was known to buy goat meat in Kedah when he visited Alor Setar occasionally because he said that meat was cheaper there than in KL - hmmm, obviously 'signs' of a naughty PM?

When he was stripped of his powers and packed off into retirement, he continued to be surrounded by his friends of all races, but particularly Chinese. Those were the days of that silly old concept called loyalty, even when a man was no longer in power to be of any use to anyone.

As a man who, in Teropong Negara’s words, loved his drinks, he was, after retirement, selected by the Saudi King (Good Lord, the king of the holy land?) to be the first secretary-general of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC).

Initially he refused, explaining to the king that he was not a good Muslim as he loved his drink – no one can accuse Tunku of being a hypocrite, that’s for sure.

The King replied rather interestingly that he didn’t want Tunku to be the Mufti of Mecca but as the secretary-general of the OIC.

So I wonder if it was the King of Saudi Arabia who had said: “I fear that there would not be enough stones left to construct our roads”, would it be received any differently?

But in the final analysis, Tunku could well be spot on, indeed right down to a T, in that there would not be enough stones left to construct our roads if we stone every Malaysian adulterer or for any act of incest.


  1. Tunku is possibly the cleanest PM of Malaysia. But one thing's for sure...he was honest, and he was a true gentleman...