COMMENT | Umno-Baru leaders crave respect. What they cannot have by proper means, they will grab through violence or by the creation of fear. Some senior leaders and key members of society are aware that the only way for these leaders their careers to advance was to be loyal to the leader.
While Malaysia was gripped by change and the need to reinvent itself as a proper multi-cultural, equal and just society, many Umno-Baru members appear to have been in denial.
To make Umno-Baru acceptable, a few drastic changes will have to be implemented. The deadwood must be thrown out. The concerns of the young and the grassroots must be addressed. Their intolerant racial and religious rhetoric have to be switched off.
Their leaders must dare to be different and stop blaming others for their faults and irresponsibilities.
To show the rest of the country that they mean business, the leaders would need to charge those who were let off lightly, or those who evaded prosecution for crimes committed in the past, because certain members of the judiciary were their "members".
There exists in the party, a give-and-take community. The leader promised dedak or positions of power; his minions offered their allegiance in exchange for these offerings.
Last Saturday, we saw the fruits of this labour, when former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was chosen as Umno-Baru president. Forget about reforms. Forget change for the better of Malaysian society as a whole. Think more of the "same-old, same-old" Malay supremacy, and Islam will continue to be their best rhetoric...