Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has urged his party to focus on its original struggle of safeguarding the welfare of the people, instead of focusing on personal agendas.
In an interview with the New Straits Times (NST) in conjunction with the party’s 71st anniversary celebration, he said Umno has undergone so much change and “the Umno then is not the Umno now”.
He said: “While this ‘new’ Umno can retain support and has a lot of members, it has its fair share of problems.This is common for a big party, especially when the focus is more on personal agendas.
“They want positions and material benefits for their personal gain. There is ‘your gang’ and ‘my gang’, and the struggles are no longer clear. These things cause polemics among us, which make the party weaker, and some are being left out,” he said.
Tengku Razaleigh, who is widely known as Ku Li, reminded Umno members that positions were temporary and that service to the people should be the main agenda of all leaders.
“We must realise that we are only here temporarily. So, we must fight not for ourselves but for our followers. We must have that spirit of sacrifice.”
Lending an analogy, he said: “It is like saving money for a rainy day. In our struggles, whatever we do is for our future. We cannot consume everything we have right now, today. If everyone thinks along these lines, then I think Umno will be safe.
“You need to go back to the original struggle. If there is too much vested interest, then we forget about the ultimate struggle – the income of the people, the Malays and the Malays’ position in society in terms of knowledge, culture and others,” he said.
Despite the opposition criticising Umno leaders for being incapable and could be easily bought back in the old days, he said, these Umno leaders were good leaders as they listened to the people.
“Because the leaders listened to the people, the mandate was given to them in every general election, especially during the days of Parti Perikatan (The Alliance),” he said.
He urged the party to discuss “how Malays can move forward economically or in entrepreneurship” based on research during the anniversary celebration.
“If other countries can be more developed, why not us? Some people have said our income is stagnant and our management is not good,” he added.
Tengku Razaleigh noted that while every party needs the loyalty of its members to continue its struggle.
“You must have loyalty to the cause that you are fighting for. Not loyalty to the people, but loyalty to the party,” he said.
He pointed out that the younger generation today, whom he opined could differentiate right from wrong and have a conscience, would not let anything bad happen to the country.
“The future is good for us. The younger generation make up the majority in our country and this ‘good energy’ can change and take the the nation further,” he said.