Thursday, May 13, 2010

UMNO 64th Anniversary? err.. which UMNO?

11th May 2010, is the 64th ANNIVERSARY of the formation of United Malays National Organisation, or UMNO. And some moron said UMNO has become ‘blood and soul’ of MOST Malaysians, as the party has been the BACKBONE of the ruling Alliance Party and later Barisan Nasional(BN), which have CONTINUOUSLY been ruling the country since the independence of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu in 1957 and the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

64th ANNIVERSARY, that’s mean UMNO is 64 years already… but is that’s true?

Let us walk thru the memory of lane...


Early history

After the British returned to Malaya in the aftermath of World War II, the Malayan Union was formed. However, the Union was met with much opposition due to its constitutional framework, which allegedly threatened Malay sovereignty over Malaya.

A series of Malay congresses were held, culminating in the formation of the nationalist party, UMNO on May 11, 1946 at the Third Malay Congress in Johor Bahru, with Datuk Onn Jaafar as its leader. UMNO strongly opposed the Malayan Union, but originally did not seek political power. UMNO was comfortable with continuing to play its supporting role to the British rulers. The leaders cooperated with the British and helped to defeat the communist insurgency.

In 1949, after the Malayan Union had been replaced by the semi-autonomous Federation of Malaya, UMNO shifted its focus to politics and governance. Being afraid of claiming 'independence' of Malaya in front of British officers, the independence is proclaimed as the independence of Malayan people, not just Malays. The Malay people thus search for their birth-rights since the government of Malaya did not proclaim it openly, resulting in a confusing situation.

In 1951, Onn Jaafar left UMNO after failing to open its membership to non-Malay Malayans to form the Independence of Malaya Party (IMP). Tunku Abdul Rahman replaced Dato' Onn as UMNO President.

UMNO Baru (New UMNO)

On April 24, 1987, UMNO held its Annual General Assembly and triennial Party election. The then Prime Minister and party President, Mahathir Mohamad, faced his first party election in 12 years, having been elected unopposed since the 1975 UMNO election.

The politics of the Malays, particularly UMNO politics, had undergone a sea change in the first few years of the Mahathir stewardship, and the party presidency was challenged for the second time in 41 years. The first challenge was a dull affair in which Hussein Onn was opposed by a minor party official named Sulaiman Palestin. In fact, in the early 1950s, Tunku Abdul Rahman's presidency had also been challenged by C. M. Yusof, who later became the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, but Tunku was not properly considered an incumbent then, being only a care-taker president.

The 1987 contest was a vastly different matter.Mahathir was opposed by his very popular former Finance Minister, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. The press took to referring to Mahathir and his supporters as Team A, and Razaleigh's camp as Team B. Team B included then Deputy Prime Minister Tun Musa Hitam, who was also the incumbent Deputy President of UMNO seeking re-election, as well as Datuk Suhaimi Kamaruddin, the former head of UMNO Youth and president of the Belia 4B youth organisation.

Team B was critical of Mahathir's policies, arguing that the Malaysian New Economic Policy (NEP) had failed to benefit the poor Malays. It also criticised Mahathir's leadership style, alleging he acted unilaterally without consulting other leaders in UMNO and the Barisan Nasional. Team B was also perceived as less Islamist than Mahathir's faction.

Mahathir claimed that the charges against him were groundless, and suggested that his opponents were fracturing Malay unity and were only motivated by greed.

Eventually, Mahathir was returned to office. However, he was elected with such a small majority of 43 (761 against 718 votes) that questions were immediately raised about his mandate. Team B supporters, many of whom had been anticipating a victory of similar margins, suspected that the election had been fixed. The Team B candidate for Deputy President, Musa Hitam, had also been defeated by Ghafar Baba of Team A, while two of the three Vice-Presidents were Team A candidates. The Supreme Council comprised 16 Team A candidates and 9 Team B candidates.

Allegations were made that several delegates who had voted were drawn from UMNO branches not properly registered. There were also several unproved allegations being bandied about that the balloting process had not been above board.

Nevertheless, Razaleigh pledged to support Mahathir, provided that a "witch hunt" was not launched. However, Mahathir promptly purged the government cabinet of all Team B members, and launched similar reshuffles in state and local governments.

On June 25, 1987, an appeal was filed by 12 of the UMNO delegates to have the assembly and the election of April 1987 declared null. After one of the delegates, Hussain bin Manap, withdrew unexpectedly in August from filing the appeal, the remaining litigants have since become famous as the "UMNO 11." Although Razaleigh and Musa Hitam were not among the plaintiffs, it was widely believed that Razaleigh was funding the appeal.

After a series of interlocutory hearings over the discovery of documents that took more than seven months, the matter finally came before Justice Harun Hashim in the Kuala Lumpur High Court on February 4, 1988. The judge ruled that under the existing law he had no option but to find the party, UMNO, to be an unlawful society due to the existence of several unregistered branches—an illegal act under the Societies Act of 1966. The question of the Assembly itself being illegal therefore became academic.

"'It is a very hard decision to declare UMNO unlawful,' said Justice Datuk Harun Hashim in his February 4 judgement. 'But the law was made by our Parliament and certainly UMNO was aware [of the Societies Act] because they were in the majority [in Parliament] at all times [when the law was made].' Under the 1966 Act, amended five times over the years, and most recently by Mahathir's government, each of the society's branches has to register separately with the Registrar...."

The Tunku and former UMNO President Hussein Onn set up a new party called UMNO Malaysia, which claimed to be the successor to the old UMNO. UMNO Malaysia was supported mainly by members of the Team B faction from UMNO, but Mahathir was also invited to join the party leadership. However, the party collapsed after the Registrar of Societies refused to register it as a society without providing an explanation

Mahathir showed no interest in reviving UMNO, and instead he set in motion the machinery to form a new surrogate party, and in due course, registered a party formally called Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu (Baru) or UMNO (New) a week after UMNO Malaysia's registration was rejected. Eventually the suffix "(New)" was dropped, and UMNO (Baru) became both the de facto and de jure successor of UMNO (with the old UMNO's assets handed over). Most of its leaders, however, were selected from Team A of the old UMNO, with Team B ignored.


That is a part of UMNO history.. so which UMNO is 64 years old??

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