Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Umno must remain in power to protect Malay rights: Minister

PENANG — The United Malays National Organisation (Umno) has to remain in power as it is the only party that the Malay community can count on to uphold and fight for its rights, said its treasurer Salleh Said Keruak (picture) yesterday.

Umno treasurer Salleh Said Keruak. Photo: Malay Mail Online

Umno treasurer Salleh Said Keruak. Photo: Malay Mail Online

PENANG — The United Malays National Organisation (Umno) has to remain in power as it is the only party that the Malay community can count on to uphold and fight for its rights, said its treasurer Salleh Said Keruak (picture) yesterday.

“Umno has always been a party with a purpose, and that is to defend our rights,” Mr Salleh, who is also the Communications and Multimedia Minister, said while addressing party delegates in Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

He also said that of the five rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution, four of them belong to Malays.

“Constitutional monarchy, Islam as the religion of the federation, the Malay language and Malay special rights belong to us. Only the right of citizenship is shared with others. These (rights) are fundamental to Umno’s fight (for nationhood).”

Mr Salleh noted that Malays would lose these rights if Umno were to lose power.

“That is it. What is our purpose? To defend the powers,” he said.

“So those who are indebted to Umno have to support it. The fight must go on. If Umno disappears from the world, it is not impossible that Malay rights would also go with it.”

Political analysts note that with general elections in Malaysia due by next year, Umno will likely play up its credentials of championing Malay rights.

“However, urban Malays (and even rural ones) may not buy into this statement, and Malay votes are also split between Amanah (Parti Amanah Negara) and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), said Dr Norshahril Saat, a fellow at Iseas-Yusof Ishak Institute.

“Like Umno, these two parties also champion Malay rights and with Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the helm (of PPBM as well as the opposition alliance), Malays are confident that the opposition would also protect their rights.”

Dr Wong Chin Huat, a political analyst at public policy think-tank Penang Institute, said that Mr Salleh’s statement, coupled with Prime Minister Najib Razak’s recent courting of the country’s Indian Muslims, is part of the message that the upcoming general election is a battle to defend affirmative action for the bumiputeras.

Mr Salleh said separately in a blog post yesterday that the past history of politics must always be remembered because there are many mistakes from previous governments that need to be rectified.

“The question is, if we do not want to see past politics, how (can) we make use of the past experiences for a better future,” wrote Mr Salleh, citing incidents such as Dr Mahathir’s handling of the 1997 financial crisis and Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy case, among others.

Mr Salleh was responding to a statement by Dr Mahathir to forget about past politics in order to see a better future in the country’s politics.

Defence Minister and Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein also hit out at the opposition yesterday, dismissing Dr Mahathir’s aspiration to contest in the Pekan constituency held by Mr Najib.

“I see it as a populist statement, I challenge him to contest in Pekan. If he dares to, I myself, (Deputy Prime Minister) Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the whole Barisan Nasional’s leadership will go down there to defend the prime minister’s position as party president ... so go ahead, if you dare,” Mr Hishammuddin noted.

Dr Mahathir said that Mr Najib and his party were trying to scare Umno members into believing that Democratic Action Party (DAP) leader Lim Kit Siang would become prime minister should Umno loses the election.

“That is impossible. Kit Siang’s DAP is a small party.

“The big parties are the two, three parties in (the opposition alliance) Pakatan Harapan that are Malay-led parties,” Dr Mahathir said yesterday. AGENCIES

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.