On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

How to swim with the rest

outside the porch of his Putrajaya house, however, is a small pond where he
keeps Japanese carp. Pak Lah makes it a point to briefly look at the fishes
each time he comes home from work.

visitors to Abdullah's house, they know the symbolic difference – there are
fish that fight among themselves and those that know the meaning of

as he has consistently done, sent a loud reminder to Umno members yesterday
evening when he opened the Youth, Wanita and Puteri general assemblies at PWTC.

Malays do not prioritise unity. Anything can divide them. Jostling for
positions in the party, unfounded accusations against the leadership, disappointment
for not receiving business opportunities, incitement by opposition parties, and
a false sense of security.

is not all. There are the small fry, or low-level leaders without any record of
service to the party and country but who behave like big fish. Then, there are
others who constantly complain their containers are too small for them.

are the members who feel the party membership is a passport, even a right, to
contracts, positions and titles. The culture, unfortunately, has become
entrenched in Umno,'' he said.

formed to fight for the country's independence, is in danger of becoming a rich
man's club if urgent steps are not taken to re-invent itself.''

said that this included renewed commitment and dedication to the party's cause.

how long does Umno want to tolerate having members with such shallow

are certainly strong words from a politician regarded as mild-mannered.

members, used to the niceties of Pak Lah, must have been taken aback by his
unusually harsh words.

close to him offered reasons for such a speech. One was the constant
politicking among party leaders as the leadership transition took place.

the past week, Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Abdullah voiced fears that
party leaders would jostle for the deputy president's post after the latter
took over the party leadership.

bitter experience of Umno being deregistered in 1988 after Tengku Razaleigh
Hamzah fought Dr Mahathir is fresh in the minds of party members.

Umno members take the wake-up call seriously, the party will find its clout
seriously eroded if members continue to put personal interests above that of
the party.

there is hope. With its voice of moderation, Umno is looked up to, not just by
Malays, but by Malaysians of all races and religions, who believe there is no
place for extremism and fanaticism.

the formation of the Alliance and its successor the Barisan, the country's
three main parties – Umno, MCA and MIC – have committed themselves to the
politics of consensus and proven that the sharing of power has worked well.

Umno members, particularly those in the rural heartland, have remained true to
the struggles of the party, believing the party remains the best choice.

believe there are many Umno members who do not hold titles, who do not hold
positions, who do not have any special standing, who have never set foot in
this hall, let alone meet the prime minister, who possess the greatest loyalty
to the party, and a pure and profound belief in our struggle,'' said Abdullah.

ocean is big, and with over two million Umno members, there is plenty of good
talent to choose from, but the troublemakers, who put personal interests first,
will need to be contained.