[Updated 20/10/2106] If you’ve already read this article, the next 3 points are new updates 🙂 ]
In the wider context of things, politicians throwing big boogers of criticism at each other isn’t really a new nor particularly Malaysian thing. When BN makes a policy or a statement, we’ll be expecting criticism from the Opposition, and when the Opposition makes a policy or statement……yea you know the drill.
But AHA! How often do you see criticism come from WITHIN the party itself? As in when a party member criticizes his or her own party?
If you’ve been keeping an eye on news concerning UMNO, the answer should be “PM Najib” because it seems as if more and more of UMNO politicians (ex- and current) have been speaking out against him – mostly on issues relating to 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion donation. But how many exactly?
As with our previous article attempting to count the number of people who attended Bersih 4.0, CILISOS has a thing for torturing writers by making them count uncountable things. So using this same idea, we’ll be attempting to count the number of UMNO members who have spoken up against and/or criticized PM Najib this year.
In order to do this, we had to lay down
and cry some conditions:
- We are only including people were still in UMNO as of 2015, but they could have left since then.
- Barisan Nasional component parties such as MCA and MIC aren’t included, so don’t say we missed Ling Liong Sik ya.
- We categorized some of them into groups so you won’t have to read a 5,000 word article, so some overlaps may occur.
- The ORANGE parts in the headers indicate the number of people that we’re counting.
And the most important part: This probably won’t be a complete list, so we’ll be updating this article over time or when ugaiz start pointing out people we’ve missed. So let’s start off with…
THIRTY Grassroots leaders quit after one of them was suspended for “sabotaging Najib”
When: October 2016
Membership status: 30 confirmed as quitting, but 120 more allegedly to follow
During a function at the de Palma hotel in Ampang, 30 of the party’s grassroots leaders (we explain what these are later in the article) announced that they were leaving UMNO because they’ve lost confidence in PM Najib’s leadership.
“We are doing this because Umno’s struggle seems to no longer be for the rakyat, but allows and supports villainy and abuse of power in Malaysia.” – Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen, group representative, as quoted by Malaysiakini.
The group’s representative is Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen, who was previously suspended from the party for 6 years for attempting to sabotage PM Najib by inviting Dr. Mahathir to speak at a forum. He also added that he was considering joining BERSATU – Mahathir and Muhyiddin’s new political party
TWO long-time division leaders in Johor quit due to lack of confidence in the current leadership
When: September 2016
Membership status: Quit
Datuk Baharom Abdul Ghani, permanent chairman in UMNO’s Gelang Patah division decided it was time to patahkan his membership with the party due to a lack of confidence in UMNO’s top leadership.
Meanwhile, Kulai deputy chief Tosri Jarvanti took the drama a notch higher when announcing his resignation by handing the UMNO flag back to the division chief, saying:
“This is the flag that I defended for 49 years, but today I willingly wish to return this flag back to my friend the division chief, with a message to all Umno division chiefs, to take good care of Umno for the Malays.” – Tosri Jarvanti, as quoted by The Star.
ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED (!!!) members from Sabah left UMNO, ba.
When: July 2016
Membership status: Quit, but numbers are debated
Shafie Apdal, whose party quittin’ is covered in a later point in this article, seems to have a really strong following in his home state of Sabah. Right after his suspension from the party, between 50 – 300 UMNO members in his home state of Sabah quit in protest. This number later ballooned to 600, and at last check in July, topped off at a whopping 1,500 members – to the point the Kanar UMNO branch had to be closed because all 96 members left.
However, it should also be mentioned that UMNO Secretary-General Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan has denied the news, saying that he’s not received any official notices from any Sabah members quitting the party. But if true, these ex-members should probably be able to find a new home in Parti Warisan Sabah, Shafie Apdal’s new political party.
FIVE more branch chiefs decide publicly ask Najib to quit
When: December 2015
Membership status: Current
Five more UMNO Selangor branch chiefs aligned to Gabungan Ketua Cawangan Malaysia (GKCM) have decided to go public in urging PM Najib to step down. Aside from that, they also opposed PM Najib’s 18-month postponement of the 2016 UMNO General Elections and asked that the leaders stop taking action against members critical of the party to ensure democracy.
“We represent the grassroots, the voters, party members and ordinary citizens. And we did this out of our love for the party” – Zainal Apandi, Lake View Umno branch chief , as quoted by The Malaysian Insider.
In an even more recent development, UMNO Secretary-General Tengku Adnan challenged the group to file an official motion within the party if they’re really as unhappy as they claim. And so they did – asking for Najib to step down as UMNO party president and for the delayed UMNO General Elections continue according to schedule.
More on the GKCM and grassroots later in this article.
When ONE division chief got sacked, FIVE quit in protest
When: November 2015
Membership status: One sacked, Five quit posts. All still UMNO members.
Gopeng Wanita UMNO chief Datuk Hamidah Osman was sacked over “disciplinary issues” for attending an event with Najib super-critic Dr. Mahathir and making critical statements about PM Najib, urging him to quit.
Datuk Hamidah isn’t a regular member either – she used to be Wanita UMNO’s information chief and Perak exco member, having spent almost 33 years in the party. She insists she’s still an UMNO member despite being fired from her post, and received support from ex-DPM Muhyiddin who called her sacking “unconstitutional”.
With her sacking, 5 other members from the Gopeng division – an information chief, treasurer, secretary, and two committee members – also handed in their resignations in solidarity with Datuk Hamidah; saying that what happened to her could also affect them.
At least TWENTY UMNO branch chiefs got together to form an Anti-Najib group
When: November 2015
Membership status: Current, might be investigated
The Gabungan Ketua Cawangan Malaysia (GKCM) is a coalition of UMNO branch chiefs who’ve banded together to force PM Najib to quit. The group stated that they’ve lost faith in PM Najib’s leadership and their concerns were being ignored by high-level leaders; so it’s up to the grassroots (which we’ll talk about later) and branch heads to restore the dignity of the party:
It is now up to the branch chiefs and grassroots to save UMNO – Kamarul Azman Habibur Rahman,Umno Taman TKK branch chief and GKCM spokesman, as quoted by The Malaysian Insider.
Oh, and the twenty we mentioned is a conservative estimate on our part based on the number who attended the GKCM launch event. The group claims to have hundreds of other branches supporting them but declined to name any for security reasons.
UMNO Secretary-General Tengku Adnan has stated that members of the group will be brought in for a disciplinary hearing.
The time THIRTEEN branch chiefs from Negeri Sembilan urged PM Najib to quit
When: October 2015
Membership status: Current, but might be investigated
With the third Parliamentary meeting currently in session, PM Najib also announced details of the 2016 Budget which you can read here. However, what he didn’t budget for was the heads of 13 UMNO branches in Teluk Kamang, Negeri Sembilan holding a press conference asking him to quit in order to “save UMNO from disaster“ in the 2018 General Elections. Calling it a decision that is “best for UMNO and the younger Malay generation,” group leader Kamarul Azman Habibur Rahman also added that UMNO needed a strong leader to lead the party into the next general elections.
However, Teluk Kemang division chief Tan Sri Isa Samad has refuted some of their claims, saying that internal investigations showed that only five branches were involved rather than the 13 claimed by the group. He also said that it was puzzling for the branch heads to be speaking up now when a collective decision was made to support PM Najib during a divisional meeting, and that some members were tricked into attending the meeting (to ask PM Najib to quit).
It’s also quite likely that the 13 (for now) may find themselves facing disciplinary action for going public with their call for PM Najib to resign, and for going against UMNO’s policy of making collective decisions.
UMNO big shots get together to criticize PM Najib, including TWO veterans
When: October 2015 (and earlier)
Membership status: Both current (Shafie Apdal and Tengku Razaleigh)
After the arrest of Khairuddin Hassan under SOSMA, six current and former politicians held a press conference accusing PM Najib of abusing his power. These six are:
- Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal – UMNO Vice-President, lost Minister of Regional and Rural Development post during cabinet reshuffle.
- Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin – UMNO Deputy President, lost Deputy Prime Minister post during cabinet reshuffle.
- Dr. Mahathir – Former Prime Minister.
- Tengku Razaleigh – Ex-UMNO minister, current MP for Gua Musang, all-round good guy (so we heard).
- Tan Sri Sanusi Junid – Retired UMNO minister, left UMNO in 2008, not included in our count.
- Tan Sri Dato Sri Ong Tee Keat – Ex-MCA President, won’t be mentioned cos this article’s about UMNO. Sorry Dato’!
So what’s so epic about the picture above isn’t the fact that the table isn’t collapsing under the six political heavyweights, but rather that Tengku Razaleigh (in the white shirt) is seated next to Dr. Mahathir. For those of you who aren’t mindblown by this, it because Dr. M. and Tengku Razaleigh were at one time enemies as bitter as Mario and King Koopa, with the entire UMNO party being Princess Peach. Making a long story short, the rivalry between Dr. M and Tengku Razaleigh pretty much tore up UMNO, leading to the formation of a “new” UMNO party registered by Dr. Mahathir and the competing Semangat 46 by Tengku Razaleigh. Yep. The UMNO we know and love today isn’t the same UMNO from 1987. How? Mind blow or not? Also, -1 life if you were thinking of Princess Peach being torn up.
In the press conference, the group accused PM Najib of misusing SOSMA for political reasons, with Shafie and Muhyiddin saying that when they approved of SOSMA, “assurance was given, not just in Cabinet but in Parliament, that it would not involve politics”
BTW, we didn’t miss Dr. M. in this count… he has special mention later 🙂
Moderation poster boy Saifuddin Abdullah quits UMNO to join the Opposition
When: October 2015
Membership status: Quit to join PKR
Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah’s nickname as “the poster boy of moderation” isn’t just something the media made up… he (was) the CEO of the Global Movement of Moderates up till his resignation when he quit UMNO. He also earned this title by losing several leadership positions over the years for defending his liberal views and criticizing what he sees as extremism within certain factions of UMNO. You can read our interview with him and Tan Sri Kadir (another UMNO vet) on how the party has changed over the years.
As to why he’s decided to quit UMNO and join PKR, Saifuddin said that he has clear objectives to fight for political change and institutional reforms…
“However, after years in Barisan Nasional and Umno, I failed to see how these two objectives can be done comprehensively and conclusively (within the party). .. Since I am no longer compatible with Umno and Barisan, I therefore choose to fight on this side (PKR).” – Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, as quoted by The Rakyat Post.
And yeah, he’s also asked PM Najib to explain the 1MDB situation on live TV.
A mystery UMNO member sues PM Najib for USD 650 million! 😯
When: Since August 2015
Membership status: Dismissed from UMNO
So…. with all this news of PM Najib suing people (Ohai Wall Street Journal and ex-MCA President Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik!) and getting sued by other people (Ohai PKR!), a mystery UMNO member suddenly appears and makes all their lawsuits look more like lawpajamas by suing PM Najib for a cool USD 650 million! This amount isn’t some random figure either – it’s based off the USD681 million, or better known as the RM2.6 billion (alleged) donation (alleged) scandal. The lawsuit accused PM Najib of committing fraud by receiving the money in his private account and using it without the party’s knowledge and some other stuff you can read here.
And funny enough, just a few weeks before, a Wanita UMNO member from Langkawi named Anina Saaduddin accused PM Najib of lying to UMNO members in a video that went viral (Watch the video here). Among her choice words were:
“Tapi kita lihat kepada presiden kita yang sedang kencing kita setiap hari. Setiap hari kencing kita, keluar dekat televisyen merata-rata” – Anina Saaduddin, from the video quoted by Says.com
But waaaaait, did we accidentally start talking about someone else? No, this isn’t an editing fail, but rather because the mystery person who sued PM Najib and Anina Saadudin are the same person!
So how’s that for a plot twist? Anina is also suing on behalf of UMNO, since she claims that the party is unable to act against PM Najib on account of him being the party leader.
And the funny thing is that if Anina ever wins, the $650 million may be worth way more than the $681 million initially received due to our falling exchange rate 😆
THREE grassroots members asked PM Najib to
When: August, September 2015
Membership status: Current, 2 quit posts
Just to clarify, “grassroots member” is a term used to describe members who connect with people at the community level. The grassroots are important to a party because these are the guys who have the closest connection to voters. The three grassroots who spoke against PM Najib are:
- Moohamad Faizal Abdul Raub – Keliang branch youth chief and UMNO Youth Hulu Selangor exco member, quit all his posts.
- Asrul Esreen Mohd. Salleh – Tenggara UMNO youth committee member, quit his post
- Ramli Yunos – UMNO Pokok Sena activist
For the most part, the three are unhappy with recent events – which they say placed priority on saving PM Najib at the expense of the party. The three were particularly outspoken about the Red Shirt Rally, questioning if it was “for the Malays or for Najib“.
Another point that they mentioned was that people were losing faith in UMNO due to the issues and “selfish actions” of its leader and the unwillingness of top leaders to address them, something they couldn’t ignore due to their closeness with the community:
“Enthusiasm among my friends in the youth movement has faded. We are the ones who will go to the ground to campaign and meet with the people. But the top leaders refuse to listen to voices on the ground.” – Moohamad Faisal, as quoted by The Malaysian Insider.
We’ll discuss why this is important further down in the article.
The Johor Menteri Besar and his son who asked PM Najib alotta uncomfortable questions
When: August 2015
Membership status: Active, currently still Johor Menteri Besar.
There has been a lot of…um… discussions about PM Najib and the current state of his administration coming from Johor, so when it comes to the Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin – who is also Johor UMNO chief – kinda has to play the tightrope walking game when it came to supporting PM Najib. He has previously stated that PM Najib was the “captain of the ship” and needed the trust of members in order to wade through this critical time. On the other hand, he’s also made statements on Facebook urging members to not be quiet in the face of corruption after PM Najib announced that the MACC cleared him of corruption.
Khaled Nordin’s son, Akmal Saufi, was a little less diplomatic… the chairman of the security, law and integrity committee of Malaysia’s Youth Parliament posted 15 questions to PM Najib about the donation on Facebook. We won’t reproduce the questions here, but you can check out the original post in BM on his Facebook page or an English version on Astro Awani. Seriously, read these questions can cry.
MUHYIDDIN dances his way into our hearts (and out of the PM’s)
When: May 2015
Membership status: Currently Deputy President of UMNO
Back in May, ex-Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin became a minor YouTube sensation when a video of his speech at a closed-door UMNO meeting was leaked online. In the video, he talks about the possibility of UMNO losing power to the Opposition, throwing jabs at the UMNO party president (who wasn’t mentioned by name but… tahu takpe, k?), asking for the entire 1MDB board to be sacked, for the president to be sacked (don’t know if he meant 1MDB or UMNO president but… tahu takpe, k?), and topping everything off with what we’d like to call the Rakyat Beban Dance™
Unfortunately for Muhyiddin, it started an interpretive dance battle with PM Najib, who danced circles around Muhyiddin when he responded with the Cabinet Reshuffle™™
This led to Muhyiddin losing his post as Deputy Prime Minister and, although he retains his position as UMNO Vice-President, rumor has it that he’s being quietly sidelined from party activities for continuously voicing up about 1MDB.
A former minister asked Malaysians to pray for PM Najib to step down
When: May 2015, and earlier
Membership status: Current
Other than being a self-admitted Mahathir fanboy, Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin was the former Chief Editor of Utusan Melayu, MP, and Minister of Information. Nowadays though, he’s mostly heard through his blog where his political opinions (mostly against PM Najib) got him in a bit of a pickle when he was investigated under the Sedition Act.
Other than the usual stuff about PM Najib’s (alleged) scandals, he wrote a post debunking PM Najib’s comparison of himself to Dr. Mahathir, where Dr. M didn’t step down from power due to his support from the party and the rakyat. Zainuddin claimed that Dr. M’s support from the Chinese and Indians was stronger compared to PM Najib’s which are false “I love yous”.
In the same post, he asked Malaysians to join Dr.M, who was fulfilling his Umrah in Mecca, to pray for PM Najib to “open his heart and make the wise decision to step down…” (our translation).
Khairuddin Hassan lodged police reports against 1MDB… around the world!
When: Since December 2014
Membership status: Dismissed from UMNO
A former deputy chief of UMNO’s Batu Kawan division, Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan first made news when he lodged a police report against 1MDB at the Dang Wangi police station. Presumably, the action taken by the local police wasn’t enough, so Khairuddin and his lawyer Matthias Chang went on a traveling spree between June and August lodging police reports about 1MDB in France, London, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He was about to head off to the US to meet with the FBI (!!!) when he was arrested, taken to court, and RE-ARRESTED under SOSMA.
If you aren’t familiar with SOSMA, it’s not a Prime Minister’s wife but rather, an Act that was introduced for use against terrorists. We’ll say that again: Terrorists.
Because, according to IGP Khalid, the police reports and the handing over of 1MDB-related documents was an act of sabotage to the country. His travel buddy Matthias was also detained under SOSMA when he visited Khairuddin in jail.
You should read our full coverage on Khairuddin here, since his background is a more exciting story than Twilight.
And finally, the one who started it all, Dr. Mahathir.
When: Since time immemorial (not really, but you know what we mean)
Membership status: Current
Okay, you knew there was no way Dr. M couldn’t be on this list. In fact, we’ve mentioned him so many times before in all the other points that there’s really no need to add any points here.
To a certain degree, Dr. M can be considered the Patient Zero of the 1MDB and donation-related controversies since even 1MDB President Arul Kanda “credited” him with turning the firm into a subject of controversy despite Tony Pua bringing up the subject earlier.
If so many UMNO members are unhappy, then why don’t they all quit/vote against PM Najib?
So here’s the big question: If UMNO members are as unhappy as some sources (maybe even this article) say they are, why not quit the party or, better yet, support the no-confidence vote against PM Najib in Parliament? Well, there are a few reasons for this not happening…
The first is that many party members may not be standing in support with PM Najib, but they’re unwavering in their support for the party itself. Many of us carry the misconception that PM Najib = UMNO when we’re forgetting that UMNO consists of more than 3 million members from PM Najib all the way down to the guy on the street, and many of them genuinely believe in the good that the party is able to bring to the country, just as you would any other party you support. For example, Moohamad Faizal, the grassroots guy who quit his posts was asked if he would ever quit the party. His response was:
Never! I still trust Umno and I’m confident that there are still leaders with spirit in Umno and who hold on to the foundations of the party’s struggle.” – Moohamad Faizal, as quoted by Free Malaysia Today.
This brings us to the next point, which is that many might be afraid to act in fear of retaliation, or can’t get their voice heard. As the Cabinet reshuffle has shown, it’s still within a Prime Minister’s powers to select ministers according to his own criteria. It’s a possibility that some MPs or higher-level party members might be afraid of losing their posts. And if Dr. M. can be believed, some money politics may have been involved to win support. There’s also something to be said about a party’s policies when it comes to voicing dissent. In this context, the comparison can be made between the philosophies between BN and Pakatan (before the breakup). BN places an importance on collective decision-making while Pakatan acknowledges that they agree to disagree. There are pros and cons to each, in that BN’s makes it much harder to voice dissent while Pakatan’s… well, they broke up.
And lastly, perhaps most importantly, there’s the fear that PM Najib’s resignation might lead to BN being replaced as the ruling coalition. And this is the conundrum faced by many of the grassroots members who have expressed their discontent…. How do you support a party but not it’s leader?