The main party in Barisan Nasional (BN) government is the United Malay National Organization (UMNO).
Among the founders of UMNO was Onn Jaafar. He became leader of UMNO in 1946.
Interestingly, it was Onn Jaafar who was disappointed with the path UMNO had taken to soon after its inception. He became increasingly disgusted with what he considered to be UMNO’s race based communalist policies and Malay supremacist, and called for party membership to be opened to all Malayans, and not just Malays.
Onn Jaafar wanted UMNO to be renamed as the United Malayans National Organisation. When his recommendations went unheeded, he left the party in 1951, to form the Independence of Malaya Party (IMP), which was open to all races of Malaya.
So what does this show? It shows the founder of UMNO himself, was disappointed with the party he had founded, disappointed at how it came to be a party for an exclusive racial group of people.
By the setting up of IMP, I say Onn Jaafar signals he wanted a united multiracial Malaysian people, not separated based on face, language or religion, where all Malaysians can help one another based on needs and not all race.
But clearly the UMNO Onn Jaafar founded had disappointed him beyond anyone can imagine. Instead of opening up its doors to all Malaysians, it kept it to just Malays, and it sort of laid the foundation for racial based political coalition in Malaysia where each component parties are racial and communalist in nature.
So to be in the political scene, the Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indians have no choice but to form their own parties, the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) respectively.
And as none of each parties (UMNO, MCA or MIC) can win enough seats on own its own to form the government in a multiracial Malaysia, for the sake of convenience, these parties decided to come together and form the Alliance – the predecessor of BN.
So the leaders of UMNO, those succeeding Onn Jaafar had almost brought Malaysian down the path of no return, where by their acts of not allowing all Malaysians to join UMNO, they are in effect saying that in a multiracial Malaysia, it was impossible for them to work with leaders of other communities in a single entity.
They are in effect saying that it was better for multiracial Malaysians to set up separate “kingdoms”, and if need be, these individual “kingdoms” can come and work together, but still keeping their individual hold of the assets of their own individual “kingdom”. This is the way of BN.
So is BN the true way of bringing all Malaysians together? Or is it a way for each individual groups to safeguard themselves, and work together for a purpose of convenience?
Are Malaysians now ready to live true to the aspirations of UMNO founder leader Onn Jaafar?
Is there any entity where Malaysians can find the aspirations of Onn Jaafar to be still burning?