I'm constantly amazed at how everytime the incumbents want to remain in their respective positions or in power, they would equate avoiding a contest to avoiding a split in the party.
This is a problem created by people who demand personal allegience from the supporters of the party using their government positions as a tool to remain strong in the establishment. When this happens, then the loyalty shifts from the party to the individual leaders. It is a an understatement to say that it is unethical but the leaders advocate this behaviour to ensure their continued strength over the rest. When such leaders leave the party, we will see an exodus of his supporters following suit. This didn't happened when Dato' Onn Jaafar left UMNO because at that time, UMNO members were taught to be loyal to the party which is not the case today. I'd like to believe that today's UMNO members are equally loyal judging by the lukewarm response to Tun Dr Mahathir's call to leave the party but then this is election year in UMNO and everyone is gearing up with more zest then during the General Election because of personal interests.
I wonder how many have served earnestly in their respective divisions and actually made annual reports of their activities during the last, say four years of holding office. But they are still fighting tooth and nail, even challenging those deserving office bearers just so they can be recognized and bribed handsomely if they win coming up to the UMNO elections in December. Some even have outside leaders backing their bid out of spite just because the incumbent can see through the hypocritical methods of these leaders.
I don't see the willingness to offer oneself to contest in any position as an attempt to split the party. However, I see the willingness of certain powerful individuals demanding loyalty to him/herself as a crime towards party unity.
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's bid for President is not harmful. It is democratic. In fact he is being truthful to the current President by declaring his bid openly. It is up to the members to listen to him or any other possible and "honest" candidate before deciding who is best to lead the Party and subsequently the Nation.
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has declared that he will be defending his seat and with that, there are two candidates to choose from for the position of President. The members can make comparisons between the two and decide swiftly even before the last division holds its delegates' meeting.
Dato' Sri Najib Tun Abdul Razak has repeatedly said or implied that he will not contest the Presidency and will wait for the transition of power to take affect, which both he and Datuk Seri Abdullah had come to terms with.
The 3 million odd members are now aware of this and appreciate Dato' Sri Najib as he, like Tengku Razaleigh and Datuk Seri Abdullah are honest men and have declared their positions. This should give an indication to the Divisions of who is willing to contest for which posts.
This will not split the party as everyone knows what they want. What would split the party and give a rude headache is if Dato' Sri Najib says one thing while working to do the other, like contesting for President, confusing and not giving people enough time to digest and decide with a clear mind.
UMNO leaders must conduct themselves as gentlemen. This means they must say what they mean and mean what they say.
If there are any other contenders for President, please step up NOW and be accounted for or forever hold your piece. If there should be any amendments made to the UMNO constitution, they should add a clause whereby a candidate vying for the post of President in the party must declare it openly at least six months from the election date. The members must be given the space and time to choose the most appropriate candidate not only for President of UMNO but also for the Prime Ministersip of Malaysia.
UMNO members must not degrade themselves by being subservient to certain leaders. They must pledge their allegience to the Party and not to individuals with positions within the party and government. If they do the latter, they are prostituting themselves and helping the irresponsible leaders to destroy the party. UMNO must be given back to its members and this can only be done if the members themselves act with full responsibilty and with dignity.
Serve the Party, not the Leader. Remember this doctrine and we shall be saved.