KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — The Umno general assembly should have been a venue to discuss issues affecting Malaysians but it instead focused only on how to keep the Malay nationalist party in power, PKR vice president Nurul Izzah Anwar said today.
In a biting commentary piece published by Malay language daily Sinar Harian, the Lembah Pantai MP also categorised Umno leaders as “kaki pau” (a colloquial Malay term for extortionists) who used to prey on friends during her school days.
“The Umno general assembly four days ago reminded me of the tales my friends from university, of how they were extorted in Kuala Lumpur.
“It appears that the behaviour of Umno leaders is no different from these extortionists, differing only by degrees,” she wrote in an opinion piece titled “Apa lagi Umno mahu” (What more does Umno want).
The title appeared to be a play on that used by Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia, “Apa lagi Cina mahu” (What more do the Chinese want), in an article blaming the Chinese community for not supporting Barisan Nasional (BN) during the general election.
In her piece today, the daughter of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim pointed out that while Umno leaders had, prior to Election 2013, said they were concerned about the rising cost of living faced by Malaysians, they appeared to have no issues exacerbating the problem now.
“But after winning, the movement to ‘extort’ the people began mercilessly.”
Pointing to the looming Goods and Services Tax (GST), fuel subsidy cuts, raised power tariffs and removal of price support for sugar, Nurul Izzah said the Umno-led federal government appeared intent on making the people pay for their extravagances.
The second-term federal lawmaker further said that substantive financial reforms meant implementing measures that would raise the income levels of Malaysians across the board, rather than imposing more taxes and raising prices that would hurt the lower income, most of whom were Malay.
“Apparently, they are only interested in short-term measures to refill the country’s coffers by ‘extorting’ the people,” she added.
The Umno general assembly that ended on Saturday saw delegates clamouring for the Malay community to be rewarded for its support during Election 2013, which saw the Malay party gain in strength even as its BN allies faltered.
In the May 5 general election, Umno took 88 seats — nine more than in 2008 — from the 133 that BN managed to retain, making it the single most dominant party in Dewan Rakyat.
Among others, they had pressed the party’s leaders to ensure government-linked corporations (GLCs) were more forthcoming with awards, contracts and jobs for the communities, with one delegate suggesting that the firms be made to produce on Malay millionaire each once every two years.
Other calls included more than doubling the Bumiputera share equity quota from the current 30 per cent to 67.9 per cent, to reflect the country’s racial composition.