ad info

 > magazine
 web features
 magazine archive
 customer service
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Other News
TIME Europe
Asiaweek Services
Contact Asiaweek
About Asiaweek
Media Kit
Get up to 3 months of Asiaweek free when you subscribe online!


How Much Change?: 'To win back voters, UMNO has started tackling some of their concerns and taking more independent-minded people into the top ranks. But the jury is still out on its reform commitment.' — July 14

UMNO's success means that it must be doing something right ["Thinking Hard About Reform: Can the New Faces Change UMNO?" THE NATIONS, July 14]. The United Malays National Organization helped Malaysia achieve over 8% GDP growth continuously for 10 years before the onset of the Crisis, to be among the world's top 20 trading nations and arguably the most advanced Islamic country today. UMNO has also dealt successfully with political extremism and religious fanaticism. Its recent handling of the threat posed by the Al-Ma'unah terrorists is one example. UMNO will continue to fight fanaticism and extremism, including that espoused by a large section of supporters of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (Pas).

Of course, we may not be right all the time. But we are willing to listen and learn from mistakes. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (pictured), who is UMNO president, is a particularly good listener. He has an ear close to the ground and is not bogged down by protocol in order to be nearer to the people. In fact, he is spending more time for the party now than ever before. Taking his cue, UMNO is becoming very open and we are reaching out to the young, the professionals, the NGOs and religious leaders as well.

We have inducted fresh faces, critics among them, into UMNO's main bodies, including the governing supreme council. People with ideas and those fired by idealism are being courted and accommodated. We have once again positioned the party at the forefront of debate. We have assigned party leaders to take part in debates in the local campuses and the media and meet students abroad.

Asiaweek calls all these, rather luxuriously, UMNO's own reformasi. We shall settle for plain "adjustment." Sure, we were somewhat disappointed with the results of the last general election, but we have since taken concrete actions and are making serious efforts to appeal to the electorate. It might take a while for UMNO to recover lost ground, but let no one underestimate our capacity and capability. Change are slowly but surely taking place. There is a new spirit and vigor among UMNO's 2.8 million members as we face new challenges.

We are a party of moderates and will remain so. The majority of Malaysians still place their trust in UMNO and hope the party will continue its realistic, progressive policies.

Mustapa Mohamed
UMNO Information Chief
Kuala Lumpur

You quoted Mahathir as saying: "UMNO's members have forgotten the Malay national spirit. They have become greedy." The PM, in a closed-door dialogue with bumiputra (sons of the soil) businessmen, has also been reported as expressing his disappointment with the low level of bumiputra participation in the retail trade and that they prefer to obtain contracts, projects and approved permits from the government.

This should not be a great mystery. As long as the government continues to dish out contracts on a negotiated basis, government assets/projects are privatized behind closed doors, and approved permits given to a privileged few, can we blame the bumiputras for being greedy and aspiring entrepreneurs among them shunning the cut-throat world of retail? The government's policy is a double-edged sword. Such contracts, projects and permits, by their nature limited in number, can only be divided among a few and this inevitably causes resentment both among the majority of bumiputras as well as the non-bumiputras. Is it any wonder Malaysians are bosan (sick and tired) of all the talk about good governance and transparency? Cannot a more equitable way be found to assist our poorer bumiputra countrymen?

"Kampung Economist"
(Name supplied)
Kota Kinabalu

Misplaced 'Jihad'
I am a Muslim and I take exception to the call by Salamat Hashim, chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), for a jihad, if the term means taking up arms against Christians as the media's connotation would have us believe [LETTERS & COMMENT, July 28]. The fall of Camp Abubakar could be a blessing in disguise as it gives a much-needed respite from bloodshed for all. It had become apparent this last couple of months that Filipinos were being maimed or dying senselessly. Both sides have suffered enough casualties. But it is the civilians, Muslims and Christians alike, who have borne the brunt of this war.

While the government has to do a lot more in meeting our socio-economic development needs, further bloody confrontations will only aggravate the situation. Waging a jihad can never be the solution, nor can it be justified since Islam or its propagation is not being put in peril by the government's military victory. Let us be reminded of the words of the late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia: "Jihad is not taking up the gun or raising the sword. Jihad is to invite to the Book of God and the example of the Prophet, to hold fast to them despite difficulties, distresses and afflictions of all kinds."

Nasser Dahalan
Maharlika Village
Taguig, Rizal

Write to Asiaweek at

This edition's table of contents | Home


Quick Scroll: More stories from Asiaweek, TIME and CNN


U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN
Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?


COVER: Giant on the Move
An emerging Asian superpower
On the Move: The people who are reshaping the nation
Worth Knowing: People with a role to play as India grows
The Economy: Risk-takers and innovators take center-stage
Wealth: The big six
Question Time: An interview with Azim Hashim Premji
Personally Speaking: Distinguished Indians scan the way ahead
The Military: Adding muscle in a bid for a regional role
The Media: Tough competition in a free and lively environment
Mass Culture: From beauty to fashion, India sets the pace

COVER: Playing the Modern Game
Improve your golf game with better technology

Face Off: Audio recorders

Healthcare: Take care on websites for the unwell

Net Gains: Be wary of stock tips in chat rooms

E-vesting: The high cost of online trading

Asiaweek/CNN Tech Index: The Asiaweek/CNN basket of 40 companies

B2B: Learning the job online

Wired Exec: A Manila publisher at work and play

Cutting Edge: Point, shoot and print — digitally

Troops: Why America may have to pull its soldiers out of Asia

Pyongyang: Is there substance behind its new, improved style?

Letters & Comment: UMNO on the changes within


ASEAN: North Korea steals the limelight at the Bangkok meeting
Agreement: Rail uniting the Koreas
Interview: With East Timor's Gusmao and Ramos-Horta

INDONESIA: Who bombed the Philippine ambassador?

THAILAND: The big parties are gearing up for the general election
Interview: Chalerm on the NAP's future prospects

Scandals: Imelda is caught with her hand in the cookie jar

KASHMIR: A ceasefire brings hopes of peace — maybe

Newsmakers: Reading Anson Chan's moves

Viewpoint: Time to re-examine sanctions on Myanmar

Performance: Is Hong Kong's GEM the worst stock exchange?
Competition: How Asia's other second-boards are doing

Investing: Stay the course in telecommunications and electronics

Insurance: Agents scramble to sell the mainland peace of mind
Charge: Card issuers expect China's consumers to embrace credit

Business Buzz: The teetering house of Hyundai

Back to the top   © 2000 Asiaweek. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.