Umno’s spirit will live on forever
KOTA TINGGI: Johor, the birthplace of Umno, has produced many formidable leaders since the time of the party’s first president, Datuk Onn Jaafar, who was born and bred in the state.
So synonymous is the state with the party that its leaders and grassroot members from Johor will beam with pride whenever they talk about the birthplace of their party.
Among Johor Umno’s veterans is former member of parliament and state executive council member Datuk Yusof Malim Kuning @ Abd Rahman Mohd Jani.
Yusof, 81, has been an active Umno member for the past 62 years. He first joined the party at 19 and has seen the party go through many successes and challenges.
He said the key to selecting a good candidate for a general election was to choose a person who was a local to that particular constituency.
He said this was vital to win voters’ trust as they wanted a leader who could be easily reached.
“In my 62 years with the party, I have seen and heard a lot of frustration and outcry from voters from many constituencies, who were neglected by their elected representatives as the latter did not stay in the same area.
“Now, they have assistants to represent them during meetings with the rakyat, and that, to me, is not appropriate at all.”
The Umno veteran said a local community leader had to serve the people. When the people could hardly meet their local leader, then the chosen candidate had broken his voters’ trust.
Yusof, who is known to his peers as “Yellow Pilot”, a literal English translation of his father’s name, Malim Kuning, said a noshow attitude by an elected representative would have an unfavourable effect on the people’s support of Umno.
Yusof, who was born in Kampung Sepak Hilir, Tenggara, Johor, had an early introduction to the political scene.
At 19, he became Umno Youth head of the Kampung Melayu Datuk Onn Umno branch in Johor Baru.
In 1969, he left Malaysia for Cairo, Egypt, to further his studies at the Al-Azhar University and graduated in Usuluddin and Islamic Studies four years later.
Opon returning to Malaysia, he started teaching religious studies