Umno’s spirit will live on for­ever

New Straits Times - - News -

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

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