People asked me whether UMNO has changed..My answer is my beloved late father would not recognize the party today....It has travelled a long way and progress in all directions.
Before, people had sacrificed for UMNO to make sure that the party is strong and healthy. They had not taken from UMNO but instead they gave to the party. What members of UMNO possessed or the party had, they were very modest. There was sincerity, friendship and camaraderie.
I remember my father used to be gone to campaign for one week or fortnight in one stretch...no luxury but simple transportation...infrastructure to the villages and remote areas were difficult..no hotels, not even a budget hotel...the next best thing is to sleep in the house of Ketua Kampong or Penghulu or just a friend's house... as an Information Chief going round to all corners of Malaya then. His job was to explain to the Malays why they should support and join UMNO and later on why UMNO members should support Alliance. This was the politics of accommodation and compromise to achieve independence.
My dear mom was left with hardly any money to manage the family...but she understood this was for UMNO. She did not complain and accept that if this was for UMNO, it's alright. The majority of members were not rich and UMNO was not rich...Leaders were humble and had mutual respect for each other.. Even though they might differ.
My father's principle was to speak your mind if it is for the good of the party. UMNO GA was a time of straight talking and no speech was scripted to please the leader but for the good of the party. He believed if the party was strong, leaders would be too and government secured. Today's members are well endowed and the party is for the rich and elite.. Positions in party and government are sought after. Time has changed and we only can hope it would be able to survive the future.