Leading Malaysian Malay political party, the United Malays National Organization or UMNO is 62 today.
If UMNO is a human being, the party can be considered as being in its twilight years, however, democratically it is tightening its members' freedom.
Party leaders, especilly those holding divisional posts, were directed not to issue any press statement or speak to the media on party matters. They were also 'advised' not to hold extraordinary general meetings (EGM) to discuss UMNO's poor performance in the recent 12th general elections and the question of leadership changes.
Recent developments in UMNO can be described as bad omen for the party.
When UMNO celebrated its 30th anniversary in 1976, former party president and the country's first prime minister, Almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, said that UMNO "is not quite like the UMNO of yesteryear. There have been many alterations in its political set-up and outlook, perhaps because the times have changed". That was 32 years ago.
The Tunku warned that any move that contradicted UMNO's basic policy would spell danger, and so "today's leaders have to be careful before making any change".
Tunku, who took over UMNO's leadership from Datuk Onn Jaafar in 1951, tirelessly reminded his party members that Malaya/Malaysia is a country of many races. "If they cannot live together then the danger is they will fight one another and if that happens, then God help us. I consider it the duty of every leader in this country to work for peace and goodwill".