Malaysia's magnificent seven?

At every annual assembly of Umno, artists display murals and paintings of the party's role in obtaining Malaysia's independence 60 years ago and depict some of the past heroes of the Malay nationalist party. The paintings that attract the most attent
ST PHOTO: SHANNON TEOH

At every annual assembly of Umno, artists display murals and paintings of the party's role in obtaining Malaysia's independence 60 years ago and depict some of the past heroes of the Malay nationalist party. The paintings that attract the most attention are usually those showing Umno's current and previous chiefs in traditional Malay regalia, complete with the tanjak (headdress) and the keris (dagger). Here, the montage, titled Seven Statesmen, depicts Umno's seven previous presidents, with Prime Minister Najib Razak at the centre. The others are (from left) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tun Hussein Onn, Datuk Onn Jaafar, Tun Abdullah Badawi, Tunku Abdul Rahman and PM Najib's late father, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein. Apart from Umno's founder, Mr Onn, the other six men became Malaysia's prime ministers. Interestingly, of the seven men, four later left Umno over heated political disagreements - Mr Onn, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Mr Hussein and now Dr Mahathir. And the artist appears to have painted the face of former deputy prime Muhyiddin Yassin to represent Dr Mahathir. Both men are now with the opposition.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2017, with the headline 'Malaysia's magnificent seven?'. Print Edition | Subscribe