TUN Dr Mahathir was actually inviting ridiculous remarks and responses when he said how Umno today only accepts memberships among the fools. He seems to ave forgotten the era of 22 years he fooled the Malays in Umno and made some of them his stooges.

I was a journalist (I became one a few months before he became Umno president and prime minister) when he took over from Tun Hussein Onn, whom he described as a nice person in his 'A Doctor in The House'. He mentioned nothing about how he led a pact to pressure Hussein to step down n 1977 (according to Dato Harun Idris jotting in his Diary in Prison).

As the president, he ruled the party under a doctrine of 'fear the bosses', thus shutting doors to young and emerging professional leaders to contest any position, unless they got a blessing from him or his inner circle. It was during his tenure that saw the youth joining Pas and other parties because the door to political pinnacle in Umno was slammed, airtight.

That made him the king. His 22-year 'stint' in Umno saw him met with almost no contention, except when Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah tried to oust him as the president in 1986. This has led to Ku Li forming Semangat 46 together with some Umno seniors who were blase with Dr M's dictatorial leadership.

It was after the 1986 incident that saw how the No.1 and No.2 seats remained unopposed, an undemocratic decision opposed by the minority but reluctantly approved by the majority. In this way, only the president was solidly fortified. As for the rest, they had to bank on hopes, popularity and money.

When he said that Umno today only accepts the fools, it actually goes back to his time. His dictator-style of managing Umno was overshadowed by his success in administering the country as a prime minister. But then, only the riches got richer and the Malay/Bumiputera agenda didn't really achieve its objectives.

As I recall, nobody dared to contest his decision but to abide by his serenade. Although not everybody share the same note with him, they just sit back in order to safeguard their positions and interest. I don't have to detail out how he managed to overturn the 'rebellion' after using his presidential power to appoint Sanusi Junid as Kedah mentri besar in 1996).

He was untouchable. Even the Council of Rulers couldn't do much. Umno became an association of fools when every each and single member was made to 'come down on their knee', adopting every decision and action he made.

Umno also couldn't do much when seeing so many graduates and youth joined Pas because the Islamic party was declared an enemy by Mahathir. No way that the young professionals could find a place and solace in Umno when the top seniors and veterans were also squabbling for position.

So, why only now that he said Umno is a party of fools? Why only now that he realised how important to hear the voice of youth in the party? Had they were allowed to contest all posts in Umno then, Mahathr would not last two terms as the president.

But all this was done to safeguard his position in Umno and the Central Government. His close aides too were hoping that he would stay long enough for them to 'grab whatever available to make them rich'. That's explain the shock and 'grief' when he announced with crocodile tears of the intention to retire during the 2003 general assembly.

I do not wish to write longer. However, I would like to tell him nicely that Umno since Abdullah Badawi, Najib Razak and Zahid Hamidi is a party which looks into the importance of youth in nation-building, recognising their talent and effort and giving them more places in the party and civil sector.

Please do not try to create a diversion from the Sandakan case, the white lies by the Cabinet on the many aspects of the economy and other matters, Anwar as the next PM and the intention to have Mukhriz instead of Anwar.

The Malays in Umno now are more alert and more aware of the surrounding, with regards your PH government and its blunders. Just concentrate on your legacy for the rich and famous instead of making foolish remarks about others.

Get your Cabinet ministers to set a world standard in their respective portfolio. You had your long time with riding Umno, some still love and respect you. Some may still remember, some may not but you remember all that took place in Umno since 1981-2003.

By the way, did you write anything in your time capsule, supposed to be opened last year? Why didn't you open it?