Thursday, 15 October 2009

Najib wants party delegates to support his reforms...

Datuk Seri Najib, the Umno president, leads delegates in a rousing cheer at the party's general assembly this morning. (Reuters pic)

...for CHANGE for Umno to become a "progressive, dynamic and responsive" party.

Speaking at the opening of the Umno annual general assembly - his first policy speech since taking over the party presidency last March - Datuk Seri Najib Razak told the 2,541 delegates that Umno must change if it wants to retain its unbroken grip on power since Independence after the next general election.

He said that Umno aimed to reform itself into a “progressive, dynamic and responsive” party.

“Therefore, to continue to survive, Umno has no choice but to embrace reality. Umno must open its doors for change and improvement.”

To kick off the reform process, party delegates will have a closed-door debate today on seven amendments to the Umno constitution.

The seven motions include one to increase the voting base to elect leaders to the division level whereby 146,500 members will be eligible to vote as compared to only 2,510 delegates now.

It is a sign that the spirit of democracy remains alive in Umno, he said.

“Clearly, no other political party in Malaysia is brave enough to do the same,” he added and asked the delegates to abandon the vote-buying practice after the amendments were passed.

In reference to the party's landslide victory in the recent Bagan Pinang by-election, he warned the delegates that the victory did not indicate the party's full recovery.

“One swallow does not make a summer. We cannot be complacent or happy thinking that we are the party of choice just because other parties cannot be trusted, or in other words the best among the worse,” said Datuk Seri Najib.

But he would like to see a repeat of the success of winning over the support of the non-Malays in Bagan Pinang.

“Clearly, in mixed constituencies we want Umno to be accepted as a party that fights for not only the Malays but also other ethnic groups in Malaysia,” he said.

He called on the party to change the candidate-selection method in elections saying that the individual has to be accepted by the local community and possess the quality to serve at three important levels, the people, the party and the nation.

Datuk Seri Najib, who is also prime minister, took over the party six months ago from the then Umno president Tun Abdullah Badawi in wake of the unprecedented setback in the March 8 general election last year.

The party president reminded the delegates that Umno will remain a "centrist" party. “We are neither a leftist nor a right-wing party,” he said.

"Since its formation 60 years ago, Umno has accommodated the left, right, nationalists and religious scholars."

In his more than two-hour speech titled "Uphold tradition, and fostering change", Datuk Seri Najib stressed that Umno is a party which championed the welfare of the people.

"Umno must not be seen as representing certain people. Instead, the party must be seen as an inclusive party which put the peoples' interests at the forefront, and not oneself".

He also criticised the opposition for branding Umno as a racist party.

"If it is true Malays are racist as alleged, we would not accommodate other ethnic groups such as vernacular schools, and it would not be possible for Umno to work with other races and component party members.”

Najib said following BN's heavy losses in last year's general election, the opposition had predicted the demise of Umno.

He said many people had wanted to “mentalqinkan” on Umno.

“They say Umno is buying extra time before it dies. This is not the first time that they have made such a prediction

“When a group of members split from Umno to form PAS, such premonition was made and similarly after the May 13, 1969 racial riots or the 1988 Umno elections, which led to the formation of Parti Semangat 46, or the 1999 elections.”

He said Malaysians had sent a strong message to Umno at the 2008 general election. However, he vouched that Umno would rise again.

“Alhamdulillah, Umno has managed to surpass all those challenges and we have managed to rise and become stronger. Umno was formed with the ulama, educationists, farmers, fishermen and traders.”

“If we remain united, work towards our common goal and put in the effort, we will climb the highest mountain and go down the deepest ravine and swim the deepest ocean. We shall overcome the odds,” he said.


Anonymous said...

Ucapan yang amat menarik. I listened to his whole speech. And I liked the way he spoke with - conviction on the change & reform in Umno.

On the BN's victory in Bagan Pinang, I had expected him to tepuk dada and gloat abt it. He didnt.

If he could reform Umno the way he desired for the good of the country, he has voters like me, go back to supporting Umno/BN because I am just so tired of the antics of PR.

Believe you me. I have enough of them.

puteri said...

Support for both Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) had been eroded in the last general election, admits Najib.

It’s a challenge that the party faces to regain lost ground, especially among the young voters.

The victory in Bagan Pinang cannot be used as a yardstick of resurgent electoral support.

Umno has to work hard, change and reform to make it relevant, so said Najib.

How successful this process will be and how long it will take is left to be seen.

Let’s hope Najib can now live up to the promises he made.

Lee said...

If the PM is sincere and his reforms are real, it follows that UMNO will eventually be the acronym for United Malaysians National Organization.Many of us have our doubts as he is allowing some racial bigots in the mainstream media and also some blogs to promote "racial misunderstandings"
while he himself apparently is promoting 1Malaysia.A bit confusing to the average Malaysians, as 1Malaysia gives the connotations that Malaysia is for all Malaysians irregardless of races.

matt said...

Anon 4:35pm,

The hardest part of this reform and change that Najib speaks of is how to convince the rakyat that he means what he says.

You talk abt change yet in the recent by-election, you put a recycled and tainted candidate.

Ok the candidate won big, but what Najib did ran contrary to the pledge he made at the Umno assembly today.

Anonymous said...

Talk is cheap lah. Why chose Isa Samad? You want to wipe out corruption/money politics but chose one who was guilty of that offence. How to change like that? How to reform?

You say something and you do something else. Will see if these promises of change will translate into action.

We'll be watching.

Anonymous said...

It amazes me no end to read that Umno youth leader Kj asking Malays to end the siege mentality. Is he for real? So politically correct? Wasn’t it some three Umno general assemblies ago that this keris-wielding deputy Umno chief then had asked the Malays to stand up &be united against other ethnic groups who threaten to take away the Malay rights and so on? It is indeed heartening to hear his message in his maiden speech. Hope he mean what he said and that it was not a mere pr exercise.

Anonymous said...

Like Anon 5:53:00pm, I sat through it all.

Am surprised at myself...found Najib's speech inspiring. I think it's one of the best speeches by an Umno President. I never failed to listen to Tun Dr M's speech at the UMNO assembly in the past.

I stopped watching the presidential speech when Pak Lah became party president becus they were sooo uninspiring.

But Najib made his mark in his maiden speech. It was a non-nonsence speech. He explained clearly the reasons why Umno should change, why they were relevant, pleading to delegates.

I saw teary-eyed delegates at the end of the speech. So emotional. His speech must have touched them. I was. The only other time I saw delegates unashamely crying on TV was when Tun Dr M announced he was stepping down at the end of the Umno GE in 2002.

Wow, Najib has suceeded in turning me over!