Najib declares Umno has changed, rallies support

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 1, 2012): Following up on his apology for Umno’s past wrongdoings, at the opening of the party’s 66th general assembly last Thursday, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak today closed the annual event by exuding optimism that the people’s confidence for Umno is well on recovery mode.

“There is such tremendous response,” he told a euphoric crowd of delegates who seemed charged-up to defend the party’s hold over Malaysia in the upcoming general election.

“Not just from the Malay people…. The non-Malays also see Umno more positively than in the earlier times.

“They see that with each passing day, Umno is recovering even more… With each passing day, they see that Umno is qualified even more, to rule this country.

“We have shown that we are capable to remedy our condition. We are closing ranks and displaying an extraordinary spirit,” he said in his presidential speech at the Putra World Trade Centre here.

Indicating to the party faithful – and voters at large – that Umno has indeed transformed and improved from what it was in the 2008 general election when the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition it led lost four states and its two-thirds majority in Parliament, he proceeded to dish out warnings at those in the party who may hamper it in the next election.

Najib, who is also Prime Minister, posed what he called “the golden question” for party members to ask themselves to assess their loyalty to Umno.

“If you are not selected as a candidate, will you offer full support to the ones chosen by Umno and BN (Barisan Nasional)?” he asked the crowd to ponder.

He then shot five possible answers a member in such a situation may have.

“The first is to fully support the candidates chosen by the party. The second is to give plain support. The third is not to work…

“The fourth is to sabotage. And the fifth, to jump from the party.”

Najib warned that while those gathered at the assembly were loyal, there are others – like a certain “former minister” and a “former deputy minister” – who can “betray the party.”

He called on the party’s rank and file to pledge that they would remain faithful to the party no matter what.

Najib then took pains to emphasise that the party and its government administration are changing, citing examples such as a move to consider loosening bankruptcy laws, as this was proposed by the part’s youth wing.

In the same vein, he then announced that Umno needs to seriously consider forming an institution so that its values and history can be transmitted to people via formal training and an appropriate curriculum.

Such an institution would help the party further entrench its power. “With this we would have a front that is even more formidable to face the challenges of the future,” he said.

And as though to counter the controversial prayer last month by political enemy PAS, for Umno’s destruction, Najib ended with an impromptu prayer to rejuvenate Umno’s power and fortunes in the face of the looming electoral challenge from PKR, PAS and DAP.

“As long as blood flows in our veins, our religion will be upheld, the Malay race will be championed, and the people will be prosperous,” he thundered, as the faithful in the already charged hall waved their banners, caps and shirts with “I love PM” painted all over.