KUALA LUMPUR – The 2014 Umno general assembly ended today with a firm and clear message from the party president that the special rights and privileges of the Malays, rulers and Islam, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution, should no longer be questioned.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Malaysians should stop fighting over the matter and to focus on efforts to further develop the country.
“There is a limit to freedom. Freedom is not absolute. (One) cannot insult Islam, cannot challenge the special rights and privileges of the Malays, cannot question the monarchy system, the Royal Malay Regiment and we safeguard the interests of other races.
“Then, there will be peace. Always fighting, no work can be done. I want us to focus on developing our beloved Malaysia. We want to bring Malaysia forward,” he said in his speech when winding up the assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre on Saturday.
His speech was greeted with loud applause from the more than 2,700 delegates in the Merdeka Hall.
Najib said the Sedition Act 1948 was retained based on his responsibility to maintain national peace and harmony as well as to handle the action of certain groups who disputed the federal constitution.
“People say that the Sedition Act is not democratic, the international press attack me. (Accuse) that I went back on my word, use pressure.
“I want to inform, my responsibility as the prime minister is to maintain peace and security in our country,” said Najib, who announced the retention of the Sedition Act 1948 when delivering his Presidential Policy Speech on Thursday.
Recalling how Malaysia gained its independence, enjoy peace and racial harmony in the country of various races and religions, he said that the solidarity concept was the key to success.
Najib also explained that the solidarity that he had emphasised when delivering the presidential policy speech and had become the topic of debate at the Umno General Assembly this time meant: ‘unite in one strong and solid force’.
Showing the audience a copy of the Sept 1, 1957 issue of The Sunday Times, Najib said the words by the country’s first Prime Minister, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, “Look at the past with gratitude, look to the future with confidence”, remained relevant until Saturday.
He said the confidence was attained from the struggle by Umno since pre-Independence until today.
However, Najib drew the delegates’ attention on the need for Umno and BN to continue to win the support of other races.
He said it was not possible for the past national leaders to form the Alliance Party, which represented the three largest ethnic groups in the country, and later rebranded as BN, if it did not benefit the Malays.
“That is why it is important for us to look after BN, but not to the extent of sacrificing principles which are close to the heart of the Malays.
“People say Malays are fair, firm, then why the need for the social contract and so on? It is because we are not only concerned about the election, but also to build a nation (Malaysia) and race that is successful,” he added.
Meanwhile, Najib also blasted the opposition pact which he described as “the mother of all corruption” for attempting to offer a substantial amount of money to an Umno leader to bring a BN member of parliament to join the opposition in 2008.
The prime minister criticised the practice of nepotism by the opposition which ‘sacrificed’ an innocent member of the party merely to make way for others to hold position.
“(The opposition) can ask their elected representative to step down (because) the wife wanted to contest. Asked an innocent menteri besar (MB) to step down because the wife wanted to become MB.
“This is the biggest nepotism. Why don’t we blame him. Attack the opposition,” he pointed out.
Referring to the rejuvenation issue which was hotly debated by the delegates at the general assembly this time, Najib reminded the 3.47 million party members that Umno had to draw up the best strategy to realise the party cadreship agenda.
Realising the ‘coolness’ between a small section of the old leaders and the new which had existed even from before, he again stressed the importance of all the generations in Umno to cooperate to move in a single direction.
“If we have to look behind us and feel that there are people wanting to attack us, then we will never achieve solidarity. But, in the meantime, where necessary (we) give a chance,” said Najib.
However, he said, the opportunity would only be given to the young people who were truly qualified and fulfilled the traits of future Umno leaders that had been outlined.
Najib said what was important was that every Umno member must rejuvenate the spirit of the Umno struggle in themselves. – Bernama