KUALA LUMPUR – Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak took the delegates on a journey through critical moments in the history of UMNO to show how loyalty to the top leadership had saved the party and made it stronger.
He referred to the Wala’ (fidelity) Principle which concerns the values of loyalty and accord and which looks upon the top post in the party or government as an institution.
“The fidelity and loyalty to the institution which I occupy is due to the reponsibilities that it bears and the trust that party members and Malaysians place on it,” the UMNO president and Prime Minister said.
Najib said that he himself had always adhered to this principle as was the case during the 1987 UMNO crisis when the party was split right down the middle between Team A and Team B.
Although he was “very close” to Team B leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and “will forever respect him”, he chose to side with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (who was then Datuk Seri).
“I did this based purely on the wala’ principle and its demand of loyalty to the party president,” Najib said.
Another “dark episode” that he recalled was the Kuala Lumpur High Court decision to declare UMNO an illegal organisation.
“Who during this critical and scary period stood firm behind Dr Mahathir and helped him as the party president until the new UMNO was officially accepted?” Najib said.
“Who else … who else if not us, the people of UMNO,” he said to loud applause.
Dr Mahathir gave him the task of activating the Youth machinery to recruit members.