KUALA LUMPUR – Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the mammoth gathering of members to celebrate UMNO’s 71st anniversary at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow night is a manifestation of the party’s commitment to remain in the front line with Barisan Nasional (BN) partners in the government for the well-being of the people.
The deputy prime minister and UMNO vice president who conduct the duties of the UMNO deputy president urged all party members to make the event a platform to raise the spirit of togetherness and to champion the people.
“I would like to remind myself and all UMNO members that this birthday celebration is the last before the 14th General Election (GE14).
“UMNO must rise for the well-being of the people, Insya-Allah,” he said in an interview in a special talk programme on Bernama News Channel (BNC) in conjunction with UMNO’s 71 st anniversary last night.
He said what is more important in the gathering is not merely the turnout, expected to reach over 140,000 of the 3.6 million UMNO members, nor is the uniformity of colour, but the injection of spirit of understanding.”
“In UMNO’s 71 year celebration, we do not just look up at the stars in the sky, but must also look at the grass. This means we have to be keep our feet on the ground.
“It is not just about winning the applause but a manifestation of a sense of togetherness between UMNO and the leadership, and to show the teamwork within UMNO.
“We must put aside the difference of opinion and give priority to the core issue, that is to give victory to UMNO so that the party will remain as the backbone of BN.”
Zahid said UMNO always keep track of the cooperation of all parties, by recognising the leadership at grassroots level because their role is vital, that is to mobilise the party machinery to gain victory in GE14.
“The government is determined to continue development programmes for all groups, without any exception, especially to the younger generation, via new ideas under National Transformation 2050 (TN50), which is shaped by the recommendations and expectations of the young and professionals in various field via a “bottom up” approach.
“TN50 envisaged by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, will give new hope to the young generation for the future labour market in professional groups and the provision of adequate infrastructure for the benefit of the people.
“UMNO through the wisdom of the party leadership, will involve all groups as candidates in GE14, including young people and women. No group is excluded from representation as they can provide the best service for all.”
Zahid said the two criteria used to select party candidates for GE14 is the candidate who can win (winnable candidates) and the candidate who is favoured by the people (likeable candidates).
UMNO will also tap into new communication channels to face GE14 mainly through the social media, which was not fully utilised during the 13th General Election (GE13).
On the possibility of cooperation between UMNO and PAS in GE14, he said the two parties never thought about political cooperation in politics.
The ongoing cooperation between the two parties are in the form of understanding in the fight for the interests of Islam and the Muslims.
For example, the fight to help and find a solution to the problem of the Rohingya in Myanmar, efforts to strengthen the syariah courts through Act 355, the Daesh militants and the Palestinian issue.
“There is chemistry and the feeling of togetherness is present being felt. I hope the members at the grassroots can feel it too. This is not not a political marriage but an understanding.
Zahid said it is not easy for the two political parties to change all of a sudden.
“It is a process, a political and social evolution. Alhamdulillah, this has overcome the hatred in the minds of the UMNO and the PAS members,” he added.