KUALA LUMPUR – The enemy lines have clearly been drawn and strategies for success outlined as Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak rallied his army of some 3.6 million UMNO members to face, what is expected to be a stiff battle for the 14th general election (GE14).
What the UMNO president and prime minister managed to do during the Dec 5-9 party caucus at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) was instilling confidence in the minds of delegates of them marching into the battlefield with a strong, credible party, well capable of continuing its legacy of solid leadership.
As one debater put it, UMNO was honourably born, its seven-decade history filled with sacrifices and contributions to the people and the country – unlike certain opposition parties whose raison d’etre was one of anger and frustration.
The UMNO general assembly sent a clear signal that the party was solidly behind Najib.
And what is working in Najib’s favour is that he is steering the UMNO ship as its sole admiral – unlike the opposition Pakatan Harapan which finds itself with several captains, each eyeing their on destinations.
In his winding-up address today, Najib took aim at the inconsistencies and the chaos that reigned in the opposition camp.
He was basically saying that this “cartoonish” performance was not how to govern a country like Malaysia.
Najib said what UMNO and Barisan Nasional (BN), of which he is chairman, had to offer now and going forward was a holistic agenda with game-changing initiatives that would benefit all strata of the Malaysian society.
And the support for Najib was evident as the party’s Puteri, Youth and Wanita leaders, along with party vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is carrying out the role of the deputy president, took the stage before him to deliver their winding-up remarks expressing their unequivocal backing for their leader.
Similarly, the loud cheers and applause that punctuated Najib’s speech from the sea of party faithfuls clad in blue who filled the Dewan Merdeka attested to their whole-hearted support for Najib.
UMNO has also avoided a leadership tussle down the road when delegates unanimously approved the motion of no-contest for the posts of party president and deputy president.
And Najib drew smiles all round when he addressed Ahmad Zahid as UMNO’s de facto deputy president at the start of his speech.
“This (motion of no-contest) brings stability to the party. Stability in terms of party leadership will translate into a stable political landscape in the country,” Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said,
Najib, he said, was a visionary leader aiming to bring Malaysia to greater heights and he could achieve just that with a faithful and diligent right-hand man by his side.
This latest development points to the BN’s backbone party having the polls squarely on its radar, determined to score big with the electorate.
The opposition has hardly enough ammunition to fire, what with UMNO and BN’s sterling track record of achievements in terms of service to the people and the country under their belt.
And these are compelling success stories that UMNO and BN members should shout out from the rooftops with the promise of more good things to come with a big GE14 win.
But still, mindful of what transpired in GE13 when the opposition played with people’s sentiments by waging a war of perception against UMNO and BN, Najib cautioned that GE14 would not be a walk in the park.
He dared UMNO members to go the extra mile in countering falsehoods and misperceptions by becoming cybertroopers themselves.
Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, in his concluding speech, stressed that UMNO was the party of the future and this should be reflected in its line-up of candidates for the polls.
“What we would like to see is diversity in the line-up. Besides the seniors, do include more women and younger faces so that we’re seen as a party that’s young and contemporary,” he said while acknowledging that Najib had the final say on this matter. – BERNAMA