JOHOR BAHARU – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak reminded Umno members today to begin the process of reforming the party with self-reformation as the first step to strengthen the party.
Najib, who is also Umno president, said the process of reforming the party did not rest with the top Umno leadership only but must also encompass everyone including members at the grassroots.
“Reformation means that we have motivation to struggle for the good of the party. If the people are happy with and have confidence in the Umno members, it represents the first process in building trustworthiness in Umno,” he said before opening the Johor Umno convention at the Berjaya Waterfront Hotel, here Friday.
The Prime Minister also criticised the attitude of some Umno members who placed more importance on self-interest and lacked the feeling of love for the party.
“Like in the past, when Tunku Abdul Rahman did not have enough money to go to London (to negotiate for the country’s independence), there were members who offered assistance but now, when we ask them to do work, some would ask what they would get in return,” said Najib cynically, which drew applause from the more than 800 Johor Umno delegates present at the two-day convention.
“Don’t be rich materially but lack the fighting spirit and feeling of love for the party. If we love the party, we will make extraordinary efforts for the party,” said the Prime Minister.
He said that reformation must also begin with a reality check by carrying out soul-searching and subsequently implementing reforms.
“We must realise that in practicing open democracy, eventually it’s a game of numbers. We must increase support for the party and subsequently interpret it in the growing number of seats to ensure that we are stronger,” he said.
“If the party is strong, if the party is still in power, the struggles can be continued,” said Najib.
At the same time, the Prime Minister said Umno members must be open-minded in order for the party to attract more young members so that it would remain relevant.
“If we have to make way, then give a chance to the others (young people for example). Only then the party will be perceived as a dynamic party, a fresh party that has integrity,” said the Prime Minister.
Referring to an excerpt from the speech of Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin who touched on modern and progressive reformation, inclusiveness, the Malays and Islam without ignoring the other ethnic groups, he said that these were among the ingredients and work scope needed for the survival of the party in the years to come.
“It is not wrong for me to say that it is most proper for the resurgence of Umno to begin here (in Johor). It is here that the resurgence of Johor Umno and Barisan Nasional as the pillar of our strength began. I am fully aware that the survival must begin in the Umno fortress,” he said.
The convention that began today was also attended by Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and party secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor. – Bernama