KUALA LUMPUR – DATUK Seri Najib Razak has warned Selangor Umno to run a tight ship or risk losing in the state for the third consecutive time.
In his speech at the Selangor Umno 2014 Convention yesterday, Najib, who is Umno president, was frank in his comments concerning the state liaison committeeâ€™s performance after losing twice to the opposition. He said Selangor Umno should not be lethargic in its approach to rejuvenate its political base. The prime minister said the state Umno should come to terms with reality on the ground in preparation for the 14th General Election.
Najib listed three â€œreality checksâ€ for Selangor Umno leaders to review: they have lost the state twice; Selangor is an economic crown jewel of the nation; and the state liaison committee had employed the wrong strategy to attract voters from semi-urban and urban areas.
â€œWe must devise a new approach. You cannot expect a different outcome if you keep using the same strategy. We must change our mindset. For example, in rural areas, you can employ politics of development. The demands in rural areas are usually on the need for new mosques or surau and a proper road network, apart from good power and water supply. But it is not the same in semi-urban and urban areas. The voters there are well-informed. They have different needs.
â€œSome even think that they can survive without the government. Hence, our approach (to convince that Barisan Nasional is the betterchoice) must be different.â€
He said the time had come for Selangor Umno leaders to get acquainted with such voters and reminded them not to choose candidates based on political expediency. Touching on BNâ€™s dismal performance in Selangor in the 13th General Election, Najib said a new roster of election candidates should comprise truly â€œwinnableâ€ individuals, not those chosen from political camps.
â€œWe have lost in the state twice. In 2004, we managed to hold on to 54 seats out of 56. In the 12th General Election, however, we only secured 20 seats. The number dwindled further to 12. I am tired and embarrassed to have our party labelled as (and being) the opposition in Selangor.
â€œNow, we must ask ourselves â€” when we chose our candidates, is it because they can win the election? I have repeatedly said that we must select winnable candidates. (In response) everyone says that they (the candidates) are all winnable.
â€œNow, judging from the results, we must select credible candidates who can win for the party. We cannot resort to parachute candidates, or list them based on vested interests or political camps. We must prioritise the partyâ€™s success, rather than (political) position,â€ said Najib to applause from party members.
He also criticised the state liaison committee as slow in its approach to increase support for the party.
â€œI was told by party secretary-general (Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor) that the developments in Selangor are not encouraging. We must do more… tak boleh lembab (cannot be slow).
â€œWhy is there no increase in the number of voters and party members?â€
Najib urged state leaders to strike while the iron was hot, especially when the people were fast becoming disillusioned with the antics of opposition leaders during the Selangor water and leadership crises.
â€œThe opposition pact does not walk its talk. They claim to champion democracy, but then again, take a look at what had happened.
â€œWe must show that people are our top priority. We must show that we are honest in our endeavours to care for the people,â€ said Najib.
Present was state Umno liaison chief Datuk Seri Noh Omar. – NST Online