Leaders of Umno wings promise not to bicker for seats

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 19 Jun 2003

PHOTO GALLERY: 57th Umno General Assembly 

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KUALA LUMPUR: Leaders of the three Umno wings have pledged their commitment to ensure a big victory for the Barisan Nasional in the next general election. 

The Wanita, Youth and Puteri heads agreed never to bicker over the question of candidates. 

They pledged instead to focus their energy towards preparing for the election. 

The three leaders made the pledge at a press conference during the lunch break of the movements’ annual general assemblies at the Putra World Trade Centre yesterday. 

Umno Youth chief Datuk Hishamuddin Hussein said the movement would never compromise on this matter. 

“We know that we don’t have any choice except to work hard if we want the Barisan to continue to lead this country. We will not allow the issue of candidates to sidetrack us from this main objective. 

“We are aware that there is not much point in us expending so much energy in preparing our agenda on education or social issues if we lose the power to lead,” he said. 

Wanita chief Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz said that as far as the movement was concerned, the priority was to work hard, especially in convincing the Malays to reject PAS and its politics of lies. 

“We in Wanita have coined this term for PAS: 'A pest.' We will work on this basis and try to explain to as many Malays as we can about the politics of divisiveness that is PAS’ game and how dangerous its politics is to Malay’s unity. 

“Based on the feedback that I have received thus far, Wanita members are prepared for the general election,” she said. 

Regarding candidates, Rafidah said Wanita would concur with the leadership on this matter even if the movement was not given any extra seat. 

She also said the movement would support the leadership’s decision if the extra seats created through the redelineation exercise were to go to Puteri members. 

Puteri chief Azalina Othman said delegates had made a conscious decision not to touch on the question of candidates, but to focus on securing victory for the Barisan. 

The Puteri election machinery, she said, was more than prepared for the challenges of campaigning for its first participation in a general election. 

In her speech earlier, Azalina urged members to go down to the ground at all levels and begin “people-friendly exercises” with society as a whole. 

“The most effective weapon in elections is to win the hearts of the people,” she said. 

In the preparation for the national polls, she stressed, the word “personal interest” and lobbying for posts should not exist in the Puteri dictionary, as everything should be done for the party and Barisan. 

During the debate on the leaders’ speeches, delegates agreed that there was the need to work hard to ensure Barisan’s success in the elections. 

Perlis Wanita delegate Sabani Mat said a bigger victory for Barisan in the general election would be a special gift to Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad. 

Youth delegate from Malacca Idris Hamid said members should not rest on their laurels just because the party was at its peak. 

Pahang Puteri chief Shahaniza Shamsudin said the wing would step up efforts to intensify its programme to reach the grassroots in the run-up to the elections. 

“We need to make our sisters who are PAS and Keadilan supporters aware that they are being used as a tool to destroy the country.”  

More reports on the UMNO general assembly

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