Umno era of excellence beckons: Muhyiddin


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 13 Oct 2009

newsdesk@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: The era of excellence will return to Umno and Barisan Nasional, just as they have with the Congress Party of India and the Kuomintang Party of Taiwan, said Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

In the wake of defeat, those two once-dominant parties rejuvenated themselves with a new political image, and he was optimistic that Umno can do the same.

He said this was because Umno was pragmatic and quick in assessing situations, and bold enough to make changes.

“Despite our failure to maintain a two-thirds majority in Parliament, and losing a few states (in the 12th general election in March last year), Umno and the Barisan continue to govern the country.

“All that has happened should not dampen our fighting spirit. We have gone through a few tragic episodes and have experienced several rises and falls,” he said.

However, every time the party went through such an experience, it became stronger and never quit, Muhyiddin said at the simultaneous launch of the Wanita Umno, Umno Youth and Puteri Umno delegates conference 2009 at the Putra World Trade Centre here on Tuesday.

“Umno is not a static, outdated and stagnant party in a fast changing world. History has proven that Umno is a party which is always generating strength, adapting to changes and creating pools of second echelon leaders as part of its rejuvenation process,” he said.

Muhyiddin stressed that the party must change to face the tough political challenges and opposition following the “tsunami” of the 12th general election, which had traumatised many Umno members.

As such, he said the new leadership at all levels of the party, which represented the “new spirit of Umno,” must face challenges and the demands for change in the face of the country’s new political landscape. He said Umno needed to become relevant in understanding the voice, language, style and nuances of the new politics.

“At this critical moment, we seem to be standing on the edge of a cliff. In front of us is a deep ravine, and behind us steep mountains stand tall.

“When we are faced with such a scenario, we have no choice. If we walk to the edge, we may fall into the ravine and lie there forever. We are at the crossroads in a time of madness,” he said, adding that the people were fed slander and lies to such an extent that confusion and falsehood had become the norm.

“Society finds it hard to differentiate between the truth and misleading statements. In the end, the truth becomes false and the false turns into truth. The just becomes the cruel, those who are cruel become the fair.

“These are the results of the hands of those who destroy in the name of freedom, fairness, justice and also in the name of the religion. The end justifies the means, although at stake are the race and the country.”

Muhyiddin said the spirit of Umno that was willing and bold enough to make changes was the new wave of the party.

“I am confident that Umno wants to change. Umno has begun to change. And Umno will continue to make changes for the good.

“As a party which was born out of the voice of the Malays and gained support from the people, Umno will certainly make changes to bring benefits to all,” he said.

He also called on the three wings to have their respective Key Performance Indices or Political Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to increase the party’s membership, register new voters and form networks with non-governmental organisations.

He gave the wings two years to achieve these targets.

Muhyiddin also urged the three movements to rise and close ranks immediately by adopting four pillars -- beginnning with wahdatul fikr (unity of minds); comprehended by wahdatul qalb (unity of hearts), move with wahdatul amal (unity in charity) towards achieving wahdatul hadaf (unity in objectives) so that changes and transformation could be made to meet the party’s struggle.

“With unity of minds, Umno would have a clear vision of its struggle. With unity of hearts, each and every one of us will comprehend, in full, the true meaning of Umno’s struggle.

“With unity in charity, we will move and act on a single track and as a team. With unity in objectives cemented, we can achieve the purpose of our struggle for religion, race and the country,” he said.

“We should not longer be divided from within ... no more moves or attempts to bring down a leader.

“The culture of issuing threats should no longer exist. There should not be a power struggle that will leave the party in ruin. There should only be one platform, one team, ane Umno,” he said.

Full Speech by Umno Deputy President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin Wanita, Youth and Puteri Umno delegates conference 2009 Dewan Merdeka, Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur FACING THE DEMAND FOR CHANGES

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim. Assalamu’alaikum wa rahmatullahi wabarakatuh, salam sejahtera dan salam 1Malaysia. Senator Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil Wanita Umno chief

Khairy Jamaluddin Umno Youth chief

Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin Puteri Umno chief

Umno vice-president Umno secretary-general Supreme Council members Wanita Umno, Umno Youth and Puteri Umno exco members

Delegates and observers,

1. Alhamdulillah, let us extend our gratitude to Allah s.w.t. because with his blessings we are gathered at Dewan Merdeka again tonight for the simultaneous launch of Wanita, Youth and Puteri Umno delegates conference 2009.

2. I stand here in front of you with pride in Umno’s big win in the Bagan Pinang by-election. Congratulations and well done to all Umno and Barisan Nasional supporters, who have contributed towards our victory.

Kalau tidak pohon berangan Tidak puyuh ke Tasik Chini Kalau tidak kerana perjuangan Tidak kita berkumpul di sini.

The New Spirit of Umno

2. Our meeting this time is meaningful for Umno, which is helming the times. Umno has just gone through a significant change in the history of its leadership. For the first time we are witnessing new leadership at all levels -- from President, Deputy President, Vice-Presidents, Wanita Umno, Umno Youth and Puteri chiefs. I extend my congratulations to Umno’s new leadership, particularly the Wanita, Youth and Puteri leaders who are here tonight.

3. What’s interesting is that both the President and I were the product of Umno Youth. The three vice-presidents were also from the movement. The Wanita Umno chief came out of the process of maturity and leadership within the movement. Similarly, the Youth and Puteri chiefs were groomed by the leadership in both wings. I am really proud that before me tonight is the party’s leadership line-up that will determine the destiny and future of the religion, the race and the country.

4. You are actually representing the new spirit of Umno in facing challenges and demands for changes in the midst of the country’s new political landscape. The new spirit that represents the voice of the Malays, Bumiputras and Malaysians; the new spirit that has developed with the idealism of struggles and loyalty of party members; the new spirit that is willing and bold to make changes. This is the new wave of change in Umno.

5. I am confident that Umno wants to change. Umno has begun to change. And Umno will continue to make changes for good. As a party which was born out of the voice of the Malays and gained the support of the people, Umno will certainly make changes to achieve benefits. Umno is not a static, outdated and stagnant party in a fast-changing world. History has proven that Umno is a party which is always generating strength, adapting to changes and creating pools of second-echelon leaders as part of its rejuvenation process. Yang patah pasti tumbuh, yang hilang akan berganti. (A Malay proverb which describes the cycle of life; a broken branch will grow back).

6. This is what really makes Umno a dynamic party, changing according to the times, and adapting according to the needs and demands of the times. We are aware that if we are not willing to change, we will be changed. Umno views seriously demands towards this transformation, because the process of rejuvenation is the key to Umno’s strength in facing current and future challenges. So a major task for all Umno members is to prove that we are willing to make changes and to ensure that Umno remains relevant.

7. Changes and relevance: both are inter-linked, like the body and soul, like bamboo and the riverbank, which support and strengthen each other. It is meaningless if we are only able to change but do not make Umno relevant to the times. Thus Umno needs to become relevant in understanding the voice, language, style and nuances of the new politics. Umno should become relevant in a borderless world, and in the midst of the ascendancy of technology and knowledge. Umno should remain relevant by representing the voice of the Malays, Bumiputra and the people.

Facing Challenges

Ladies and gentleman, 8. Our party is currently being tested with tough challenges and opposition. What is termed a political tsunami during the 2008 General Election has created a calamity in the form of trauma, a scar which still remains in our heart. Most people have yet to recover from this trauma.

9. In this critical moment, we seem to be standing on the edge of a cliff. In front of us is a deep ravine, and behind us steep mountains stand tall. When we are faced with such a scenario, we have no choice. If we walk to the edge, we may fall into the ravine and lie there forever. We are at the crossroads in a time of madness.

10. The description of a time of madness can be felt today when the people are fed with slander and lies until confusion and falseness become the norm. Rumours, provocation, false stories, sensational reports are purposely created to stir up hatred towards the enemy. Society finds it hard to differentiate between the truth and misleading statements. In the end, the truth becomes false and the false turns into truth. The just become the cruel, those who are cruel become the fair. These are the results of the hands of those who destroy in the name of freedom, fairness, justice and in the name of the religion. The end justifies the means, although at stake are the race and the country. Allah s.w.t. commanded in Surah Al-Baqarah verse 11-12:

“And when it is said to them: “Make not mischief on the earth,” they say: “We are only peacemakers.” Verily! They are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive not.”

Those who carry out destruction and damage become proud and arrogant when God tests them by giving them a little power. And so they march to the streets to show off their power, they challenge the voice of democracy claiming that the people’s power are behind them, they vilify the judiciary whom they say are puppets of the rulers. They lambast the police for trying to control their power, and they even oppose the Elections Commission when results do not side with them. They neglect Allah’s reminder to avoid disunity and division, they neglect His call to stop slander and insults between men. They don’t feel guilty when they speak about justice and Islam, but at the same time they continue to demolish their Islamic values.

11. In that sense, understand this reminder by Islamic historian Abn Khaldun in his work called Muqaddimah. Throughout history, the demise of a race begins with the spread of self-interest and the decline of unity among the successive generations. They forget that the prosperity that they enjoy were the result of the struggle, sacrifices, and unity of the previous generation who worked towards the betterment of the spirit and dignity of their race. Disputes and quarrels among themselves become common when lust for power and property is king. When this attitude becomes widespread and can no longer be controlled, the race will disappear.

12. When we are faced with this kind of problem, we need to pause and reflect among ourselves, correct our steps and strengthen our resolve to reach the summit. We must learn from past experiences and correct ourselves. With history and tradition on our side we must strengthen our confidence. With spirit and commitment we move forward, fortified by our sworn allegiance to the party’s origins to protect the religion, the race and the country.

13. Time goes on and leaders come and go. However, we must fulfil our loyalty to Umno’s struggle to protect the religion, the race and the country for the sake of the people’s prosperity.

14. The tradition of our struggles to defend the race has not ceased, although we have to struggle in the currents of a democratic political system. We realise that democracy does not recognise the record of achievements and history of past leaders. A party that is powerful and has contributed tremendously can collapse if it is no longer accepted by the people.

15. The history of independent parties in countries in the region has served as a lesson for us to reflect on. The Golkar party in Indonesia is no longer as strong as before. The Nacionalista Party in the Philippines has long been toppled. The most recent is the collapse of the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, which has contributed tremendously towards the reconstruction of the country after the Second World War.

16. What caused the defeat of these parties? Did the people forget their contributions towards development, progress and harmony of their respective countries? Were the needs and aspirations of the people different than those offered by these parties? Or did these parties become too proud and their leaders too greedy because they have been in power for too long?

17. It cannot be denied that Umno’s struggles have achieved a major socio-economic transformation among the Malays and Malaysians in general, resulting in the emergence of a new middle-class generation with new idealism and demands. Umno leaders are always ready to offer themselves to the people. The question is whether Umno is ready to fulfil the current aspirations of the people, which are greater than in the past when Umno was established.

18. I am confident and still believe that just like the Congress Party of India and the Kuomintang Party of Taiwan which had been defeated, but which were revived with a new political image, Umno and BN will also repeat their glory. Umno is capable of facing these challenges and fulfilling the new aspirations. This is because Umno is pragmatic, quick in assessing the situation, and bold in making changes.

Path of Change

Ladies and gentlemen, 19. Alhamdulillah, despite failure to maintain a two-thirds majority in Parliament and losing a few states, Umno and the Barisan Nasional continue to govern the country. All that had happened should not dampen our fighting spirit. We have gone through a few tragic episodes and experienced several rises and falls. However, every time we go through such experiences, we become stronger and we never say quit.

Hence, ladies and gentlemen, let us quickly rise and close the ranks amongst us, beginning with wahdatul fikr or unity of minds, comprehended by wahdatul qalb or unity of hearts, move with wahdatul amal or unity in charity towards achieving wahdatul hadaf (unity in objectives), so that change may be achieved to meet the party’s struggle.

Allah’s command in Surah Al-Shof, Verse 4:

“Indeed Allah loves; He assists and honours those who fight in His way arrayed in ranks, as though they were a building cemented with molten lead.”

20. This intimation from Allah reminds us always to be a strong party that moves together as if in one breath, loyal in bearing trust, ready to follow orders and put the party’s struggle above one’s interest. Therefore, let us carry out the President’s message that no one among us will become an instigator and traitor like Si Kitol. We should no longer be divided from within, there should be no more Team A -- Team B like before, no more movements or attempts to bring down a leader and the culture of issuing threats should cease. There should not be a power struggle that will leave the party in ruins. There should only be one platform, one team, One Umno!

21. We can do all this by adopting the four pillars which I mentioned just now. With the unity of minds, Umno will have a clear vision of its struggle. With the unity of hearts, each and everyone of us will comprehend in full the true meaning of Umno’s struggle. With unity in charity we will move and act on a single track and as a team. With unity in objectives cemented, we can achieve the purpose of our struggle for religion, race and the country.

Unity of minds

22. The first step towards changes and renewal is the unity of minds, to enable us to understand and appreciate the rakyat’s (people’s) and the Malays’ aspirations. We need to free our minds and attitude from the “shackles of mouldy, skewed and narrow thoughts” that deviate from our true struggle. We must accept the fact that the country’s political landscape has changed, even the value and political culture of the Malays have also changed.

23. We need to generate new thinking on democracy that encompasses the concept of empowerment, participatory policies and good governance. The new thinking needs to be built and consolidated without sacrificing the true aim of Umno’s struggle. Our struggle for the sake of the religion, the race and the country remains relevant. We need not be apologetic about this. However, where political thinking has undergone changes, there is a need to relay and explain (our struggle) more clearly and vigorously.

Unity of hearts

24. With our hearts united, we can appreciate and understand the value of “sincere politics” which the people look up to. The rakyat and the Malays today have high regard for leaders who serve sincerely; one who puts the rakyat’s interest before his own; keeps to his promises, being transparent, fair, honest and responsible in his actions; and one who understands the pulse of the people. I am confident that Umno will always be close to the rakyat’s hearts if we adopt these good values.

25. When we serve, make sure that the service and assistance that are extended to the people touch their heart. We must always be united in serving those who are in real need. We must always uphold Umno’s aspirations of helping the rakyat irrespective of status and social standing. We must always be ready to serve the people irrespective of time and place.

26. The key to providing service that touches the rakyat’s hearts is to serve with sincerity. If we serve with determination and with full sincerity, it will reflect on us. The community can evaluate each service or assistance that is extended to them. No matter how small the contribution, if it is given sincerely, it will surely be appreciated. As Rasulullah S.A.W said: “The charity of an act depends on its intention and one will reap what is intended.”

Unity in charity

27. By strengthening unity in charity, we can draw and implement an approach that will be people-friendly to win and capture their hearts and feelings, especially the young. We need to put forward a more effective mode of political communication to get us closer to the rakyat. The new mode that we have already been using is the new media and basic interactive social networks. We must use this mode to our benefit, not only to interact but to put forward idealism, consideration, values, culture and a new soul of Umno.

28. Programmes to get closer to the community must be stepped up in order for us to truly feel the pulse of the people. Be the eyes, ears and inner voice of the community. Understand their problems and assist them to find solutions. Always go to the ground so that our presence is felt, and so that we are approachable. Spend time with the community and be ever ready to help. This is the translation of the tradition our struggle in defending the people.

29. Thus we must strengthen the basis of Umno, that is its members and organisation. These two political elements must be strengthened and put in a ready mode to uphold our struggle. We equipped Umno members with sound knowledge and political skills through education and lifelong training. Through this political education, we ensure Umno members truly understand the meaning of Umno’s struggle and become true Umno champions.

30. We have prepared Umno to spearhead the wave of change. The amendments to the constitution that are to be tabled tomorrow will pave the way for a transformation in Umno’s governance towards becoming more democratic and inclusive. The party’s rejuvenation process through the participation of more youth and women leaders at all levels would inject more energy and freshness into our struggle. Umno is a party from the people, by the people and for the people.

Unity in objectives

31. By strengthening the unity of objectives, we make migration of the soul and attitude a success. We create party fighters who are strong in their faith in Allah s.w.t, intact in their morals and ethics, who emphasise relations among the people and understand current realities. InsyaAllah, through this migration, what is reflected in the personality of our party fighters will be such praiseworthy attributes as those possessed by the Prophet Mohammad s.a.w. Our party fighters will always be bold in stating the truth (siddiq), not lies, always trustworthy, not dishonest, often delivering truthful messages (tabligh), not concealing them, and always thinking intelligently, not stupidly.

32. It is only right that we make this migration of the soul and attitude by observing a similar spirit noted by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. The Prophet was faced with a very tough challenge before migrating to Medina. He was insulted, humiliated, scorned, scolded and hurt by the ignorant Arabs. However, his perseverance in enduring the bitter struggles based on a strong faith marked the point of major change in the history of the Islamic revival. Islam, which was initially not well received by the ignorant Arab community, reached Medina and later spread all over the world.

33. I would like to call on all Umno members to chart the direction of change through the unity of thought; understand the sincerity of party struggles through the unity of hearts; reach out to the people through the unity of practice; and move in unison to achieve the party’s glory through the unity of objectives. If we can understand and implement these four pillars, we can surely create a generation of distinguished leaders who are strong in their faith, sharp in their knowledge and blessed in their struggles.

The Role of Wanita, Youth and Puteri

Ladies and gentleman, 34. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to be with you today. I am confident that in front of me are the heroes of Umno who will go through waves of change. These three wings are the main force that will generate Malay leaders who are strong, fast, bold and possess a robust spirit in shouldering the struggles of the race, religion and nation.

35. Wanita Umno will always stand solidly in every episode of the party struggle. Its members are the driving force of the party, who are always loyal to its struggles and willing to be on the ground at all times when their energy and dedication are required. I would like to extend my congratulations to Wanita Umno.

36. We hope that Wanita Umno under the leadership of Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil will continue to remain strong and reflect our efforts to uphold the dignity of women in the country. Hence, it is our hope that more leaders of the movement will be involved actively in the decision-making process of the party, either through the movement or the supreme council. Let our party become an example of an institution that is truly serious in appreciating and recognising contributions of women towards the development of the race and the country.

37. The same is also true of Umno Youth. The strong fighting spirit which was born during the series of by-elections, is proof that the movement still has the soul to uphold the true struggles of the party. Congratulations, Umno Youth. Puteri Umno, meanwhile, is always loyal towards the party even when they are in the thick of things within the opposition stronghold. Congratulations, Puteri Umno.

38. These two Umno wings -- Umno Youth and Puteri -- are right in the frontline of the party and reflect the party’s future aspirations. The huge responsibilities facing the Youth and Puteri movements under Khairy Jamaluddin and Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin, are to regain the support of the young through the rejuvenating process of the party’s idealism.

39. The young generation of today is one which places priority on intellectual discourse and not on raw emotions. In this context, there is no short-cuts for us when we are trying to appeal to the younger generation, except by convincing them of the basis of our struggle with a concerted and rational approach. For this, the Youth and Puteri movements must become the platforms for young Malay leaders who are eloquent and alert to present the image of Umno’s struggle.

40. Today, although we have started to see the revival of the spirit of Wanita, Youth and Puteri to strengthen the party struggles, it needs to be further reinforced. Wanita, Youth and Puteri must move forward as a strong and united team to shoulder the thrust of party struggles. Be true to your principles, be united, strengthen your commitment, move as one force towards one goal. Avoid being bedazzled by jewellery and gold, which can weaken the fighting spirit, move away from power struggles that are destructive, and be good representatives of the people.

41. You have contributed towards the party and the Malays, by always being in the front rows to carry the party flag. All these are not sufficient if the people have not reaped any benefit. The 12th General Election has proven that the younger generation has yet to appreciate fully Umno’s struggles. Umno is also not seen as fulfilling the aspirations of the new generation with fresh thinking. Umno is seen as an exclusive party, which is becoming distant from the masses. Party activities to woo new members and voters seem lethargic. These are among examples of the challenges that we need to overcome.

42. Despite this, I am confident that the leadership of the three wings that we have today are able to meet the challenges. So let us consolidate our potential, polish our self-esteem, upgrade our knowledge, master skills, utilise our intelligence and strengthen the quality of our leadership so that Umno can come back as the face of the Malay struggle besides giving hope to all levels of society. To ensure Umno regains its position as a party which brings renewed hope, I am inviting the three wings to fix their respective Key Performance Indexes or Political Key Performance Indicators on increasing the party’s membership, register new voters and form networks with non-governmental organisations. I am giving you two years to achieve these targets. We do not have time; the effort must begin now.

Driving Changes

Ladies and Gentlemen, 43. Umno under the direction of the president has began making stringent changes to win over the hearts and minds of the rakyat. We have taken serious steps to conduct a new evaluation about the approach and concept on how we reach out to the rakyat. We have also made the demands, aspirations and requirements of the rakyat as the basis of our commitment. Priority is placed on the people. The people come first.

44. In view of this, our inspiration and new direction must be digested and expanded speedily so that it becomes a bigger wave, which can propel our party’s struggle towards the pinnacle of success and excellence. Despite this, I also want to stress that it is not only Umno which needs to change. Barisan Nasional component parties must also change. We must be ready to conceive a deeper transformation to reach a new level of co-operation in terms of relations between each party in Barisan. The new co-operation must be based on the spirit of a acceptance between all races and an appreciation of our diversity as the source of our strength. This was outlined by our president under the “1Malaysia” concept.

45. The echo of this call for change and rejuvenation must be accepted with speed and with a strong heart that is filled with the fire of our struggle. Become party supporters who are united, loyal and obedient.

46. Become true leaders with high integrity, with clean heart and soul, fearless in facing challenges and steadfast in spurring changes as are reflected in this Malay saying.

Syarak (Islamic law) is worn physically and spiritually His faith is thick, custom is strong His piousness is visible, his knowledge is boundless His heart is open and he is far thinking With a face that is clear and a tongue that is eloquent Strong in conviction and proper in manner A stand made will remained unchanged A word spoken will not be changed He is brave in facing in facing tests His loyalty is unquestionable His obedience can be folded

47. Comprehend Allah’s saying about the steadfastness of the al-Kahfi youths’ faith who, because of their courage were given extra guidance by God almighty.

“We relate to you (oh Muhammad) their story with truth. They were some young men who believed in their Lord and We increased them in guidance. (al-Kahf: 13)”

Appreciation of our President

48. I would like to register my most sincere thanks to our president for his support and trust in me to carry out the duties and responsibility of deputy president. My commitment is to assist the president in going through the changes which have been outlined.

49. When he was the deputy preisdent, he set the bar very high. It is not easy for me to achieve the benchmark without the support of the president and all of you. Our president has also spearheaded changes and renewal in the Government and Alhamdulillah, it has been accepted well by the rakyat. Our victory in the Bagan Pinang by-election is a testimony of the rakyat’s support towards Umno. As an Umno member, we all must respond to the spirit of change initiated by the president in the government and in the party.

Closing

Ladies and Gentlemen,

50. Believe me, changes in party leadership, the readiness to amend the constitution and the strong spirit displayed by the heads of the three movements is a clear sign that Umno is heading towards an era of excellence again. From the faces of everyone in the hall tonight, there is hope for Umno to rise again, more readier and stronger.

51. Let us bind our hearts, strengthen our resolve and commitment to fire our fighting spirit and struggle. Let us close our ranks, initiate the unity of minds, bind the unity of hearts, implement unity in charity to achieve unity in aim. Let us ensure success of this ambition. The futue of our religion, race and beloved country is on our hands. Let us implement this under one commitment so that Umno will continue to be relevant. Let us shoulder the demand for change.

52. With Bismillahirrahmanirrahim I hereby open the Umno Wanita, Youth and Puteri annual general assembly 2009.

Wabillahi al-taufiq wal hidayah wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

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