KUALA LUMPUR: While Umno is proud of its past glories, the party is also committed to a clear vision for the future, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Umno president said the party has placed the nation and people above self-interests, rejecting corruption, embracing open politics and living the values espoused.
"We must strengthen the bonds between our people, from the biggest cities to the smallest kampung. We must demonstrate that our vision of Malaysia's future is compatible with the people's interests; that Umno has not just a proud past but a clear vision for the future," he said.
Najib said this when opening the two-day International Forum themed 'The Politics of Moderation Accommodates and Balances Competing Principles That Lead to Peace and Stability', held in conjunction with the 2013 Umno General Assembly here Monday.
He said Umno must make the party and its values relevant to new generations, to those who have only ever known an independent and wealthy Malaysia, and who expect greater liberty and more opportunities.
"This is the new politics. We are not fighting the same fight as we were in the 1960s, the 1970s or the 1980s. For our party and our nation to succeed, we must understand the aspirations of younger, better educated, (and) more urban voters.
"We must be mindful of tradition, but look always towards the future," he added.
Najib said Umno had governed since independence and took this nation from the brink to what it is today, a modern, peaceful, multiracial and prosperous society.
He said it was not always easy to maintain peace, stability and prosperity as well as to embrace moderation and the differences rather than focus on what divided the people.
"This year's general election was hard fought and hard won. On both sides, hopes ran high and emotions sometimes ran higher. My party was returned to office with a mandate, but the result betrayed increased polarisation in the country.
"I acknowledge that, but I want to heal these wounds and achieve national reconciliation. I am determined to lead a government that governs for all Malaysians.
"It is because I believe our greatest achievement is not the defence of just one race, but the creation of one state, one nation, one Malaysia. It is the work of a lifetime, and it is not yet complete," he said.
He said by putting in place policies that support historically disadvantaged groups, the Government was not denying the rights of other groups. In fact, an economy founded on growth with inclusiveness will deliver better outcomes for all communities, he added.
"Under Barisan Nasional, bumiputra policies will continue as long as there is a need, but no longer. Our history shows that affirmative action, national unity and growth can co-exist.
"I asked for the continued support of all Malaysians, as we build on our economic successes and look towards a brighter future," he said.
Najib said he believed history would judge Umno by its ability to uphold the dignity not just of the Malay race and Islam but of the whole country.
"Yes, we fought for and secured independence. Yes, we took our economy from humble beginnings to sterling success. But the past is not our future," he said.
He said the nation was founded on tolerance and guided by the principles of peaceful co-existence and mutual respect but sometimes, those principles are tested.
He said it was a standard which few met, but everyone should aspire to achieve.
"We can do it, and as we prepare to join the ranks of the developed nations, we look to learn from those who have taken great strides before us, and share our experience with those still to come," he said.
More than 30 political parties from 25 countries attended the forum to share their ideas and thoughts about global moderation. - Bernama
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