THE Umno general assembly saw Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak receiving a strong pledge of loyalty from leaders and delegates in the party.
The mood in the assembly this year was in stark contrast to last year’s gathering where his critics in the party, namely Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, had shared the stage with him, creating a tense atmosphere.
With their departure, the remaining party leaders and members this year rallied behind their president in a show of unity ahead of the 14th general election.
Throughout the assembly, nearly all the delegates spoke about loyalty to the leadership and how important it was for the party.
The two vice-presidents and chiefs of the three wings also declared their loyalty to Najib during their winding up speeches.
Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is taking on the duties of party deputy president, told the delegates: “We have only one leader and he is the president and Prime Minister.”
Vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein also called on members to give their complete loyalty to party leadership.
With delegates firmly pledging their loyalty, Najib declared that Umno was now on a stronger footing to face GE14.
In his winding up speech at the end of the Umno assembly, the Umno president said the exit of his detractors from the party meant that Umno no longer had to deal with internal issues and could now focus fully on winning the election.
“If there was tension last year, this year, I feel very comfortable attending the general assembly.
“I have a solid, united, committed and loyal team. This team is able to take Umno to war.
“I need not fear. I have no doubts about their loyalty,” he declared.
Last year’s assembly saw former Umno deputy president Muhyiddin and vice president Shafie sharing the stage with Najib despite their criticism of him, causing a lot of uncertainty in the party.
Muhyiddin and Mukhriz were sacked from the party while Shafie and former president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned from Umno.
“We are now ready (for GE14),” Najib told the cheering sea of 2,762 delegates dressed in red, Umno’s official colour.
In an hour-long speech which he used mainly to raise the confidence and spirits of the party’s 3.5 million members, Najib said Umno and Barisan Nasional could win as it had already managed to score major wins in the Sarawak state election as well as the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections.
Reminding party members that their focus should be in getting Umno and Barisan Nasional to win the GE14 and not the party polls, the president warned them not to take opponents for granted.
“We may have won in Sarawak, Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar, but we shouldn’t be comfortable with the win as there are bigger and greater challenges ahead. We must not take our enemies for granted.”
Najib praised Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin for his support of him.
Commenting on Khairy’s winding up speech where he spoke of staying loyal to Najib despite not being elected to the Cabinet initially following the 2008 general election, Najib said: “I did not put Khairy Jamaluddin in cold storage but in fact gave him the opportunity to reinvent himself.
“Now I have a warrior in him who is similar to Tariq Ziad, the commander of Islamic Umayyad empire. Khairy is Umno’s very own warrior who will lead the nation and see to it that the National Transformation 2050 plan is a success,” said Najib.
Najib also commended the work done by Wanita and Puteri movements, led by Tan Sri Shahrizat Jalil and Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin respectively.
He reminded members on the importance of teamwork and setting aside differences for the party, adding that lost time and opportunity could never be replaced.
“Our mission and struggle is to defend the integrity of our race for once its lost, it will forever be gone.
“I call each and everyone of you to close ranks for the sake of Umno, Islam and Malaysia.”
Extracts from Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s speech
ON the many malicious allegations thrown at him, which include being blamed for several high-profile murders:
“Every time there is a murder, these people say Najib is involved even though I don’t know the victim at all.
“In the case of Altantuya, forget about the police, if I really was involved, my wife would already done something (to me)!”
ON Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his continued criticism against Umno:
“Stop writing about Umno. You are no longer in the party. Do a convention for your new party. We want to see if the hall can be filled.”
ON issues affecting Felda settlers:
“Felda is close to my heart. There are 54 parliamentary seats with Felda settlements. We have done a laboratory to look into their problems. Please be patient, I will make an announcement soon on measures to resolve their problems.”
ON his future plans for Malaysia:
“We don’t want to be a second-rate nation, we want to be a first-rate nation. We want to be among the Top 20 countries in the world, and we can do it.”
ON helping bumiputra entrepreneurs:
“I will personally hand over letters to those who will set up shops and businesses in each of the Mass Rapid Transit stations. We have ‘carved out’ a policy of having 50% bumiputra entrepreneurs in each of the stations, and I want to meet each one of them.”
On the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia aid payments:
“I have heard your request that Umno divisions hand out the BR1M payments so that we can be closer to the people. Next year, of the three BR1M payouts, one will be distributed to recipients by our division leaders.”
ON concerns about the cost of living:
“I hereby announce an offer to all Umno divisions, if you have cooperatives, get in touch with the Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperatives Ministry and we will give RM150,000 grants and another RM150,000 in loans to successful applicants to set up sundry shops to sell daily necessities at affordable prices.”