KUALA LUMPUR: Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wants party members to set aside any thoughts of jostling for posts and instead focus on the 14th general election.
Their focus, he told delegates to the Umno general assembly at a closed-door briefing yesterday, must be on a big win for the party and Barisan Nasional.
He said those harbouring ambitions for posts in the party must think about winning the election first, adding that Umno and Barisan must return to power and continue to govern the country.
Najib, who was in a relaxed and upbeat mood, spoke on other issues but made constant reminders that this was not the time to bid for party positions.
Later, while talking to reporters, party vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein described the mood during the briefing as extraordinary.
He added that the president wanted Umno members to prepare for the election.
“Now is the last mile and we need to channel our spirit, close ranks and ensure that our focus is not on party polls but the GE.
“We don’t need any more time. Right now, we must be prepared as if the general election is tomorrow,” he said.
Wanita Umno chief Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the party president also challenged members to woo supporters, especially at the grassroots level.
“Wanita accepts the challenge, and this has given us a new impetus to work harder. He reminded us that the general election is most important and so is unity and solidarity among us,” she said.
In facing the opposition, Umno, said Shahrizat, must portray itself as the “better product”.
Umno Youth exco member Rahman Hussin said Najib told delegates that he knew some of them were preparing for the party polls by setting up war rooms, coming up with slogans and even had their shirts ready.
“But he warned that it is not the time to think of oneself. The only focus should be the GE,” he said.
Johor Umno liaison chief Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin said the closed-door meeting was probably the last opportunity for the president to talk directly to party members before the general election.