PUTRAJAYA: Issues affecting the people are set to dominate this year’s Umno general assembly in response to what delegates see as Pakatan Harapan’s failure to resolve their woes, particularly the rising cost of living.
Umno delegates, be it at the main assembly or during the Youth, Wanita and Puteri meetings, are expected to raise such matters aside from the usual subjects concerning the economy and religion.
Party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) pointed out to the days when Pakatan had labelled the Barisan Nasional government then as “Barang Naik”.
“Now that they are the government, Pakatan has failed to put in place measures to cushion the effects of the rising cost of living on the people.
“We will bring up the people’s sufferings during our debates for all to hear and we will list the Pakatan government’s failure to look after the rakyat, ” he said in an interview with Umno Online.
Umno will hold its general assembly beginning tonight with the opening of the wings’ assemblies by deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, followed by debates the next day. The main assembly, to be opened by the party president, is on Friday.
“The rakyat, be it the B40, M40 groups and hardcore poor, is banking on Umno to fight for them and champion their cause.
“We may not be the government which can look after the people’s welfare, but we can certainly be their voice to pressure the government, ” added Ahmad Zahid.
On politics, he said although there are indications that support for Barisan has returned, the coalition must keep working hard, be close to the people and convince them to support Barisan.
He said the Sungai Besar by-election in 2016, which was won by Barisan’s Budiman Mohd Zohdi, should serve as a lesson to Umno and its partners.
“We won handsomely in that by-election but lost that seat in GE14. Nothing should be taken for granted, ” he said.
A by-election was called for the Sungai Besar parliamentary constituency in 2016 after its elected representative Datuk Noriah Kasnon of Barisan was killed in a helicopter crash during the Sarawak state elections. The coalition retained the seat through Budiman but lost to Pakatan’s Muslimin Yahaya of Bersatu.
Ahmad Zahid said the Umno leadership was also hoping that delegates will raise ideas and suggestions which can be adopted to improve the party’s standing with the people.
Meanwhile, Umno information chief Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said the party has been able to organise meetings involving its 23,000 branches nationwide without incident and in accordance with the rules set by the Registrar of Societies (RoS).
“This shows that Umno, despite losing power in 2018 and being constantly attacked by its opponents, is still strong and solid, ” he said at a press conference at the party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.