MUAFAKAT Nasional is the new medium for Umno to make a return to Putrajaya but the party will not change the government via the backdoor, declared Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Pointing out that consensus was the best solution for Malaysia’s multiracial and multireligious society, Zahid said Muafakat Nasional – an alliance between Umno and PAS – wanted to form the government the “right way” and through the democratic process.
“We wouldn’t dream of changing the government through the back door, even when both the front and back doors are wide open. We choose to do so through the front door, the right way.
“We will build a government but it will be done democratically as stated in the Federal Constitution.
“Until then, let us all prepare for the 15th General Election.
“There is much to do and prepare, ” he said, clarifying talk of attempts to form a backdoor government.
To honour Umno’s partners, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and MIC president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran were invited to take their places on stage during the opening.
Fresh from winning a by-election, Tanjung Piai MP Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng, who also attended the opening, was given a rousing applause from the 2,694-strong delegates.
In his presidential address at the opening of the Umno General Assembly, Zahid described Muafakat Nasional as a new political narrative for Malaysia that reflected balanced politics and which protected the well-being of all races.
“Even though at the core of it are the Malays, our friends of Chinese, Indian, Iban and Kadazan ethnicities are celebrated, ” he said.
He also welcomed other parties, including those from Sabah and Sarawak, to be part of Muafakat Nasional so that they could work together under the new political narrative.
“This merger of parties will be the best alternative to understand the heartbeat of the people, ” he said.The Umno president said despite being only three months old, Muafakat Nasional had gained recognition from the people, especially so after Barisan Nasional won handsomely in the Tanjung Piai by-election.
“It was an acid test for Muafakat Nasional but the victory proved that the alliance is above any ideology.
“It also quashed the perception that the cooperation between the two largest Malay parties is racist and ‘Taliban’, ” he said, adding that this could not be racist when all parties, including MCA, MIC and friends of Barisan, worked hand in hand to ensure victory for the coalition.
Umno, Zahid said, must undergo transformation and modernisation in tandem with the politics of the 21st century for it to remain relevant in today’s political landscape, adding that the party’s political culture must be one that was resilient and balanced.
“Change is no longer an option for Umno but a must. There are no two ways about it, ” he said.
While people had the power to determine the continuity and survival of a political party, Umno was responsible towards reinventing itself to ensure it met the needs, demands and aspirations of the people, Zahid pointed out.
“For one, we must rid ourselves of political culture that centres around power, influence and the culture of the political elitist, ” he said.
“Umno also needs to be politically balanced to neutralise cult politics in Malaysia today. It is a party that is not rigid, racist nor is it too liberal.
“We must change Umno to have a political culture that is balanced, that practises openness as long as what is stated in the social contract and the Federal Constitution is not violated.”