KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim made a historic return to Dewan Merdeka for the Umno general assembly 2023 on Friday (June 9) – 25 years after he was sacked from Umno.
The Prime Minister and Pakatan Harapan chairman arrived at World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur at 9am and was greeted by Umno president and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
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Barisan Nasional’s component party leaders MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, MIC president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran, MIC deputy president Datuk Seri M. Saravanan and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) president Datuk Arthur Joseph Kurup were also seen arriving at the Dewan Merdeka.
Attending as the guest-of-honour, Anwar was also accompanied by several other unity government leaders which included Gabungan Parti Sarawak chairman parliamentary chief whip Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke, Amanah president Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu, Amanah deputy president Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub and Upko president Datuk Ewon Benedick.
Also making a comeback to the Umno headquarters was Parti Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal who quit after getting suspended in 2016.
It has become a tradition by the largest Malay party to invite its partners in the government, Barisan component parties and parties from Friends of BN.
Earlier, Umno’s official flag “Sang Saka Bangsa” was hoisted to mark the opening of the party’s general assembly.
The tradition took place at Menara Dato’ Onn building compound, starting with the three Umno wings - Youth, Wanita and Puteri - raising their flags before their president.
Clad in a red baju Melayu, Ahmad Zahid alongside deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki then raised the flag accompanied by the party’s official song Bersatu, Bersetia, Berkhidmat.
Ahmad Zahid will be delivering his presidential address later followed by debates.
The assembly will be attended by a total of 2,888 delegates.
The general assembly commenced on Wednesday (June 7) with the Youth, Wanita and Puteri wings’ meetings and will end tomorrow (June 10).