Pri­ori­tis­ing the needs of the na­tion

New Straits Times - - News -

Had Onn fol­lowed his anger and emo­tions, what would have hap­pened to his legacy? To­day, his grand­son can see some of his vi­sions re­alised and we will de­fend them. This is our strength and this is what we want to tell our mem­bers. But what sad­dens me is that some of our own mem­bers still point fin­gers among our­selves.

Q: DAP has been try­ing hard to at­tract youth, es­pe­cially the Malays. What is Umno do­ing to en­sure it re­mains at­trac­tive to the younger gen­er­a­tion?

A: We have to work hard. We have to un­der­stand that the po­lit­i­cal land­scape has changed.

We need to reach out to not only youths, but also non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions and all strata of so­ci­ety.

If the op­po­si­tion throws al­le­ga­tions at us, we must be there to re­spond. Oth­er­wise, the peo­ple will only hear one side of the story and this may make them re­ject us.

We must prove to the peo­ple that we have proper plans in place to trans­form the coun­try. The Na­tional Trans­for­ma­tion 2050 is a good ex­am­ple. Which op­po­si­tion party has come up with such a plan? But, I al­ways re­mind Umno mem­bers that a weak op­po­si­tion does not make Umno strong.

Q: There is some con­fu­sion over Umno’s re­la­tion­ship with Pas and whether it is po­lit­i­cal in na­ture. Can you set the record straight?

A: In pol­i­tics, there must be lim­its and bound­aries. If we are in pol­i­tics for the sake of win­ning seats or oust­ing the govern­ment, what hap­pens to Is­lam? So, if Umno works with Pas to fur­ther the agenda of the ummah and im­prove the coun­try’s im­age, who can blame us?

Maybe there are peo­ple who are un­com­fort­able with this re­la­tion­ship, but the peo­ple will re­alise that if we re­main sin­cere in fur­ther­ing the Is­lamic agenda and strength­en­ing Is­lam’s po­si­tion on the world stage, there is no rea­son why we can’t work to­gether.

Q: What do you have to say to peo­ple who claim that your ap­point­ment as spe­cial func­tions min­is­ter is meant to pre­pare you to take over the premier­ship in the fu­ture?

A: Peo­ple who know me will un­der­stand that po­si­tions were never my con­cern. I have never made po­si­tions my pri­or­ity. I take things one step at a time. What is im­por­tant to me is job sat­is­fac­tion. When the time comes and when I’ve out­lived my ser­vice, I will gladly go. In fact, I never ex­pected to be where I am to­day.

The big­gest sat­is­fac­tion for me is to be able to the cel­e­brate Umno’s 71st an­niver­sary as the party’s vice-pres­i­dent and I will work even harder to help de­velop the coun­try.

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