TO THE PEO­PLE

New Straits Times - - Opinion - The writer is Umno Supreme Coun­cil mem­ber and mem­ber of par­lia­ment for Kuala Selangor

from be­ing swal­lowed up by the Asian eco­nomic cri­sis.

For all de­ci­sions that Umno had taken, they were done with the in­ter­ests and wel­fare of the peo­ple in mind. If the Malays were in­deed racist, would Melaka be a pros­per­ous trad­ing port in the 15th Cen­tury?

How can the op­po­si­tion reck­lessly la­bel Umno as racist?

Be­fore it does that, per­haps mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion too, should re­flect on the com­po­si­tion of their own party.

Are they as open and trans­par­ent as they claim to be?

If Malays were racist, then how is it we are able to ac­cept and re­spect other groups of dif­fer­ent eth­nic back­ground?

Ret­ro­spec­tively, Umno needs to em­u­late the strate­gic think­ing of the glo­ri­ous era of the Melaka Sul­tanate. Melaka ex­isted in­de­pen­dently and thrived in the mid­dle of two big pow­ers, namely China and Siam.

Com­ing back to the sub­ject at hand, that is to al­ways ob­tain mass sup­port, Umno must be seen, per­ceived and be­lieved to be a pow­er­ful party that can serve the rakyat.

Umno can­not be seen as a party that fights pas­sion­ately only for a small group. In­stead, it must be seen and ac­cepted fully as an in­clu­sive party that puts peo­ple first. More im­por­tantly, Umno is a party that be­lieves in the con­cept of wasatiyyah, or mod­er­a­tion, or in po­lit­i­cal lan­guage, a “cen­trist party”.

We can­not be a party that is ul­tra left or ul­tra right.

For more than seven decades, Umno has gained a trove of ex­pe­ri­ence. It is a party that is rich in her­itage. It has its ups and downs, and had gone through tri­als and tribu­la­tions.

We are a party that walks the talk, and our prom­ises to the peo­ple have al­ways been ful­filled. The power of Umno is highly de­pen­dent on its abil­ity to un­der­stand the needs of its mem­bers.

As the rul­ing party, Umno’s rel­e­vance de­pends on the ex­tent to which it man­ages to cap­ture the imag­i­na­tion of not only the Malays, but also more im­por­tantly, all Malaysians.

Umno mem­bers, all of us lead­ers and mem­bers alike, should reg­u­larly re­flect on our strug­gles. We must be will­ing to look in­ward to see our weak­nesses and short­com­ings, and rec­tify them. This is ex­tremely im­por­tant, es­pe­cially for the lead­ers who must up­hold their in­tegrity so the rakyat will con­tinue to be­lieve in us.

Umno lead­ers up­hold in­tegrity, and they must ex­e­cute their du­ties to the fullest.

Not only must the party adapt and trans­form for the bet­ter­ment of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, the most im­por­tant thing is that the Malays them­selves must change their mind­set.

To­day, we are see­ing the re­sults of the New Eco­nomic Pol­icy.

Af­ter all the progress that the coun­try has achieved, some peo­ple be­lieve that it is no longer rel­e­vant in so­ci­ety.

They say the Bu­mipu­tras can stand on their own feet with­out hav­ing to rely on govern­ment as­sis­tance. Ap­par­ently, these peo­ple for­get one fact.

If in­deed enough has been done to re­move the crutches that sup­port the Bu­mipu­tras over the years, what about the cur­rent Bu­mipu­tras who still need help?

Is it fair to deny them the same op­por­tu­nity be­cause those who have al­ready ben­e­fited from the pol­icy think it is re­dun­dant?

Many of the present gen­er­a­tion take Umno sac­ri­fices lightly. They should take a leaf from the book of our pre­de­ces­sors.

Their de­ter­mi­na­tion and com­mit­ment is what made Umno to­day.

To be a suc­cess­ful party, we can­not ig­nore the think­ing and as­pi­ra­tions of the peo­ple. The peo­ple now want the party and govern­ment to un­der­stand their needs, and they want to be di­rectly en­gaged.

For that, we must en­gage and in­ter­act with them. We must be recog­nised as a party that not only brings about changes, but can also change from within.

Umno has acted boldly to amend the Con­sti­tu­tion to make it trans­par­ent, in­clu­sive and demo­cratic. This shows that it is will­ing to change from within.

It will con­tinue to cham­pion the wel­fare and liveli­hood of all citizens. Umno must be known for its ser­vice to the peo­ple.

And, fi­nally, as stressed by Na­jib, Umno is the party of the masses and up­holds the as­pi­ra­tions of the peo­ple.

His­tory has shown that when Umno was close to the peo­ple, it felt their pulse. And, that is why the party spear­headed the es­tab­lish­ment of agen­cies, such as Felda, Mara, and the Farm­ers’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion Author­ity, to im­prove the lives of the peo­ple.

All the points in Na­jib’s in­au­gu­ral speech are still fresh in my mind. I’m sure other party mem­bers re­mem­ber it, too.

The de­vel­op­ment of the last eight years proves Umno is still rel­e­vant. As em­pha­sised by Na­jib, to sur­vive, Umno has no choice but to em­brace re­al­ity by be­ing hum­ble and keep­ing an open mind.

As party pres­i­dent and the sixth prime min­is­ter, Na­jib has de­liv­ered al­most all the 25 points out­lined in his speech eight years ago. He needs con­tin­u­ous sup­port to shape the coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment agenda, and the Na­tional Trans­for­ma­tion 2050 (TN50) plan will be the heart of it.

FILE PIC

Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak has de­liv­ered al­most all the 25 points out­lined in his speech when he as­sumed the party’s lead­er­ship eight years ago.

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