STAY­ING CLOSE

Umno must be seen as a party that not only brings about changes, but can also change from within

New Straits Times - - Opinion -

IN con­junc­tion with Umno’s 71st an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion, I re-read the in­au­gu­ral speech by Umno pres­i­dent Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak in 2009 when he took over from Tun Ab­dul­lah Ah­mad Badawi.

He be­gan by re­mind­ing del­e­gates about three im­por­tant el­e­ments — that Umno is not stag­nant or out­dated, it is se­ri­ous in want­ing to be­come dy­namic, pro­gres­sive and re­spon­sive to cur­rent needs, and 2009 was a gath­er­ing point where the party opened a new chap­ter with re­newed spirit, a new ap­proach and di­rec­tion.

Now, at 71, Umno will con­tinue to face chal­lenges.

Is Umno still rel­e­vant? The an­swer is “yes”. Why?

His­tory has shown that the peo­ple, re­gard­less of re­li­gion and eth­nic back­ground, and from all walks of life have ex­pressed their wish to con­tinue sup­port­ing Barisan Na­sional, of which Umno is the core of the coali­tion.

The peo­ple chose BN be­cause of its track record and proven ex­cel­lence in ad­min­is­tra­tion. BN has been the de­fender of the peo­ple over the years, and Umno is ac­cepted as the party that fights not for the in­ter­ests of the Malays and Bu­mipu­tra only, but also for all eth­nic groups.

Al­most 50 years ago, in 1969, Umno spear­headed the ef­fort to save the coun­try from the brink of de­struc­tion caused by racial con­flict.

Na­jib had stressed that we should never for­get the May 13, 1969 ri­ots, where Umno could have cho­sen to es­tab­lish a oneparty govern­ment or sup­port a mil­i­tary coup, but it did not do any of those things.

In­stead, Umno stood up for the peo­ple; this clearly showed that Umno was not a party crazy for power, nei­ther was it racist.

In 1989, Umno once again led an ef­fort to man­age the coun­try dur­ing a re­ces­sion and be­gan the process of in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion.

Ten years later, it again acted de­ci­sively to save the coun­try

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