Umno must be seen as a party that not only brings about changes, but can also change from within
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He began by reminding delegates about three important elements — that Umno is not stagnant or outdated, it is serious in wanting to become dynamic, progressive and responsive to current needs, and 2009 was a gathering point where the party opened a new chapter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