strength and unity from the country’s biggest party, as it gears up for what could be a hotly contested GE14.
While the election is not due until June next year, analysts have predicted that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak would call for snap polls as early as September or October.
The expected turnout will reinforce Umno’s status as the backbone of the Barisan Nasional coalition, and prove that Umno stands united despite its past crises and tribulations.
More importantly, the 140,000 members, representing the party’s 191 divisions throughout the country, are throwing their undivided support behind Najib, who is also Umno president.
Umno’s top brass had made it clear that this year’s gathering will prove that Umno and BN were ready to face GE14, in the event that Parliament is dissolved before the government’s five-year term ends.
All eyes will be on Najib this evening, where he is expected to deliver a thunderous keynote address to not only fire up Umno and BN’s fighting spirit, but also lay down plans for the coalition’s future direction.
This comes against the backdrop of the strong confidence displayed by Najib who, last month, said Umno and BN would emerge triumphant in GE14 regardless when it was called.
Najib is also expected to reiterate the points he sent across to party stalwarts during Umno’s general assembly last year, and to remind the party that it must prevail in the tough battle ahead.
Besides Najib’s speech, the special live telecast from the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here will be one of the historic moments to unfold during this evening’s massive gathering.
The live telecast will show the groundbreaking for Umno’s new headquarters, which will feature a 70-storey tower built near Umno’s current building at PWTC.
The groundbreaking, held in conjunction with Umno’s anniversary celebrations, is a clear reminder to party members that Umno continues to expand in size and strength.
This was evident after Umno executive secretary Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh recently revealed that party membership increased by more than 3,000 in just one week in April, compared with the usual weekly increase of between 200 and 300.
Meanwhile, Rauf, when met at the national stadium here yesterday, said the organisers were all set to welcome the party’s loyal supporters.
He said the preparations were 100 per cent completed and they were ready to welcome those who wished to join in the celebration.
“The state divisions have also given their full commitment and we expect the stadium to be filled with more than 100,000 Umno supporters coming in from 5pm today.”
The celebration would see the participation of 17 political parties representing different countries, Rauf said.
“We have invited not only BN component parties, but also other foreign parties through their embassies.”