STRENGTH, UNITY

New Straits Times - - News / Politics -

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.”

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