Final push before elections
THE 2016 Umno Annual General Assembly which begins today may be the last chance for the backbone party of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition to rally its members ahead of the next general election (GE14), widely speculated to be held in the first half of next year.
More than 5,000 delegates from every corner of the country will attend the five-day gathering at Putra World Trade Centre, which will start with the opening of three wing assemblies by the respective heads tonight.
Party president Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak will deliver his keynote address on Thursday, in which he is expected to drum home the importance of unity and solidarity ahead of GE14.
Federal Territories Umno Youth chief Mohd Razlan Rafii said he expected the prime minister to outline strategies of what the party would be doing to face challenges ahead of GE14.
“The delegates must be told what the party achievements and contributions are so they can disseminate the information to the grassroots and counter opposition propaganda,” he said.
Mohd Razlan added that the delegates and Umno members nationwide also wanted to know how the party plans to deal with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) and Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan), which were formed by former top Umno leaders.
He said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal may still have some influence among Umno members.
Mahathir and Muhyiddin are leading the Malay-based PPBM, while Shafie has gone regional with his Sabah-based Warisan. Both Umno splinter parties are currently working with the opposition coalition to capture Putrajaya.
Separately, close interaction between Umno and PAS seem to have raised concern among BN coalition partners and grassroots.
Many hope Najib will address this as well as the party’s stand on the controversial Private Member’s Bill by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to amend the powers of syariah courts.
Rosmah presenting an award to Aqsa Syarif Humanitarian Care Malaysia vice-chairman Dr Fauziah Mohd Hassan at the ceremony yesterday. At right is Shahrizat.