Najib tells Umno to close ranks, prepare for ‘war’

By Yow Hong Chieh, The Malaysian Insider

Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak has called on his party to close ranks and prepare to go to polls ahead of next week’s Umno general assembly, widely expected to be the last before the next general election.

In an interview with Bernama today, Najib, who is also prime minister, said Umno must focus all its efforts on improving training, knowledge, logistics and the mindset of members to strengthen the party and ensure electoral victory.

“We should be prepared in a holistic and comprehensive manner, either in terms of training, knowledge, logistics or in terms of our mindset, our frame of mind, to focus on efforts which could strengthen our party, and to avoid engaging in acts that could weaken the party.

“So it is incumbent that our approach must be able to create a strong front, we must close our ranks and we must show the kind of strength that will strike fear among our opponents,” he said, according to the full transcript of the interview on Bernama Online.

Likening the election to war, Najib said Umno must bolster its strategy, logistics and equipment well before even the first shot is fired.

He added that “fundamental values” like loyalty and allegiance, discipline, commitment and teamwork are also qualities that are needed to be fostered in the party ahead of elections.

“All these are fundamental values which we must internalise and which we must not compromise. Otherwise, our party will stand to lose in certain areas,” he said.

Umno needs to have mental strength and fortitude if it wishes to endure the psychological and emotional stress when competing in enemy territory, Najib also said.

“If we are mentally resilient and our spirit is strong, we shall overcome… even if the playing field is not level, like in Jakarta,” he said, drawing an analogy with the Malaysian football team’s SEA Games success in Indonesia.

Najib desperately needs to win a two-thirds parliamentary majority in the next election to secure his mandate.

His government has moved aggressively into the opposition’s Middle Malaysia fortress in recent months, armed with promises of greater freedoms and civil liberties.

To date, the prime minister has repealed three Emergency declarations, pledged to abolish the Internal Security Act (ISA), tabled the Peaceful Assembly Bill, set up the parliamentary select committee on electoral reform and given more leeway to university students to participate in politics.