Umno to field many new faces

In the fourth objective, Najib wished for the assembly to become a fulfilment and to give a strong message to the 12.4 registered voters and 28 million population of Malaysia that they could rely on Umno to bring the country to a greater heights. 

Daily Express

Umno is expected to field many new faces in the next general election compared to the previous elections.

Umno President Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the move was not only necessary to strengthen the party but also to show that Umno was a dynamic party that was always willing to undertake changes.

“We normally do this during the general election…there will certainly be changes and in some areas, we find that innovations are certainly needed.

“Probably this time the line-up of new faces may be bigger, probably more than in the last general election in terms of new faces…,” the Prime Minister told reporters at the conclusion of the Umno General Assembly 2011, here.

Also present was Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Umno deputy president.

Commenting further, Najib said there were Umno elected representatives who had seen him personally, expressing their willingness to make way for new faces in the next general election.

On the suggestion by the delegates that the names of candidates be announced much earlier, Najib said the announcement could not be too early nor too late.

“We are studying for the right time. If in the past, we found it very difficult to make the announcement late, but if the announcement is too early, there may be other problems,” he said.

Responding to a question whether the existing elected representatives would be retained for the next general election, Najib said those showing good performance could possibly be renominated in the 13th general election.

“Because, when we sounded out the concept of a winnable candidate, we did not say two or three terms after which we replace them.

We hold on to the concept of a winnable candidate,” he said.

Asked whether Umno and the BN would hold discussions with Independent candidates to contest in a particular constituency, Najib said this would be decided later.

Meanwhile, Najib hoped that the present Umno elected representatives who might not be renominated for the next general election would continue to give their support to the new candidate chosen by the top leadership.

“I hope that they support the new candidate because when they were first nominated, the people supported them and they had risen up because other people had made way for them, otherwise, they could not go up.

“So, when the time comes, they must make way for the sake of the party.

I hope they understand and will support the party, and accept the fact that they had benefited before from the support given by the other people,” Najib added.

Najib also said Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno want to form a strong government in the next general election.

“Whatever constitutes the definition of a strong government, this is what we want. A two-thirds (majority) is something which is ideal but what is important is a strong government,” he said.

He was responding to a question on whether he would be happy with a two-thirds majority or a simple majority for the BN in the election.

He added that a strong government could be formed from a working majority or a two-thirds majority.

Najib said that the BN was capable of winning the four opposition-ruled states in the coming election but said that he would not want to underrate the opposition.

He added it would be a mistake to underrate the opposition.

“When we want to take over a State, we need preparations and strategies which are far greater than usual,” he said.

Asked whether he would want to announce that the assembly this year was the last before the next general election, as was speculated by many, he said, “If I do that, that would mean I’m giving the cue.”

Preparations for the national polls would continue, he said, adding that BN and Umno leaders would carry on meeting the people throughout the country.

“It’s an ongoing process. We are going to make rounds, more rounds and several more; for how many more, I won’t know,” he said.

On the BN convention in Perak next month, he said, nearly all the states had held similar conventions and that the next convention could be held in Umno’s name.

To a question, Najib said, the BN had yet to decide whether to field candidates in areas contested by Independent Consensus members.

On the assembly, Najib said it had achieved all the four objectives which he had set out. Firstly, he said, he wanted the assembly to showcase Umno as a potent and united party and instil confidence among the millions of voters and the people that Umno was a family and a political organisation, and that the country’s political backbone was strong and solid.

Secondly, Najib said, he wanted the assembly to prove that Umno was a party with dignity and in a state of preparedness to face the election.

“Thirdly, I want, through this assembly, the government to get the support for our vision to institute major changes as spelled out in the national transformation plan,” he said.

Najib said the objective of the assembly was to get a full mandate from the delegates to make the transformation programme a success.

In the fourth objective, Najib wished for the assembly to become a fulfilment and to give a strong message to the 12.4 registered voters and 28 million population of Malaysia that they could rely on Umno to bring the country to a greater heights.

He said the assembly also created history when it ended with a unanimous pledge of Umno delegates, led by Deputy President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, to remain loyal to the party and its leadership.

Najib said Umno’s dismal performance at the 2008 general election was mainly due to betrayal.

“Like what was said by Muhyiddin, we have to have team spirit because when we analysed the reasons for our losses (in the last general election), we found out that we lost the battle because some Umno members had betrayed the party, right?” he said to loud cheers from the delegates and observers.

He said if all Umno members remained loyal to the party, Barisan Nasional would win the general election at any given time.

“When you go back to your constituency, don’t frown when you see the face of your division head, and to the division head, when you see your deputy’s face, please do not think that he is trying to topple you,” he said.

Najib said all Umno members should realise that they had no choice because if Umno were to be defeated, the position of Islam and the Malays in the country would also be destroyed.

“This is the sign that the party’s biggest transformation has begun.

In this historic moment, let us take the call of Allah, let us prepare ourselves with all our might to go to the battle field as a strong fighting team,” he added.

Najib said the assembly this year was both historic and successful because it has not only inspired the revival of the party but created an awareness to face the challenges that lie ahead.

“Armed with unity, commitment and confidence, God willing, we can face and overcome any challenge.

The assembly, based on my assessment, I feel this assembly is the most successful and a historic because it has triggered the start of Umno’s complete revival after the past election.”

On comments that his speech when opening the assembly was not fiery enough compared with today’s closing speech, Najib said he had saved his best for the last, in order to inspire the delegates during the closing.

“I want to stress that Umno’s concept must be understood.

When we look at history, Umno has contributed immensely to the country and the Malays,” he said.