Tengku Adnan: Problem of perception main challenge for Umno


(Bernama) – Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said the problem of perception is the main challenge in strengthening the image of the party.

He said after the 2004 general election, Umno not only faced accusations of practising cronyism, being elitist and corrupted, but also ex-members, who could not get positions when in Umno, sowed negative perceptions about the party.

“Those disappointed, they leave we know. When they do not succeed in the party they quit. He should ask why he did not make it in Umno. There must be a reason. Don’t think they were blocked (from moving up) or pressured (to leave),” Tengku Adnan stressed.

He said this to Bernama in an exclusive interview at Umno’s headquarters at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here in conjunction with Umno’s general assembly from November 28 to December 1. 

He said despite facing difficulty of confronting the “enemy”, he was optimistic the image of the party would improve further through efforts implemented, including the political transformation initiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is also Umno president. 

Tengku Adnan said as the government, Barisan Nasional headed by Umno was not free of making mistakes but the new leadership under Najib had carried out numerous innovations to overcome shortcomings. 

“I am not saying we are perfect as a government… indeed there were mistakes made but we can see our new leader is making, and has made changes. We want to move forward, we don’t want to go back. Give him a chance,” he said.

Touching on the general assembly, he said delegates could touch on any issue under the topics of the president’s address, economy, politics, religion and education subject to the guidelines set by the Committee on Resolutions which is chaired by Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

“We do not restrict because the committee will have discussions with delegates and issue guidelines because some get over-excited when given a microphone.

“We also remind delegates not to use the gathering as a platform to project themselves and attract the attention of the leaders to pick them as candidates for the general election,” he said.

Tengku Adnan said the delegates must also focus their speeches on the importance of believing in the policies of Umno which was fighting for all the communities and not only as an umbrella of the Malays.

He said their excitement to debate also must be moderated so that what would be said would not offend any party.

He said those debating must also be sensitive to the accusations hurled by the opposition against Umno and insert reminders in their debates that the party did not promise riches to individuals but fought in the interest of the people.

The general assembly this year will be attended by 2,759 delegates. 

Meanwhile, Umno’s two-day Wanita, Youth and Puteri general assemblies will start on November 27. Each wing will be represented by 991 delegates.