Shahrizat: May 13 could repeat if Umno weak

Clara Chooi, The Malaysian Insider

The spectre of May 13 was raised once again today at the opening of the Wanita Umno general assembly here, as the wing’s leader Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil used the bloody racial clash to encourage delegates to work harder for Umno’s victory.

The politician warned told nearly 1,000 delegates at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here that a weak Umno would spread uneasiness among the Malay community and possibly invite the same racial conflict that caused the bloodshed during the 1969 tragedy.

“Do we want to such a terrible situation repeated in our country? Of course we do not,” she said according to the text copy of her opening address to those gathered at Dewan Merdeka here.

Shahrizat said Umno must overcome five key challenges to strengthen itself ahead of the coming polls, including fighting off its foes in PAS, attracting more young voters and ensuring that the Malays continue to hold political power.

“If we no longer have power, then the country’s political stability will be affected.

“I fear that this could lead to a racial tension that could invite the same tragedy of May 13, 1969,” she said.

Shahrizat’s words today, although not verbally delivered to Wanita Umno delegates here, appear to contradict the message of moderation that the party leadership has been preaching prior to the assembly, Umno’s final milestone before national polls are called.

But despite this, the Wanita Umno chief, who is still embroiled in the year-long controversy over her alleged link to the multimillion ringgit National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal, dedicated many parts of her speech to warning Malaysians and party members against allowing the federal opposition to take Umno’s seat in government.

She likened the situation to a disease, saying that it could spread and become dangerous if left to fester.

This will result in a “frightening” outcome where Umno becomes a party deemed as no longer relevant in the country.

“These effects are very frightening, particularly if we are no longer strong. Therefore, we must suitable steps to overcome this,” she said.

Among others, Shahrizat said the Malay economy must be strengthened, reiterating Wanita Umno’s request that the government ensure the community controls at least 50 per cent of equity.

She added that the government has also made effort to ensure that it takes care of the people’s livelihoods by people-centric initiatives such as the RM500 cash handouts under the Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) to lower income households.

On Wanita Umno, Shahrizat offered the wing’s commitment to ensure that the party’s election machinery is in place across the country.

She pointed out that the wing forms the backbone of the ruling party and plays a crucial role in ensuring that the party’s messages reach its targets on the ground.

Shahrizat later urged delegates to rise to their feet and pledge their allegiance to Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.