A victorious post-UMNO AGM Najib reveals the legacy of loyalty and respect he commands

Umno Assembly

Malaysian Digest

The closure of the UMNO General Assembly 2015 less than a week ago witnessed an unexpected triumph for UMNO President and Malaysia’s prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He managed to come out at the top despite widespread speculations among political pundits that Najib was heading into his ‘Waterloo’, to face defeat in the hands of his nemesis, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his team of vocal dissenters within UMNO’s ranks that have rallied to the Opposition’s cause to topple Najib.

Clearly it was a stronger, more confident Najib who emerged post-UMNO AGM, buoyed by the unanimous show of support from party members as he spoke in front of 2654 UMNO delegates from all over the country.

Meanwhile, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who has been making waves with his hints and remarks of a rebellion against his boss fell short of performance.

Even Tun M is currently being investigated by police under suspicion of being involved in a plot to topple the prime minister using stolen and falsified documents about 1MDB.

Party members have chose to close ranks behind their No.1, leaving the party No.2 in the cold. Did Tun M and Muhyiddin underestimate Najib’s command of the party or did they forget what UMNO’s legacy is based on?

The basic concepts of respect and adhering to principles are important values to any political party. Loyalty towards party leadership must not only be declared through words but also be proven through actions.

At the close of the UMNO AGM, President Datuk Seri Najib Razak voiced his strong determination to hold on to his principles, not bowing down to any pressure both from inside and outside of the party.

He received rounds of standing ovations from the General Assembly crowd as he lauded “No Retreat, No Surrender”.

UMNO leaders stood up clapping while he hailed ‘Hidup UMNO, Hidup Melayu’ (Long live UMNO, long live the Malays).

The obviously distressed Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin even reluctantly stood up with the rest in a show of support for Najib.

That received another round of applause which shook the Tun Razak Hall in PWTC where the assembly was held.

UMNO Deputy President Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal was even reminded with a pat in the back by deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to stand up with the rest of the crowd to show support for the UMNO President.

Even with the hostility and differing opinions shared by Muhyiddin and Shafie, UMNO delegates still wanted them to show their loyalty towards the party, to ultimately unite for UMNO as only with respect and loyalty towards the leadership that can unity for the party be achieved.

These two aspects of loyalty and respect determine the strength of UMNO. Najib, who is also the country’s Prime Minister, need this more than ever to maintain a strong front to lead the country, and he has to be able to count on his group of cabinet ministers, his party and his coalition partners in Barisan Nasional.

This act of loyalty towards party leadership was demonstrated by Najib himself back in 1987 when he was still under then Malaysia Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Najib stood by the Prime Minister when the Deputy President Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah carry almost half of UMNO out of the party to form Semangat 46.

Najib’s couldn’t emphasize loyalty enough in his opening speech on the first day of the UMNO General Assembly 2015 last week.

It is normal for any members of political parties to voice out their differing opinions. However, differences must be aired through the right medium and members should refrain from attempts to humiliate each other within their party thus weakening its defence against Opposition parties.

Tun M must realize that different leaders have different ways of managing their teams and not all that he wants are suitable for the current well-being of the country.

There is no doubt that the former Prime Minister has done a great deal for the country and he should be applauded for making Malaysia the fast-developing country that we know of today. However, now it’s time to allow Najib to carve his own history in steering the nation forward.

It is also time for UMNO leaders to stand up and make sure Tun M gets the message loud and clear that his attacks are causing irreparable damage to the party.

His son, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir as Kedah MB must also step in and try to defend the party against his father as he too represents the voices of Najib and UMNO.

Mukhriz should respect Najib as the President of UMNO equally as he respects his father and if his principles clashes with the President, then he should reconsider his position within the party.

UMNO demands that party loyalty supersedes individual differences and if any leader within the party has problems coming to grips with that concept, perhaps they no longer belong there.