‘Let’s work towards a new mandate’

CHARISMATIC: Policy speech delivered by Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Umno general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. The theme is ‘Transformative Leadership towards the National Vision’

PRAISE be to God. In a great sense of humility, we are gathered once again to discharge our usual responsibility as an organisation in holding the annual general assembly of our beloved party, the United Malays National Organisation or Umno.

Indeed, such a gathering is not merely a ritual in fulfilling the requirement of the organisation’s calendar. Rather, it is a great resolve to implement the process of reflection and rejuvenation by rectifying weaknesses, strengthening the party machinery, enriching the direction of the organisation and thus ensuring the survival of the fold.

As we all know, this is the last general assembly before the 13th general election. The Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives), if it is not dissolved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the prime minister, will dissolve by itself on 28 April next year.

Therefore, each one of us, regardless of whether they are our brothers and sisters down there, the ladies and gentlemen who have taken up the space above, not to mention the leaders here and, of course, the so many Umno members wherever they may be, even the anonymous, those without any position or rank, no matter if they have never stepped into this blessed hall, I believe all of us can feel the intensity of the gust in the direction of the “battle ground”.

Most obviously, we can feel that our party has improved in spirit. We are confident that the party machinery, from the branches to the divisions, liaison and national levels, is also prepared to face the coming general election.

Now, the reverberating signals and the resonating drums are gaining momentum. The time has come to take the necessary steps, the time is due to streamline teams, the moment has arrived to buckle up the horses.

Carrying our respective roles, let’s go back to the people to renew the mandate.

At the same time, brothers and sisters, let’s pray as much as we can that, with God’s blessings, when we meet at this Merdeka Hall next year, we will gather again backed by strong support as the ruling party to manage the nation’s interests and to prosper the economy and the people over the next five years.

In fact, even more than that, I hope that with the blessings of the Almighty, we will remain the ruling party that will raise Malaysia to the ranks of a developed nation when 2020 dawns.

Nevertheless, while we fan the fire of the fighting spirit, let’s not forget the past. Remember, the 12th general election in March 2008 was a bitter experience, most painful, in the political history of Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN).

In this regard, I believe that the waves, storms and resistance of these years have instilled awareness in the minds of all.
For a political party that has buttressed the Federal Government for more than half a century, the bitter episode should serve as a lesson for us all. In fact, it was a clear signal of the Malaysian people to Umno and its partners in BN to change, according to the tastes, aspirations and expectations of the people.

What is certain is that we cannot just go on talking and procrastinating. We need to intensify our actions and redouble our efforts. Only in this way will Umno continue to be noticed, always taken into account and eternally cared for by the people.
As such, in the period of less than four years since I and my colleagues were entrusted with the leadership of the party and government, we have tirelessly worked hard to fulfil the needs and wants of the people.
Despite facing difficulties and challenges, we were steadfast in striving to restore the trust, confidence and support of the people in the party and government.
Indeed, what could have been done inconsequentially or arbitrarily during this period was allowed to be widely negotiated and heard, in keeping with the principle that the era of the government knows best and having monopoly over wisdom is over.
Hence, recounting the journey of this leadership, we have chalked up commendable outcomes. Among others, we succeeded in shielding Malaysia from the global economic crisis, placed it back on the path of sustainable growth and got us out of the middle-income country trap. Furthermore, we mapped out a rigorous and detailed journey for Malaysia to achieve the status of a high-income developed nation.

New realities of the national political landscape

In aspiring for victory and perpetuity as a political organisation, we should glance back for a moment before moving ahead so as to know where our party stands. Is it in a better position than yesterday? Have we made enough preparations for the days ahead?

Certainly, in overcoming the major obstacles of our struggle, the concrete steps forward must be taken with prudence and wisdom, sincerely putting the people’s interests first, but not with trickery, empty promises, deceit or Fata Morgana (mirage). Only then will all our quests receive the blessings of God.

With this realisation and spirit, let us consider the demographic reality of Malaysia that has undergone a radical change. The majority of the 29 million population of today was born after Malaysia Day, with nearly 70 per cent living in the urban areas. Forty per cent are aged 17 to 23 and are pursuing various levels of post-secondary education.
Eighty per cent are those under the age of 45 while half of our people are under the age of 25.
Another important factor is that the transformation of voters, particularly, and Malaysians, in general, did not occur within a day or two, but had been taking place, little by little, for more than five decades. It was driven by the success of the policies and programmes initiated by the Alliance government and continued later by the Barisan Nasional government.
In fact, the improved standard of living,  urbanisation, access to education and the progress of information technology, communications and transportation have changed the preferences, tastes, value systems and profile of the Malaysian voter. The tastes and expectations, particularly of the young people, have changed drastically. Furthermore, the average voter is now better informed and critical in nature.
Besides, it is a fact that since March 2008, there are 2.9 million new voters, regardless of age group.
This figure is significant because it represents more than one-fifth of the total number of Malaysian voters, which is 13.1 million. This means that one in every five voters at the 13th general election will be a new voter or a first-time voter.

Challenges for Umno

In facing the current political challenges and tribulations, Umno and BN cannot afford to feel relieved and take it easy, hoping for the people’s support based on the nostalgia over past deeds or what the party and government has done so far.

Considering these challenges, the 13th general election poses an option for us, that is whether we, as individuals or collectively, desire victory for the party or otherwise.

At the same time, talking of the system of parliamentary democracy, such as in Malaysia, the government is formed by a political party or a coalition of political parties that wins the majority of seats in the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives). This means, winning a majority of the 222 seats up for contest determines the continuity of the BN government.

However, victory in the elections depends on many factors, such as voters in a locality, the efficiency of the machinery in every division and the candidates fielded. Additionally, the current reality is that the people’s support for the national and state leadership does not necessarily translate into votes for the party’s candidates in a locality.

It is said that things are different before and now. In the past, anyone fielded by the party is a winnable candidate. This no longer holds true. Now, the success of a candidate in contemporary elections depends on their acceptance by those whom they want to represent.

The winnable candidates selected by the party should be able to provide added value, not only in terms of acceptability within the party but also in terms of them being accepted by the community in the locality as the voters, and more than that, they should be able to cooperate with voluntary organisations and civil society because they are the actual voters.

Another reality is that over 95 per cent of Malaysians were born after the formation of Umno. Therefore, the evaluation of the new generation of voters of today is not based on past experience, what more what was done yesterday, but it is based on the merit of today with the vision for tomorrow.

In conclusion, victory in the final analysis is the result of the joint effort of all Malaysians from the various races, religions and ideologies, young and old, male and female, urban and rural folk, blue and white collar workers, the public sector, the private sector and government-linked companies, non-governmental organisations and the community. In short, each of us is responsible and accountable to choose the best for Malaysia.

Above all, people today are smart enough to tell the difference between glass and precious stone. Voters are able to assess that empathy to the people by a candidate is true and sustained not only for elections.

In this context, I would like to urge that we  party leaders be diligent in serving the people, be competent and humble. Like the elders say, a person of standing will not lose his status even in a state of humility.  

Armed with the brightly lit torch of struggle, we must be courageous in working hard, we must continue to persevere to convince the people that we are the leading choice of leadership, that only we can bring a better future to them and their children and grandchildren.

What I can say is that we must be sincere in serving the people. Hold fast to the sayings of scholars, that the good and the bad will eventually show up.

On this occasion, take a leaf from the mission of Prophet Muhammad as a cue for the party. We have read of the Battle of Badr in which a deprived Muslim army defeated a better equipped enemy far greater in number.

Whereas in the Battle of Uhud, the Muslim army was defeated despite being as strong as the enemy. It was written that the defeat in the Battle of Uhud was because of weakness in the chain of control and administration of the forces and the negligence of the archers in obeying orders, compared to the Battle of Badr.

The lesson we gain from this Sira literature pertains to the importance of organisational discipline in a party. The implication of non-compliance in the struggle as a flock is failure; we will go down, we will be defeated.

This question of organisational discipline must be well understood. It is the cornerstone of factors that will determine the success or failure of an organisation to achieve the desired goals. In the military field, it can determine victory or defeat on the battlefield.

In a political organisation, which exists in a system of parliamentary democracy, organisational discipline determines whether the political party wins or loses in an election. In essence, organisational discipline means putting the interests of the organisation above the interests of the individual.

Taking into account Verse 83 of Surat an-Nisa’, congregational discipline demands that we must be prepared to accept decisions made by the leadership of the party and, if we do not agree, must use the appropriate organisational channels to deliver such opinion.    

Most importantly, if a final decision has been made, accept it with an open heart and implement it in the best possible way. Truly, as has been mentioned by great leaders of the past, a rule may be small but will be very difficult to follow; that’s what you call loyalty and compliance to instructions.

Transformative continuity

On the other hand, opinions and conventional political theories which say that change and reform will only succeed if we change the government cannot be applied in Malaysia.

For more than 50 years now, the Alliance Party and then BN have continually led our beloved country and brought about change and renewal, not in bits but through a quantum leap by way of Transformative Continuity.  
We have seen how Malaysia has been transformed from a colonised country to an independent nation, from a low-income agricultural country into a modern industrial upper middle-income nation.

Therefore, with Transformative Continuity, the people can see that even if this leadership comes from the same party, changes and renewal occur in a dynamic, continuous and orderly manner.

It means that the ruling party always considers the latest methods or engineering to meet the needs of the time. We ceaselessly make improvements and changes in ideas, policies and programmes which are complete and comprehensive. Basically, we make timely and appropriate changes every time we face a time curve.

We have heard the view, why not give a chance to the opposition to win (the election) to assess their capability and ability to manage the country and the people.

However, this is a high risk because the future of our nation, our families and our children is too precious to be gambled with. Changing a government without proper, thorough and critical evaluation will be akin to entrusting a wolf to tend sheep.  

Indeed, the aspiration of every political party is to obtain a mandate from the people in order to form the government and have its leader become the prime minister. Various promises and commitments are made towards achieving this.   
For a party helming the government, the evaluation is done by people based on two yardsticks.
Firstly, have the promises been implemented? The second benchmark is whether the new promises will be more beneficial.

As for parties that have never formed the government, they should be evaluated based on the promises being made now. If they cannot be held to and trusted at the stage of the promises, it is safer for the voters to distance themselves from these parties.

In this respect, Malaysia today is an example of a highly successful developing country, gauged in terms of either the efficacy of national institutions or even socio-economic progress.

This success is not a fantasy imagined by the BN government but real success that can be seen and enjoyed by every Malaysian. In fact, it is also a success recognised by world institutions and the international community.

Evaluated from the global benchmark, Malaysia is today among the world’s largest trading nations, with the value of exports and imports exceeding RM1 trillion. Today, we are recognised by the Institute for Management Development and the World Economic Forum as one of the 20 most competitive nations of the world.

Today, we are also recognised by the World Bank as the 12th most business-friendly country, while the United Nations Development Programme evaluates Malaysia as a country with a high human development index.  
Nevertheless, the Umno-led government does not just sit back and rest on its laurels, basking in the success. We want every Malaysian child to continue to optimise their potential; we want every child to realise their dream so that today is better than yesterday and tomorrow is full of possibilities.   

To that end, the National Transformation Policy has been formulated and implemented from the time I and my colleagues took over leadership of the party and the government over three years ago. Through this policy, we have carefully mapped the government, economic and political transformation to ensure that Vision 2020 will be achieved.

Following the implementation of the Government Transformation Programme, Economic Transformation Programme and the New Economic Model, for example, the gross national income per capita income increased 30 per cent between 2009 and last year, from US$6,700 to US$9,700 (RM20,000 to RM29,000).

The culmination is in achieving a per capita income of US$15,000. In fact, if we use the World Bank yardstick for classifying a high-income country, which is US$12,476, then it clearly shows that despite having seven more years to go, we, Malaysia, are on the right track to advance to that status even earlier.  

We are aware that the opposition, in their efforts to win the hearts of the people, have issued a manifesto, the Orange Book, on why they should be chosen as the government in place of BN on the theme “Change Now, Save Malaysia”.

This document contains a total of 59 promises to be implemented by the Pakatan Rakyat government, 10 of which are supposed to be fulfilled within the first 100 days of its administration.

Instead, all that just seems to be grandiose. In fact, the real story of the adverse effects of executing these unreasonable promises was not communicated to the people.   

They claim to be able to guarantee every Malaysian household an average monthly income of RM4,000, eliminate toll and National Higher Education Loan Fund Corporation  (PTPTN) debts, provide a monthly RM500 special allowance to teachers and raise petroleum royalties for the states by up to 20 per cent. How can they implement all these as the national economy will be destroyed?  

If implemented, in the first year the central government budget deficit will soar to nearly 30 per cent. Secondly, by 2015, the ratio of the country’s debt to gross domestic product will rise to 140 per cent. In the third year, we will reach the level of severity and loss of economic sovereignty like Greece. At that time, national economic management will no longer be in the hands of the elected government, but will have been transferred to international institutions. Is that what we want?

This is the level of quality and inability of economic planning of the opposition. However, it does not surprise us because, during the Asian financial crisis that also hit Malaysia in 1997-1998, evidently, the finance minister, I repeat, the finance minister then, the individual who is now the opposition leader, was not an efficient manager of the economy.  

He was the one who applied the virtual policy of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to deal with the economic crisis then. Everyone knew that the IMF at that time was headed by a good friend of his. His action to slash development expenditure and raise interest rates at a time of declining market confidence, which prompted injection from the government, caused misery to much of the people, especially the business community.

This person qualifies to be appropriately dubbed a political chameleon. When speaking in the United States and to other communities, he speaks in a different tone; when lecturing to the Malays and Muslims, it is another story. While he was with us in Umno, his methods were such and such; now as the leader of the opposition, his stand has changed.

Going by an adage, people say he speaks with a forked tongue. Obviously, no one can guess the real character of this person who openly supports efforts to ensure the security of Israel, at a time when the world is condemning the cruel Tel Aviv regime for the genocide of Muslims in Gaza. However, when the government tabled a motion to censure Israel in Parliament … he expressed support as well … it really puzzles me.

Also, in the Orange Book, the opposition promises the repeal of the Internal Security Act 1960 but the reality is that it was the BN government which took the bold step, to abolish not only the ISA but also the Restricted Residence Act and the Banishment Act, revoke three emergency declarations and let the enacted ordinances to lapse.

Not only that, we also amended the Universities and University Colleges Act to allow students to join political parties, amended the Printing Presses and Publications Act to eliminate the need for an annual licence, and restored the right of judicial review, in general, to the courts.

For these reasons, therefore, Malaysians should assess and decide whether they want the transformative continuity by Umno and BN or end up with the ploys and ridiculous games of the opposition.

Umno steadfast in championing Islam

Indeed, Umno always advocates and defends Islam as enshrined in the party constitution, in line with Islam’s status as the religion of the federation.

Therefore, allegations by certain quarters that Umno is a secular nationalist party is way off the mark. Recently, they went  to the point of praying for the destruction of Umno when, in fact, we are brothers of the same faith.
Isn’t it weird what they did? With our brethren in Gaza suffering misfortune and being in dire need of solidarity of Muslims, they are busy wanting the downfall of others.

The question is, does Umno, a party that manages the affairs of state administration so well, deserve to be accused of being un-Islamic and should be destroyed?

When in fact, it is Umno that has enabled Islam to be practised as a way of life in the country. Do they not see that in the decades since independence, the teachings of Islam are so widespread in the country, and not limited to the field of worship alone, but include Muslims’ obligations in the fields of social behaviour, financial transactions and refraining from committing crimes?

In this position, we have done so much in ensuring continuity of Islam. Malaysia, for example, is among the Islamic countries to have a specialised agency for comprehensive management of the haj pilgrimage. The establishment of the Pilgrims Management and Fund Board has enabled Muslims, who once had to pawn possessions, to not only save but also perform the fifth pillar of Islam in a systematic way.

The same, too, in finance. Malaysia is the only Islamic country that offers Islamic banking and financial services widely. From the pawnshop system to the issuance of sukuk. Today, we are proud and pleased that a global forum has recognised the success of Malaysia as the world’s leading Islamic financial centre.

In reality, Muslims in Malaysia not only can open a savings account at the bank without having to go through the conventional usury method but also can take home, vehicle and education loans, invest in the stock market and perform other financial transactions that are syariah-compliant.

Besides being an example of a Muslim country that is peaceful and progressive, Malaysia is also substantially contributing to peacekeeping around the world. As many know, we have sent peacekeepers, military observers as well as medical teams to Islamic countries in conflict such as Bosnia, Somalia, Lebanon and Afghanistan.  

In fact, in the latest development, Malaysia became peacemaker and mediator in resolving the conflict that had persisted for more than 40 years in the southern Philippines, to successfully open a new chapter for the Bangsamoro people.

Malaysia is also committed to seeking justice for the Palestinians. We have and will continue to fight for their legitimate rights for statehood in regional forums and globally. We are calling on the international community to honour this aspiration through the principle of the two-state solution that all have agreed to. God willing, Malaysia will be the first country to open an embassy in the capital of an independent and sovereign Palestine.

Malaysia is also concerned about the plight of the Rohingya community in Myanmar. We have called for the violence committed against them to be stopped immediately and for a just solution to be reached.  

In reference to all these, do not measure contributions for Islam only with rhetoric and slogan shouting, when the real contribution and their contents are so meagre.

As a matter of fact, the achievement to fulfil the Islamic way of life successfully was realised even though Malaysia has a multiethnic, multi cultural and multireligious society.

Why and how was this possible? None other than the fact that since independence, centred on the principle of wasatiyyah (moderation), Umno and its partners in BN with sincerity were able to achieve a high level of consensus to develop the country.

Based on all these, I would like to emphasise here that without a doubt, Umno is committed to further elevating Islam for the preservation of religion, life, property, mind, dignity and descent.  

We are not prepared to disunite Muslims. Umno will never berate or insult our brothers and sisters in Islam like what the opposition is doing. We will firmly defend the sanctity and purity of the faith.
At this gathering, we wish to state unequivocally again that we are against… vehemently opposed to those who support liberalism or pluralism.

Umno’s commitment in this is in accordance with the provisions of Clause 1 and Clause 4 of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. Clause 1 of Article 11 guarantees freedom of religion in this country, even though Clause 1 of Article 3 states that Islam is the religion of the federation.

Clause 1 of Article 11 states that every person has the right to profess and practise his religion, but subject to Clause 4, which reads “state laws and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam”.

Therefore, we would like to remind, stop trying to deceive the people. Umno was once accused of being an infidel party by mandate of a certain “Tuan Guru”, whose name I need not mention because the whole of Malaysia knows who he is. Umno was labelled as an infidel party for working with Malaysian citizens who are not Muslims, and because it purportedly did not support the establishment of an Islamic state and the implementation of hudud.

The effect of the mandate issued in 1981 was that it not only broke the unity of Muslims but also instilled the seeds of hatred among fellow Muslims. Consequently, there was the Memali tragedy, Lubok Merbau incident, incidents of congregational prayers having two imam, husbands and wives divorcing, family feuds and the surfacing of prohibition about eating meat if the animal was slaughtered by Umno people.  

The question is, is this person fit to be a leader, to be appointed by citizens to defend their own destinies? In fact, after just one term as menteri besar, the people of Terengganu rejected his leadership.

Furthermore, we find that today, the same leader and the same party condemning Umno are no longer fighting for Malaysia to be an Islamic country but, on the other hand, want to set up a welfare state. Today, they also work with a party that opposes the establishment of an Islamic state and want Malaysia to be a secular state.

Why a different goal yesterday and a different goal today? When they involve fundamental matters. Obviously no consensus has been reached between  Pas and DAP on Pas’ concept of an Islamic state and they are trying to hide this fact. If the core issue separating them cannot be resolved, how are they going to form a coalition government?

Has lust for power overtaken the principle of struggle? Do targets justify the means? Never mind if it does not involve others, but what is tragic is that it has become a festival for slander, evil propaganda and lies directed at Umno and the rest of Malaysia.

Talking about an Islamic state, notwithstanding the imputations made against Umno, the result of our struggle to uphold Islam on Malaysian soil and all over the world is still shining, still pristine and will remain so.
The latest is that an international group of Islamic scholars began independent efforts to rank countries based on the Syariah Index. We are grateful because their global study found Malaysia to be among the top five in the compliance index.

Us or them

The option before you now is BN, which is a party with a holistic plan about the future direction of the country, or the opposition, which is plagued with problems and confused about their goals whether to make Malaysia a secular, theocratic or welfare state.

Like it or not, this question is basic. Indeed, Malaysians are entitled to know the answer clearly before making the most important decision regarding their future. Elections are not experiments.

Five years is a long time in administering a country. Various forms of damage can occur, hence a country that is successful can also fail and fall apart.

Thus, throughout the passage of time, Umno has not been a party that practised tactics of deception with its component parties in BN. Unlike the DAP-Parti Keadilan Rakyat-Pas  pact, which is not anchored on integrity.

For example, in Penang, which is led by DAP, Pas does not participate in the government, it is the same in Pas-led Kedah, where DAP is not in the administration. We know the cause because they do not trust each other.

Further to this, let us go behind the scenes on DAP’s thumping of its chest that it is the most democratic party in the country. Is this true? What is the real story inside DAP?  

Everyone knows that DAP is a father, son, in-law party. Although only holding the position of member of parliament despite not being  an elected leader,  Lim Kit Siang is evidently quite a powerful individual in the opposition party.
His son is the party’s secretary-general and the chief minister of Penang while his daughter-in-law is a Malacca assemblyman and vice-president of DAP women’s wing.

It is the same story with PKR,  where it involves the husband, wife and daughter. The husband is the de facto leader but unelected. The wife is the party president and eldest child, party vice-president.

Coming back to DAP, if we examine further, the party has a simple interpretation of democracy. If there is agreement with the leadership, everything is okay. However, if a member has a different view, an example being Tunku (Abdul) Aziz (Tunku Ibrahim), former vice-chairman (of DAP), who did not agree with Bersih’s street demonstrations. Because of this, his senatorship was not renewed for a second term.

This is what democracy means to DAP. Just in wanting to express an opinion, punishment is meted out. We cannot imagine if they come to power; what will happen to the people of Malaysia who do not agree or object to their leadership. What more their political foes.

One more thing, today, there is only one Malay left among the 30 people in DAP’s central leadership. Is this called democracy? Is this what you call non-racist? Is this what you call diversity as you have been trumpeting? Malaysians, give this a lot of thought.

All said, Umno will continue to champion the Malay and Bumiputera agenda so that we are able to be on a par with the other races in this beloved country. The methods that will be used by Umno to achieve the objectives will vary according to the times.

Umno’s struggle since independence to uphold the dignity of the Malays may be divided into several phases. First, through the setting up of agencies like Mara, Felda and Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Felcra).

It was further strengthened by the creation of the Rida Training Hall, which was expanded to the Mara Institute of Technology at the end of the 1960s before the institution was upgraded to a university.

The second phase saw the formulation of the New Economic Policy and its implementation through the First Outline Perspective Plan that included four Malaysia Plans for a period of 20 years. Continuous efforts were made to eradicate poverty and restructure society.

It saw the establishment of organisations such as  Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda), the Farmers Organisation Authority, the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority and provision of micro credit through Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia and Tekun.

Efforts were also directed at creating a community of Bumiputera businessmen and industrialists. Thus, the Umno-led government established non-financial public enterprises or state-owned companies to enable Malays to enter the business world.

To increase Bumiputera equity, we set up Permodalan Nasional Berhad, which manages investment schemes like Amanah Saham Nasional, Amanah Saham Bumiputera and others. Indeed, the greatest success of this second phase was the growth of secondary educational institutions like the Mara Junior Science College, full residential science-stream secondary schools as well as admission to public institutions of higher learning through the matriculation programme.

Explicitly, Umno since independence through the first and second phases, achieved monumental success in creating a huge middle class largely made of Malay professionals, besides addressing the problems of poverty among the Malays.

Based on the first and second phases, we formulated policies and programmes that were more specific and focused, among them initiatives like  the New Economic Model, Teraju, Jejak Jaya Scheme and Pelaburan Hartanah Bumiputera. Thank God, as a result, Bumiputera equity ownership has increased from 21.9 per cent in 2008 to 23.9 per cent in 2010.

However, in the same breath, true to the calling of Verse 8 of the Al-Maidah chapter in the Quran, we have never been complacent in defending the rights and being fair to all races. This is also protected by the Federal Constitution, which was formulated based on national consensus.

While Umno is committed to the struggle of the Malays and Bumiputeras, we are also committed to ensuring that government aid and assistance reaches and are enjoyed by the poor, low- and medium-income groups of all races in Malaysia. We want the prosperity of Malaysia to be shared together and no Malaysian left behind.  

In fact, Umno appreciates and holds in high esteem the contribution of each Malaysian, irrespective of his or her background, towards national success.

Thus, we have always recognised that the pluralism we have is a pillar of strength of the nation. As a political organisation, we uphold the responsibility to continue uniting the people through our common points and not by planting the poison of our differences. This is the core philosophy of 1Malaysia: People First, Performance Now.  

The biggest difference between us and the opposition is that for us, we make promises to be fulfilled. However, the opposition makes false promises to fish for votes and, after becoming the government, all remained empty pledges.   
Ask the residents of Kampung Buah Pala in Penang, where are the sweet promises made by the PKR de facto leader in the 2008 election?

He promised that in two weeks after winning the election, the problem of the people there would be solved. Now it has been four years, the people of Penang are saying …ilekkk… (Tamil for none). In the end… it was Barisan Nasional… which resolved it.

Apart from that, as Penangites say, it would be caca marba (topsy turvy)… should Pakatan form the government. Experts in making promises, whoever is appointed their prime minister, whether it is the PKR de facto leader or Pas president, but… the Penang chief minister from DAP will pretend as if nothing has happened… on the promises. Maybe, that is why the Penang deputy chief minister 1 called his boss “cocky, arrogant and a deity”.

Next, ask the people of Kelantan whether the water problem has been resolved? Are they aware that it has been more than 20 years of Pas rule, it is still unresolved.  

Ask the people of Kedah about Pas promises made in 2008? But till today… much have remained unfulfilled… there was nothing done.

Next, we ask low-cost flat and apartment residents using bulk meters in Selangor. Where are the sweet promises of giving free water? Another issue, we ask single mothers in Selangor what happened to the monthly allowance of RM100 promised to them? This is not right.  

It is different with us, Umno and the BN government. As proof, since my colleagues and I took over the party leadership and government, through various efforts and initiatives, this party and this government not only made promises and gave hope, we went the extra mile, explored a million ways to fulfil the promises made.  

For example, under the short-term measures:

WE have the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) for low-income people;
WE have the 1Malaysia book vouchers for all undergraduates;
WE have RM100 aid for all school students; and,
 WE have the 1Malaysia tyre scheme for taxi drivers

For the medium term, among others:

WE establish the Rural Transformation Centres;

WE establish the Urban Transformation Centres; and,

WE have 1Malaysia People’s Shops (KR1M), 1Malaysia Clinics, 1Malaysia Textile Stores and 1Malaysia Bookstores.

 For the long-term, we have the Government Transformation Programme and the Economic Transformation Programme initiatives under the National Transformation Policy until we achieve developed nation status. God willing.
To some parties, we would like to remind them, if you are not good at dancing, don’t say it’s because the floor is uneven. Today, various national institutions have come under attack from wild allegations, with the evil purpose of confusing and creating suspicion among the people.  

For example, the Election Commission (EC) has been defamed incessantly. To the extent of demonstrations being organised. We know, they were doing it as a pre-emptive measure. Because should they lose in the election, it would not be the factor of not getting the people’s support but it would be the EC which would be blamed for being unfair and incompetent.  

And that is why without feeling ashamed, they complain to foreign powers to internationalise domestic problems when they know the action would only humiliate the country and insult the intelligence of Malaysians.
Actually, there is no need to involve foreigners to teach us how to manage the country. Do not be a modern “Si Kitul” to the point of being willing to betray the people and country.

It is more than half a century since we became independent… we know the ways of our own country. After they won five states in the last election, they started bragging even though they had not done a thing.

As I said, is it not Pas that has led the Kelantan state government for 22 years? Was it not Pas that won the first election of the state in 1959? Is it not Pas that is heading the Kedah government? Was it not Pas that ruled Terengganu and Perak?

Isn’t it PKR that is now heading the Selangor government while DAP rules Penang?

Apart from that, many may still remember that before joining BN,  Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and Gerakan were opposition parties and was it not PBS what won the Sabah election in 1985 and Gerakan which won the Penang election in 1969.

Lastly, as recorded in events, is it not BN that failed to obtain a two-third majority in the 2008 general election?

Therefore, if the EC is incompetent and dishonest, all these would not have happened. As it turns out, democracy has been functioning, consistently and effectively in Malaysia. And as it turns out, the electoral process is clean and the people are mature and wise to choose.

The 13th general election is no ordinary election. It is a determinant of the destiny of the people and country.   

This election will shape the Malaysia of tomorrow to be inherited by our children. It will be a toss between a developed Malaysia based on shared values and goals or a backward Malaysia separated by invisible barriers compounded with suspicion and prejudice.

In fact, through the hard work of each generation, we have established a Malaysia admired and respected by our friends. Who would have expected this land teeming with diversities to rise and successfully address the challenges of nationhood.  

The choice is also clear for us to see our children regardless of race or religion laughing, growing and vacationing together, or being brought up with a burning hatred.  

From one aspect, a noble path carved out since independence, bathed in the blood, sweat and tears of the patriots of all time.  

We have to always remember how difficult it was for our founding fathers to build what we are enjoying today. Indeed, we are indebted to the late Tunku Abdul Rahman (Putra Al Haj), the late Tun Abdul Razak (Hussein), the late Tun Hussein (Onn), Tun Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) and Tun Abdullah (Ahmad Badawi).

Instead, from another aspect, there is this winding road, dim and dark, built on defamation, falsehood and empty promises. If the people are hoodwinked by the whistles luring them to that path, trust me, this lovely country will just disintegrate and collapse.

It is certain that Umno will not allow all these to happen. We can replace lost property. We can regain a lost position. But, if we go down in this struggle, we do not have anything left. We will be brought down to our knees, and eventually become destitute in our own land.

Where on this earth is there no rain, which sea has no turbulence? Where on this earth are there people, or leaders, or companies or parties that have never stumbled or committed a mistake? As the leadership of the party and government, we put our palms together in apology for any oversight.

Therefore, I, as the president of Umno, along with the deputy president, and the whole party leadership, in the name of God and His Messenger, pledge and promise to continue to give priority to the well-being of the people, uphold the Malay race, fortify faith and safeguard Islam.

Whatever the obstacles and challenges, Umno will not retreat even one step, Umno will not turn back. Umno will not waver in its duty. Umno and BN will march right there in front, and face the enemy from outside and within.

We will use everything within our means to win over the hearts and minds of the people in the democratic arena. We will compete for every vote; we will try to convince every Malaysian. We will also knock on the door of every heart and open every gateway of hope.

We believe Malaysians deserve the best government and we are confident that only Umno and BN can offer the best to the people of Malaysia.

It is here… it is here that we were born. It is here… it is here that our first cry emanated. It is here that we built our families and it is here that we charted our future. It is also here, with the permission of God, the Almighty, that we will be laid to rest.

Fill this blessed land with peace-loving people. Prosper this birthplace so that the gains spilleth over.

Come, sons and daughters… come, champions of the race. Render your service quickly. Safeguard … safeguard the only ark of independence… safeguard… safeguard Putrajaya.

It has dawned, bringing hope to the Land of Malaysia… the Land of Malaysia… a jewel.

Long live Umno. Long live Barisan. Long live Malaysia.

Delegates listening attentively to Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s policy speech at the Umno general assembly yesterday. Pic by Syarafiq Abd Samad

Datuk Seri Najib Razak speaking at the Umno general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre yesterday. He is confident that the party machinery at all levels is prepared to face the next general election. Pic by Yusni Ariffin

Delegates Kamariah Ibrahim, 63, (left) and Normah Ismail, 64, from Umno Penang are touched by Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s speech at the general assembly yesterday. Pic by Salhani Ibrahim

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