The long awaited 59th UMNO assembly is finally held sucessfully in PWTC, Kuala Lumpur on 24-28 Mac 2009 and a new line of leaders has been selected by the UMNO delegates to lead UMNO for years to come.
The newly elected leaders are entrusted to take courageous steps to reform the 63 year old party to a greater heights in the face of transformation of society and radical global changes.
Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak has been elected uncontested as the 7th President of UMNO
While Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin becomes Deputy presiden by garnering 1575 votes defeating Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib. The 3 Vice Presidents elected are Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (1592 votes) , Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein (1515 votes) and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (1445 votes) .
At the same time , Datuk Seri Sharizat Abdul Jalil won the Wanita Chief post, while Khairy Jamaluddin won the Youth Chief post. Datuk Rosnah Shirlin Abdul Rashid from Sabah won the Puteri UMNO Chief post. Another 25 Supreme Council members were elected in a keen contest . Some members were reelected while few were first timers, including Dato’ Ahmad Shabery Cheek, the Information Minister. Surprisingly, some veteran leaders who were holding ministerial and menteri besar post lost in their bid to become vice president and sumpreme council members.
This is the first time that the UMNO delegates has chosen the Sabah UMNO leaders for the key positions, including a vice president, 3 supreme council members and Puteri UMNO chief. This indicates that UMNO is willing to accomodate to the changes and reality of political demands.
The out going UMNO president Datuk Seri Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi, in his address to the party delegates at 59th UMNO general assembly has made several cardinal proposals to UMNO to regain its glory .
Among the important proposals which need immediate considerations are:
• UMNO should not restrict the freedom of citizens and silencing criticism.
• Term of party office-bearers to be limited.
• Allow all UMNO members to choose their leaders for key positions to overcome the problem of money politics.
• Discard extremism and never practice discrimination to avoid non-Malays view UMNO as a racist party.
• Concentrate on the commonalities that unite us, rather than the differences than can divide us.
Pak Lah also pointed out without any reservations that UMNO of the present day is seen as a corrupt party and alienated from the grassroot members who were the pillars of UMNO.UMNO is facing the problem of credibility and erosion of trust among the rakyat or public.
He also cited five major factors which has led to this sad situation. They are:
• Number of UMNO leaders are out of touch with their grassrot members.
• Neglect of rural community in pursuit of developed status.
• Political programmes of UMNO does not reach the younger generation.
• Prolonged conflict among party members for party positions
• Materialism has seeped into the party.
Recently, the non-malays, particularly the citizen of Indian origins, felt that their legitimate rights has been over looked by the government dominated by UMNO . Many non-Malay citizens perceived that the power-sharing formula practised by Barisan National , the working formula originated ever since the foundation of this multi -racial country, has benefited the Malay community more than the non-Malay citizens. They also felt that their long supported party,MIC, do not represent them effectively in BN. This negatif perception has caused many Indians unhappy. The unhappiness which culminated over many years has caused the tsunami effect on the 12th general election.Since then the political landscape has altered drastically .
No one can deny that the ledership of UMNO forms the ledership of this multi-racial country. Thus, the perceptions held by the non-Malay citizens about UMNO helps will certaintly determine the success of UMNO and BN in winning elections and forming government to manage this country. UMNO must not only struggle to safeguard the interest of the Malay community but also must be seen doing justice in taking care of the legitimate interest of the non-Malay citizens.
Hence, taking the cue from the 12th general election results, the new breed of UMNO leaders should wake up from the denial syndrome and endeavour with open hearts to build cooperation, mutual trust and understanding among its non Malay citizens towards UMNO to regain not only its glory but also its relevency in malaysian multi-racial politics.
Let us congratulate the newly elected leaders , particularly the UMNO President, YAB Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak, and wish them good luck in their endeavours to make this God blessed country a better place to live for every citizens. Let us give them our undivided support in their efforts to face the economic challenges we anticipate in the new future.
At the same time let us record our sincere appreciation and thanks to the out going UMNO president , Dato’ Seri Abdullah Hj Ahmad Badawi, who has rendered tirelessly a remarkble services and sacrifices to this country and UMNO.
UMNO should heed to the suggestions and proposal put forward by Pak Lah , particularly the suggestion on managing the cooperation among the races and acknowledge the role and importance of other races in this country in order to regain its popularity and acceptance among the non-Malay citizens.
I am confident that UMNO, under the sterwardship of Najib Tun Razak, will take this country to a greater heights.May God bless Najib Tun Razak and his team achieve success in their efforts to restore confidence and trust on UMNO which will enhance the efforts of bringinging glory to Malaysia, a country of abundant opportunities and prosperity.