LUMUT: The strength of Umno through the continuous support of its members is the reason why Umno has remained a dominant party in Malaysia compared to older dominant parties that were a force to be reckoned with in their respective countries in the past.
Umno President Najib Razak used Partai Golkar of Indonesia as an example, saying it was once regarded as a dominant party just like Umno but currently had only one elected representative in the country’s cabinet.
“Imagine, in the past, Golkar and Umno were in the same league (strength). Today Golkar does not have the same status as Umno. Currently the Congress Party in India is the opposition but BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) is more popular.
“The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan had lost before but the party has returned to power. Only Umno has remained in power,” said Najib when opening the Lumut Umno Division delegates’ meeting in Seri Manjung, here today.
Umno which was formed in 1946 will be celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.
During the opening speech, Najib who is also the Prime Minister, reminded Umno members to remain loyal to the party despite facing various challenges as any weakness could undermine its existence.
“As a party that is in power, we need to be loyal to Umno and its struggles all the time. Do not be loyal just because of a position in the party. There are millions of members who do not gain positions but remain loyal to the party. There are some who ‘run away’ when they don’t get something,” he said.
Najib said Umno was an inclusive party and not racist.
“In 2013 former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said I was only looking after the Chinese and not the Malays. But now who is sitting beside Lim Kit Siang and lifting his hand?” asked Najib.
The Prime Minister said the position of Umno President has not been decided by any individual all these years, including Dr Mahathir, but rather by the more than three million members of the party.
Najib said although Umno was facing various challenges currently, the by-elections in Kuala Kangsar, Perak and Sungai Besar, Selangor on June 18, proved that the people were strongly behind the party and Barisan Nasional.
“The opposition had wanted to use the by-elections as a referendum but instead it resulted in stronger support for Umno and BN. We are not celebrating our victory but the target is to win big in the coming general election,” he said.
Najib who is also the Finance Minister later announced that a request from Perak Menteri Besar Dr Zambry Abd Kadir for a multi-purpose hall in Manjung had been approved.