KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 (Bernama) — Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has called on Umno leaderships at all levels to put in place the necessary preparations for the 13th general election.
The prime minister said it was important for Umno members to work as a team and cast aside any bickering or competition among them.
“We should also be able to see that our threats, our competitors are the opposition parties, not among ourselves,” he told Umno-Online in an exclusive interview.
Najib, who is also Umno president, said Umno members should focus their attention fully on efforts to ensure that the party’s machinery would be strong and deployable, smooth and in full spirit for Umno and the BN.
Calling on Umno members to cast their votes come polling day, he said efforts should be garnered to encourage Umno members to focus on efforts which they could do individually, not necessarily as top leaders or leaders at the divisional level.
“We should value our votes because there had been times when Umno members had not voted in elections. So we must ensure that each of the 3.3 million members has a role to play,” he added.
Being a realist, Najib said changing human nature and the value system in the party would take time.
“But I feel that the achievement or the journey has begun and that we are now seeing some changes, but we should push ahead with it because transforming Umno is a challenge which will definitely take time.
“We have begun to internalise the 1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now concept, and a lot of programmes have been implemented by Umno based on this philosophy and vision,” he added.
On the need for Umno to be transformed as it celebrates its 66th anniversary this month, he said looking back, Umno was already successful in thwarting the Malayan Union and fighting for the independence.
Najib said, however, that over the years the value system had become mixed up with the aspirations to go after party posts, and that to a certain extent, money politics had also affected Umno.
“As the tussle for positions became more intense, our objectives had somewhat been muddled up by self interest.
“This is what we should avoid. As a party which has been in existence for so long, indeed our value and deeds are invaluable. But the voters of today will not look into our glorious past, in terms of history. They want to know what are our struggles for today and in the future.
“This is what I want to stress so that each Umno leader internalises and projects the kind of leadership admired by the people, who will then give their full support to Umno and the BN,” he said.
Najib said changes in cultural values in Umno should not deviate from the original course, but should emphasise on the necessary aspects in the current context as well as in the future.
“For instance, the value system which places the party’s interest above all, the value of loyalty to the party, discipline, teamwork and so on. These are the values which we have built all this while and should be preserved and defended,” he said.
In today’s context, he said Umno should retain old values and adopt new ones, for example the readiness to master new skills and knowledge which were so important today, such as being skilled in ICT.
He said Umno had been effective in pre-independence and post-independence eras as it changed the nation from an agricultural country to become an industrialised one.
“So in this era of the 21st century, in the context of a world without borders, in the context of information explosion, we should also demonstrate the effectiveness of Umno’s leadership,” he added.
To a question whether Umno’s fighting spirit had waned, he said, there might be some who did not see the huge significance in the party’s struggle.
“So if we have the attitude that says ‘I want to give priority to my own aspirations as an individual more than that of the party’, then this will create problems for our party.
“I didn’t say that we cannot have personal aspirations, that we cannot have self interests, but these must not take precedence over what is important, and what is more important is our party, the future of the party.”
Najib said it was not easy to translate his new and creative ideas to the grassroots, but as a leader he would have to be patient as the process would take time.
“But I’m excited due to the support given to what we have been doing, such as the 1Malaysia and the People First vision, and we have the GTP, ETP, PTP, which are all supported by Umno.
“Umno fully supports these policies but we need to have them translated and we need also to articulate how we can best implement the new agenda for the country, so that the people in general who are outside the party, will be able to accept that Umno is the pillar of our country and Umno is a party which truly able to take our country towards achieving Vision 2020,” he added.
Source : Bernama