Party vice-presidents call for loyalty, honesty and sacrifice to ensure success
UMNO'S three vice-presidents -- Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal -- were upbeat about the party's chances in the coming 13th general election yesterday, saying, however, that members must give their undivided loyalty and stay united.
They noted that loyalty, honesty and sacrifice, the traits that had been articulated by party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak in his speech at the opening of the Umno general assembly on Thursday, had helped the party to overcome challenges in the past.
In his winding-up speech at the Umno general assembly yesterday, Zahid said the backing of members and grassroots leaders was crucial to ensure victory.
While empirical studies indicated the support of the people had returned to Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN), he said Umno members must strive to ensure BN obtained a bigger victory at the general election.
He said studies carried out by academicians and thinkers proved that the support of the people for the government had strengthened after the political tsunami at the 2008 general election.
Quoting a study by a panel of thinkers directed by the Pas headquarters, Zahid said: "A total of 56.1 per cent agree DAP tries to erode Malay dominance and that it (DAP) is a chauvinistic party.
"From the study, too, it was found that 54.2 per cent agree Umno looks after the rights and dominance of Islam, while 54.1 per cent say the prime minister has succeeded in reviving the support of the people."
Hishammuddin, meanwhile, said Umno was facing its toughest challenge yet in the coming general election.
"This calls for all of us to be united and rally our strengths behind the party president," he said in his winding-up speech at the Umno general assembly yesterday. "We must face the election as a team."
Hishammuddin said over the past 65 years, Umno, as the backbone of BN, had pulled through tough times with wise yet firm decisions made by its leaders.
He stressed that Najib had laid out the main task for members to perform to their best.
"The essence of his speech, and of those who spoke their hearts out at the assembly, reminds us that each and every one of us holds the responsibility to ensure we win comfortably in the next general election.
"The heavier burden, however, lies on the shoulders of our president and this is the time, more than ever, for us to close ranks, unite and reach out to the grassroots with the transformation plans he has introduced to strengthen the support from the people.
"We inherit the party struggles from past leaders and it is up to us to keep the spirit burning."
Shafie said the transformation plans and programmes introduced by the BN government would ensure that the coalition's credibility remained intact.
He said it was important for Umno and BN to win comfortably in the next general election to ensure continuity of government programmes.
"We need to form a strong government after the next general election, and this assembly is the arena for us to fire up our spirits and to lay out our strategies to form a strong team.
"This burning desire that is felt in this hall needs to be transferred right down to the grassroots. Each of us has a task to do."