KUALA LUMPUR, 16 Oct 2009: An Umno Foundation should be established to provide financial aid to needy members, especially to help them pay their medical bills and children’s education, the Umno general assembly heard today.
A delegate from Penang, Shabudin Yahaya, said although many foundations had already been formed, they did not operate in the name of Umno.
“We want a foundation with Umno’s brand so that the party remains relevant. Only then [will] Umno’s presence reach the grassroots and be accepted by the people,” he said when debating the presidential address in conjunction with the Umno general assembly here today.
He said Umno had helped many people in need, but had forgotten its own members. “That is why we need a foundation to help the Umno members,” he said.
Shabudin also suggested that Umno set up its own Dewan Ulamak to tackle issues on Islam.
“Today (Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk) Nik (Abdul) Aziz (Nik Mat) only rambles, while official religious agencies play safe when there are issues [on Islam],” he said.
Perlis delegate Ahmad Bakri Ali hoped Umno would continue to make poverty eradication its main agenda to win the people’s hearts.
“Poverty is not a new problem. The poor and the backward are not only in the rural areas, but also in town. Poverty is not only measured in terms of income alone, but also lack of basic facilities.
“Health and education aid for the poor should be given priority. The poor should be given fish first, only then the fishing rods,” he said.
Another delegate, Datuk Idderis Kassim from Malacca, suggested the federal government increase the salary of religious teachers, given that it had the resources.
“In Malacca previously, religious teachers were paid a salary of between RM150 and RM250. Now religious teachers who teach from 2pm to 6pm earn an income of RM1,500,” he said. — Bernama
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