KUALA LUMPUR, 25 March 2009: The rebranding of Umno does not involve just the changing of its label or outlook but must also be accompanied with efforts to scrutinise and improve its contents.
This would involve party members and leaders themselves, said Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.
The Wanita Umno chief said: “Actually, it’s not Umno that needs to change. There’s nothing wrong with the party that has become the umbrella for Malay [Malaysians] and championed their cause for more than 62 years.
“It is the Umno members themselves who need to change and undergo the process of transformation,” she said when delivering the policy speech at the Wanita Umno general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre today.
Rafidah said too many people were currently stressing on the need for the party to change in order to be relevant and accepted by the people, especially the younger generation.
She also reminded Umno members not to repeat the 1987 incident where intense contest for the party president’s post resulted in money politics coming into play and the party being split.
Rafidah said that as a result of the contest, Umno was banned and when it was re-registered, the party was known as “Umno Baru” before the word “Baru” was eventually dropped.
“Although the new Umno returned to its original mission and struggles and could be likened to a big house providing shelter to Malay [Malaysians], there are occupants who tarnished the party’s image.
“Their greed for position and power led to the birth of a new culture, i.e. the culture of giving a reward or inducement where support is not given to those who are capable but whoever can offer a reward,” she said.
Rafidah said positions in Umno had appeared to become a “Tender Offer” with those making the highest bid being given consideration.
“In fact, it is more accurate to say that the approach of ‘Position for Auction’ is being adopted with the possibility that those who are prepared to give more will be voted for a particular post.”
Rafidah also said the time had come for Umno members and leaders to think seriously about the party’s direction.
This was so especially in view of the current world situation such as the developments occurring in Gaza, Palestine which showed that it was important to maintain solidarity and consensus among party members.
She also said that Wanita Umno, which constituted 38.7% of the total Umno membership and formed the party’s backbone, must ensure that there was no conflict after the movement’s election today.
In fact, it should continue efforts to assist the Barisan Nasional (BN) to win in the three by-elections for the Bukit Gantang parliamentary constituency, and the Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai state constituencies which would be held simultaneously on 7 April.
“Insya-Allah (God willing), the victory will be Wanita Umno’s first gift to Datuk Seri Najib Razak who will lead the country after this,” she said.
Rafidah also suggested that the young generation be taught about the constitutional monarchy at a very young age in order to instil the spirit of patriotism and nationalism.
She also suggested that women complemented government efforts in tackling the global economic crisis by spending prudently, beginning with the family unit, to ensure financial stability within the family. — Bernama