KUALA LUMPUR, 26 March 2009: Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties today agreed to strengthen relations among them and not to give the opportunity for opposition parties to exploit issues to weaken the coalition.
MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said BN must consider its every strength and weakness in transforming itself to face new challenges before it was too late.
He was responding to Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s last policy speech before stepping down, at the Umno general assembly 2008 at the Putra World Trade Centre, here, today.
“If we don’t want the opposition to exploit certain issues, then don’t give them the opportunity and space to do so. What is important is the spirit of comradeship and oneness among the BN components and we should strengthen what (relations) has already been established,” he said.
Ong, who is Transport Minister, also said that Umno should not accuse the non-Malay Malaysians of not giving enough support to BN in the last general election.
“Don’t forget that the non-Malays had repeatedly given solid support to BN, including in 1985 and l999 at the height of the “reformasi” movement and also in 2004,” he added.
Abdullah, in his speech, said BN should delve deeper into the long-used formula of power-sharing among the components in successfully running the country and which also prevented the opposition from weakening the cooperation in BN.
Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon who agreed with Abdullah’s suggestion for Umno and BN to change to ensure victory in the next general election, said the coalition should continue to work hard at winning the hearts of the people.
“I hope that after this hectic season of politics, we will focus efforts, energy and time on our agenda for change, especially in this very trying time of economic downturn,” he said.
Koh who regarded Abdullah’s message is his speech as sound, clear and firm, said the latter’s advice for party members not to squabble should also be heeded by all BN components, besides focusing on economic issues and the people’s well-being, which were more important.
MIC president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu said Abdullah’s call for attitudinal change among members was timely to regain the people’s confidence, and the MIC would undertake some of the proposals made by the prime minister.
“We must embark on a new approach and strategy if we are to remain relevant,” he said and thanked Abdullah for his service to the country and for giving “us a very capable and dynamic prime minister in Datuk Seri Najib Razak”.
“MIC will give its undivided support to Najib as prime minister and Umno president, and the party will remain a loyal partner,” he said.
Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said Abdullah’s proposals were good for bringing back glory to BN and should be applied in determining its future leaders, comprising the veterans and younger generation.
He said each leader must be able to bring about change and make service to the people a mandate.
United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said: “Abdullah’s call for us to remain loyal to the party’s struggle should not to taken lightly, but stressed upon.”
Liberal Democratic Party president Datuk Liew Vui Keong said Umno and BN should return to the original concept of leadership to win back the people’s support and trust.
“All the component party leaders must respect one another and forge closer cooperation to be a good example to the people, not to be involved in corruption and to respect the views and opinions of others,” he said.
Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) organising secretary Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui said Umno as the backbone of the BN government, must always be in a strong position to enable it to respond effectively to attacks by the opposition.
“If Umno is weak and shaky, the other BN component parties will also be the same, and this is bad for the country.
“So, if Umno is bringing about transformation and change, the other BN parties must help ensure continuity for the sake of the nation’s credibility and honour,” he said. — Bernama