SPEECH by Deputy President Datuk Seri Utama Mohamad Hasan when opening the Wanita, Pemuda and Puteri conferences at PAU2020 (excerpts):
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very happy to be with all Wanita, Pemuda and Puteri delegates this morning. In the midst of this pandemic, Allah SWT is making this conference possible in the name of our beloved country.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of UMNO. Nothing is sacred but rest assured that without UMNO, the Malays and Malaysia won’t survive. UMNO will continue to lead this country in the best possible way.
We gather this time in a still unpleasant situation. The political arena, economic environment and social are at a critical time, a situation that can be briefly described by the term ‘confusion’ – that is, a situation of chaos, upside down and confusion.
The Covid-19 epidemic has put the entire country in a very difficult situation. In just a second, we can lose the status quo as one of the most successful developing country. It preys on our people, this extremely adding to number of poor.
Those who lost their jobs are increasingly innumerable. Small and medium traders who are forced to close their businesses, are not sure if they will be able to operate again. The middle class is shrinking. School children are lagging behind in education thus creating a significant gap.
The universities are closed. Students lost the pleasure and opportunity to gain the life experience they deserve.
The country’s democracy is also declining. The space for freedom of speech is getting smaller. In fact, they are often restrained. Parliament as an entity that upholds the true values of democracy is crippled and the Constitution is not upheld with dignity. Members of Parliament gamble on the mandate of the people with vested interests.
Our political climate is like a ‘langkisau’, many are raging, many are raving. They jump from one pool to another, without shame and without embarrassment. It seems that our country in this period of pandemic, needs more cross-party bans, than cross-boundary bans.
We must admit, even though there are weaknesses here and there, the COVID-19 epidemic is actually still under control as compared with other countries. For a year, we have weathered it well through a variety of interventions in every space and dimension.
All members of the Ministry of Health, the Royal Malaysian Police, the Armed Forces and all staff of various agencies who are at the forefront, are very committed and professional in carrying out their responsibilities.. We are very grateful to them and let us all give a very sincere, deep and infinite appreciation to them all.
Unity of the ummah has become a very contagious and natural term in recent times. All parties talk about it. The ummah has met with animosity.
I have a different view. To me, the position of Malay unity is not too acute. Occasionally there is definitely a little bit of laughter here and there. That’s normal. Which earth is not affected by rain.
But generally, Malay unity is strong. Since UMNO and PAS explore the path of unity, the Malays in the two major parties are getting closer and closer, so that led to numerous successes in the last few election. We put the bad episode behind and united in the name of Islam and Malay.
However, of course we will see a split if the concept of Malay unity was interpreted in a purely political context. So, it is not solidarity. Such an interpretation is very superficial. This is because the number of Malays represented by the two major parties are around 4 million.
Meanwhile, few millions without parties did not join Umno and PAS, not to mention JYSEP. Yet they make up the bulk of the ummah we are talking about. So, ummah must be read in a larger context. It must really aim to unite all Malays across any political ideology, across interests of power and across social status.
It must go beyond political gain and not be merely a strategy to win elections. While the fate and future of the ummah will not necessarily be taken into account after that.
On that basis, I would like to make an important assertion. That this movement has been championing the Malays all this whiles, its commitment must not questioned. UMNO has long pioneered the agreement of the Malays against the Malayan Union.
UMNO has first been in mobilizing various fund-raising efforts, support and help the Malays, Chinese and Indians to negotiate and seek independence. It was UMNO who mapped out the path of unity after the May 13 events and restored political stability in Malaysia.
After being declared illegal in 1988, UMNO continued to unite Malaysians with the support of various component parties. When the dismissal of the deputy prime minister in 1997, many Malays took to the streets.
However, due to its hard work, UMNO won a two -thirds majority. And that is because UMNO has the support and confidence of various sections of society to continue administering Malaysia.
Let us not forget, no matter what odds, UMNO accepted Semangat 46 into its foe again. And when UMNO failed to form a government 3 years ago, it extended its hand to PAS which led to the formation of Muafakat Nasional.
At its infancy, an UMNO splinter party talks about ‘penyatuan ummah’ when you don’t really know what it is, and when your actions are more towards sabotaging it. They belittle us.
They have never fought for any unity effort. It was not until their lives were like eggs at the tip of a horn and their party survival is at stake, only then they started talking about Malay unity. More disgusting, when those who left PKR are also not ashamed to talk about the unity of the ummah.
UMNO and BN will fight for Malay and national unity without any conditions. It moves in tandem and will be mutually reinforced. The assurance for the future for Malaysia lies in the hands of all races.
In the last general assembly, I have expressed my views on ‘The Era of Disruption’ and how we will face ‘Massive and Mega Disruption’ in every aspect of economic, business, social and political life. Everything is driven by changes in attitudes, lifestyles and thoughts. Because of the incredible dumping of information the rapid deck of technological advances we enjoy today.
Malaysian politics is of no exception. What we have today is a ruptured and disrupted politics. However, Malaysia’s political turmoil did not occur due to technological and information boom but an explosion of lust as well as a craze for power and position. This is eliminating all good systems, moral compasses and pure principles that have led us in politics.
The reality is, we are going through a political crisis that we have never been through before. In fact, there is no sign that our political crisis will end soon. All this invites concern.
First, with all the madness we see today, how will it end? We can only guess. Will there be any advantages to the Malays and Malaysians? And even if there is a hint of profit, to what extent and to what extent will it last?
Second, will not the political crisis we are facing undermines the people’s trust in the political movement and the culture of democracy? Now the people are nauseous and disgusted with politicians. Don’t let Malaysians lose all faith and be fed up with all of us.
Third, what is the role of UMNO in this crisis? How must UMNO manage this confusion, thus ensuring that we return much stronger. We have felt the pain of defeat when we fell and were rejected during the last GE 2018. We don’t want to go through it again.
We must expedite the search for a solution to all these confusion, through a thorough strategy with the deep earnestness of all delegates. The solution put forward by UMNO must not only restore the country’s political stability.
More importantly, it must ensure that we are able to restore the trust of the people of various races in UMNO. To be a strong political master, Umno must be accepted and supported by all Malays and non-Malays.
If we are plagued by crisis, it will rattle the party. But in other words, the political problems that Malaysia is going through now also open up golden opportunities for UMNO. It’s just that we must be smart to take advantage of it.
We have witnessed the failure of 22 months under PH rule. Now, the people are seeing the inefficiency and slowness of the PN in managing the country. Although UMNO is part of the government, its role is very isolated and not dominant. We are more submissive.
These scenarios actually provide UMNO a unique opportunity to make BN as the right government again. BN’s performance for over 60 years has been much better and more successful. We have not seen any indication that political cooperation such as PH or PN can translate BN formula.
BN which is led by UMNO has its own advantages tried to be emulated by others, and they failed for sidelining this party. For the sake of political stability, the people must be convinced that no other government can do it, except BN.
So for the future, UMNO through BN, must explore all possibilities. Explore the opportunity.
Why do I advocate a willingness to make this political correctness or political correctness?
First, because we are in an era of ‘disruption’ and ‘survival mode’. This era demands that we step out of our comfort zone and break free from any stagnation of political approach, which has so far plagued us. It is time for UMNO to explore a progressive path by thinking of improvements.
Secondly, if other parties choose to leave UMNO and BN, it indicates that we are aging with an outdated image. So we must rejuvenate the image of UMNO by making it better.
And third, there are many better ways and means to achieve this political improvement. Not at all by sacrificing morality in politics. UMNO must choose a more mature, superior, accepted and dignified path. A path that does not let anyone feel abandoned, deceived and betrayed.
One, it must be profitable Umno, the Malays and Islam. Must! There is no compromise. The struggle and the interests of the Malays and Islam will not be abandoned and compromised by UMNO.
Two, it must propel UMNO to become the parent party in governing the country. UMNO must lead all forms of power sharing or political cooperation to manage the country. There is no government without UMNO.
Three, these political improvements must provide sustainable political stability. Not just a desperate collaboration.
Four, whatever political improvement we want to make, it must be inclusive and be a vehicle of justice and good for all. UMNO will be kind to all and seek understanding with all, political or non-political parties.
In short, any political improvement that we want to pursue, must make UMNO the core, Malaysia the foundation and political stability the goal, which is defended together, equitably.
So, how will UMNO manage this new political improvement? One thing for sure, UMNO will not be in a hurry. There is no shortcuts. If we really want to map out a political reform, it must done with caution and maturity.
Based on what I have said, it is certain that many are beginning to make estimates or predictions. Are we really going to make a new political fix? When will all this start? Who will we choose to accompany?
My honest answer, nothing yet. All remains a possibility. Everything should look at. But, it may be asserted that all decisions and actions must be done unanimously.
We are not a desperate party. We are not the ones making promises and beg for power. We will remain as we are. The movement of good, that will not stop giving benefits to the Malays and the country.
But for now, let UMNO choose. UMNO will not gamble its seat. UMNO seats are UMNO seats, then, now and forever. UMNO will not be fooled by other rhetoric.
Will this political reform be successful? We must chart it from now, no delay.
Finally, let me take this opportunity to call for unity in UMNO. UMNO cannot be divided. Stop all this very unprofitable ‘clustering’. For the future of UMNO, let us go back to where we had started.
Its future lies in our hands. They nation needs UMNO. Put the bad episodes behind. What past is past.
In God we trust.