Rise to occasion (President’s speech in full)

TAN SRI Permanent Chairman,

UMNO Deputy President, Vice Presidents, Women, Youth and Puteri movements chiefs, Secretary General, Honorary Treasurer, Information Chief and Supreme Council members,

Presidents of Barisan Nasional components from MCA, MIC and PBRS,  Overseas UMNO Club representatives, and Friends of BN,

Distinguished delegates here at the World Trade Center, and those following the General Assembly virtually nationwide.

I would also like to welcome distinguished guests, Excellencies the High Commissioners, Ambassadors and foreign diplomats who are here with us today. We are honored. Thank you.

Dear brothers and sisters,

Allow me to begin by congratulating each and everyone of you for the victory in the Melaka and Johor PRN (state election). Our gratitude to the people and voters in both states for giving a mandate to Barisan Nasional, especially UMNO. This reflects the people’s confidence and aspiration after being deceived in the last general election.

  1. This success is a result of your perseverance and commitment. On behalf of the party and Barisan Nasional, we sincerely thank you.
  2. Do not forget the tactical onslaught led by our Deputy President as the Director of Elections, Johor UMNO Liaison Chairman, Bossku, State Liaison Chairman and machinery from all over the country.
  1. The trust given by the people must be further translated into a bigger mandate in the next general election. The people really need us.

Dear comrades,

  1. We will not forget the bad episode after the GE-14 defeat. Three months later we lost again in two by-elections. It was even more heartbreaking when we were betrayed by our friends in the party when they left us for their own personal interest.
  2. It was more tormeting when 22 out of 25 Division Heads in Sabah also left us. Fortunately, there are local heroes who remain steadfast with the party until today. They symbolise the loyalty of more than 3 million grassroots members nationwide. From that very moment, we emerged victor in 7 by-elections.
  3. The Federal Government then changed, with UMNO becoming part of it. It continued in Perak, Melaka and Johor.
  4. I once said that UMNO will lead the Government again before the 15th general election, and thanks The Almighty the party at presence has a representative as the Prime Minister after two earlier premiers resigned.

Ladies and gentlemen

  1. UMNO has gone through various obstacles and challenges. We were bullied and demonised from all corners. Our leaders were threatened. Some were selectively charged and produced in courts. Members were enticed and duped into joining the enemies. They even tried to de-register us. Am I glad to note that, however, members remain loyal to the party.
  2. Political chaos and the government’s impotence had adversely impacted the nation and its people. Tell me, what were the kind of predicaments they didn’t go through? It left them to no choice but venting their frustration on various mediums, including the ballot papers.
  3. As the Opposition for 22 months, UMNO tried to carry across their plight to the government but the response was very disappointing. Similarly, the 17-month old Government also failed to address their problems.
  4. Surprisingly, they found a lame excuse by putting the blame on Covid-19 pandemic. Other Asean countries were also facing it but the situation was not as bad as ours. Instead, they became new hosts to several multinational companies leaving Malaysia.
  5. We wonder why the country is witnessing a large outflow of foreign capital, or ‘capital flight ‘. The country saw a net capital outflow or ‘net outflow’ of RM166.1 billion within four years after GE14.
  6. I repeat, never blame the pandemic. Don’t garner sympathy for the failure to govern the country, ostensibly, just because of the pandemic. Back when BN was in power, they said the country’s debt had exceeded RM1 trillion, and the country was almost bankrupt.
  7. However, when they ruled, billions of ringgit of state money was spent, and not in the least did the country appear to be nearly bankrupt. Where did that much money come from?
  8. During the 17-month regime, government policies did not take into account the spirit of togetherness in political ties. Although we sincerely gave them the support, UMNO was treated like a stranger. There were even attempts to ‘divide and rule’ us by their ‘scheme of things ‘. UMNO is also called by various names and clusters.
  9. For the sake of power, the people were further oppressed with the declaration of emergency. For the sake of power, the people were locked up to the extend that forced them to hoist white flags as signs of grief. Suicide incidents used to record four cases a day. Merely 17 months under the failed government, UMNO also had to bear the brunt.
  10. Today, although main leaders of the government are from UMNO, we are not dominance. Any policy proposed by UMNO in the interest of the people was ignored. We were sidelined.
  11. UMNO must not be associated with a parachute or ‘back door government’. We had nothing to do with it. It’s rubbish! We have principles. We have dignity. We have the strength. We should not be intimidated by ‘press the button’ threat. We are not a small party. So, dont equate us to ‘a duck with a broken leg’.
  12. UMNO and BN are not crazy for power as they claimed. We did not resort to using money to maintain control on the government. Not like how they had made empty promises, spewing lies and slander. The people are not that stupid to be easily sucked into their trap. That’s a sign of those who are actually crazy for power.
  13. Yes, it was really hurt to see some MPs left us. And for that, we urge the government to hasten the Anti-Hopping Bill at the Parliament. This is to ensure no people’s representative is free to join other party at his whim and fancy. Such actions are tantamount to cheating their constituents.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. The Bumiputera economic and socio-economic empowerment agenda had never stopped in UMNO’s vocabulary. The first Bumiputera Economic Congress in 1965 with the aim of reducing poverty and economic imbalances, had led to introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP).
  2. However, the fact is that the objectives of the NEP and equivalent policies were not attained. Their economic equity which stood at 17.2 per cent last year, is still small and far reaching. In fact, the income gap between the races is widening.
  3. The 30 per cent target, projected decades ago, seems to be getting impossible to achieve. The encouragement, support and government assistance thus far did not produce good results. UMNO hsa a responsibility to address this.
  4. I am confident that if BN returns to power, the government will review all economic development policies and implementation mechanisms. We have to learn from our mistakes and come up with a better formula. The 63 years experience of ruling the nation must be able to come up with ideas more beneficial to the people.
  5. It has to be more efficient and effective. This is the new economic reform we must implement.
  1. About 330,000 people lost their jobs and sources of income in 2020. The unemployment rate reached 5.3 per cent after May 9, 2018, compared with 3 per cent under BN, although the unemployment rate improved to 4.2 per cent under the 9th Prime Minister. But in reality, our economy is still not encouraging.
  1. There are still 180,000 who have yet to find jobs, in addition to 500,000 who were unemployed before the world was hit by Covid-19. Our economic sector can only create 70,000 jobs a year. This is not enough to accommodate the additional 300,000 fresh graduates and school leavers each year.
  1. We need to take into account that there are 1.9 million under-employed, mainly those of architecture, engineering and science discipline who have to work in the gigs economic sector such as e-hailing drivers.
  1. UMNO should also be vigilant and consistent in championing youth-related issues such as those in e-hailing, which was considered a savior to them during the pandemic, especially young people who lost their jobs or were unemployed. Their contracts and remunerations, minimum wages and SOCSO protections need to be looked into.
  1. We should pay more attention to the household income which decreased from RM2,442 to RM2,062 per month. In fact, there are 600,000 household in the M40s income bracket have fallen into B40.
  1. Just take a look at our stock market. Once crowned as the world’s longest bull run market has now become the sole loser in Asia, as reported by Bloomberg. This is a great blow to the dignity of our country.

Dear brothers and sisters,

  1. There is no point in handing out food baskets such as rice, sugar, flour and other basic ingredients if the people do not have a one-stove kitchen to cook, a refrigerator to store food and at least a mat where they can eat. This does not include those who suffered large losses as a result of floods, cars and motorcycles destroyed or badly damaged, which required substantial costs to repair.
  2. And for that, we are thankful to the government for allowing a one-off withdrawal amounting to RM10,000 from the EPF. We are indeed grateful to the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and those who constantly have fought for that right.

Dear comrades,

  1. In his speech at the General Assembly on 7 December 2017, the then party president Datuk Seri Najib emphasized that it was not UMNO’s culture to demean others. He said: “UMNO at the age of more than 7 decades is more mature and practices healthy politics, and works towards the politics of association, which is not confrontational or has a ‘quarrelsome’ character, let alone to embarrass, to the point of being willing to kill the character of the opponent.”
  2. With reference to the Prophet: When a friend asked him to condemn and curse the polytheists who insulted the Muslims, he answered: “Surely I was not sent to be a curse, but I was sent to be a mercy.” (Hadith Narrated by Muslim)
  3. UMNO today must be moved forward. Maximise the use of technology. We can utilise this technology to bend down all bad propaganda on us. Social media is not new anymore. The young ones are more skillful at it.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. UMNO enters a dynamic political landscape. Keep abreast with the evolution or we will be left behind, becoming less powerful and weakened in every aspect.
  1. We have tested more than 72 per cent new candidates from the Women, Youth and Puteri wings in the election, notably in Sabah, Melaka and Johor. The results are quite gratifying. We have high hopes for the successors.
  1. Wanita (Women) loyalty to the party’s cannot be disputed. They are the pillar of the party. They had done a tremendous job in three PRNs, including in Johor recently.
  1. Their Women’s Cyber Rangers or CReW proves that Women are aware of and respond to the challenges of technological developments in addressing current politics. CReW is an important platform for Wanita in getting valid information of certain issue affecting the voters.

41. Wanita and the Jalinan Rakyat (JR) are well established. This is the strength of UMNO that other parties do not have. However, the process of urbanisation makes this task need to be modified with new substance. Women certainly have a solid solution to ensure that JR’s role remains relevant and up to date. Kudos!

Dear Delegates,

  1. The beating of war drums for GE15 gets louder. The Sabah, Melaka and Johor state elections have witnessed the transition of the PACABA machinery. The integration of PACABA among generations has been proven with almost 60 per cent of young people involved in Johor. This scenario has a positive effect on the party and can even boost the involvement of young people in our struggle.
  1. I also need to acknowledge the great role of Puteri UMNO. Their Risk Unit (URP) and Puteri IT play an effective role. It also goes with their Mantap IT programs.
  1. However, one of the new tools in political communication is ‘social media influencers’. I believe that Youth and Puteri have high potential to play this role to woo young people to support the party. Make social media a platform to reach out to young people. Produce as much TikTok, Youtube and Instagram, viral them nicely, especially related to the 18 votes and current issues that can influence their mindset. Be an excellent content provider . Virtual campaigning has become the most important field of communication.
  1. I am also proud of the Youth achievement in recruiting a total of 36,755 Sabil members at 6,861 PDMs nationwide. Looks like they are becoming our big political asset.
  1. Although UMNO is often seen as not attractive to the young, we have proven that in Melaka and Johor.
  1. Inevitably, if it wants to remain relevant, UMNO needs to follow the mind evolution of these young people. The implementation of the 18 vote is a major manifestation of changes to the country’s political landscape. UMNO must hard work to win them.
  1. A study shows that 64.5 per cent of young people are less interested in politics, and tend to be non-partisan voters. They are of the perception that the country’s politics is now full of ‘drama’ and power tussle but they still follow the development on social media sites.
  1. Their mindset is influenced by what they see and read on the social media. Wanita, Pemuda and Puteri should step up effort to address it. Create a culture of political concern among them.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. It is an essence for members to respect any party decision. A total of 186 out of 191 divisions have agreed that party elections should be held after the general election. This is not my decision. This is the decision of the Divisional meetings nationwide. It has been a practice for years that party elections were held after the GE. Should we change this tradition? Are we suppose to wear the shoes first before putting on the socks?
  2. Of course, we respect the suggestions of those who want the election to be held before the GE. This is also a good proposal, symbolizing democracy in the party. We believe they have no motive. If a meeting is all made up of ‘ yes man ‘, there is no need to call for a meeting.
  3. We abide by the Registrar of Societies decision that party elections be held at the end of this year. Anyone can contest any position, including the president, deputy president, vice president, vice president and so on.
  4. I am grateful to Allah for giving me the opportunity to lead this party and defend it from various attacks, including attempts to cripple it. We identify them but the spirit of and camaraderie overides everything. Even though I need to have ‘some benefits of the doubt’, my top priority is the sustainability of the party.
  5. I may be seen as being too tolerant but that doesn’t mean I can hold my horses all the time. Don’t test me too much. Don’t push me against the wall. I am not infallible. The skies the limit! I don’t care about outsiders’ attacks, it’s just normal. But I am always disappointed with those who tries to wreck the party from within.
  6. Be aware! It is not our culture to insult and demonise friends although knives are sharpened at us from all directions. We need to be constantly vigilant. We have to draw the line in friendship. There are friends who are with us until the end of life. There are friends who leave us in trouble, and there are those who befriend us conditionally. So, choose a friend who is truly sincere and honest. Choose a friend of the hereafter. Choose friends who are loyal to the party.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  • The big idea of establishing Barisan Nasional is to keep our country stable. This is our goal. Of course, the founder of BN Tun Razak Hussein, was far-sighted, so he worked on the formula of stability, prosperity and peace that bring Malaysians together.
  • This formula for universal prosperity is contained in the struggle of BN which is now coveted by the people. Unfortunately in May 2018, the people were deceived because they wanted to try things that were uncertain, as a result they fell into life difficulties. Curiosity kills the cat.
  1. For that, continuous efforts and strong commitment are needed for UMNO to return to power. We long for a New Mandate for Stability, Prosperity and Peace.
  1. Employment opportunities must continue to be created. Listen to the young voice. The fate of multiracial traders and entrepreneurs must be defended. The rural and urban divide is bridged. The development of Sabah and Sarawak is a priority. Poor schools upgraded. Grieving teachers should also be helped to be with their families, as well as other sectors.
  1. How can this all be addressed if UMNO is not in power again. BN needs to be dominant. That is why we should install an absolute, legitimate government in Putrajaya. Only a legitimate government chosen by the people can restore political, economic stability, national integration and convince the world.
  1. This General Assembly must listen to the grassroots. Let’s return to the people. Give it back to them. Give a new mandate to UMNO/BN. The longer we prolong it, more damages can befall the people and the country.
  1. Thank you to all of you for attending.





On that note, I officially declare the 2021 General Assembly open.