UMNO Remains Strong As It Always Struggles For The People - Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 (Bernama) -- UMNO remains strong until today because it always maintains the cause of the party's struggles based on Islam, the Malay race and the bumiputeras for the whole population in the country, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak.

The Prime Minister, who is also the UMNO president, pointed out that since its inception, the party which is now 71 years old was always relevant to the cause of the struggle which suited the situation besides having the vision and action to bring progress to the race and country.

"We struggle not for UMNO members only, but for the whole population regardless of race, religion and their background.

"We struggled for development for whom? for the people of Malaysia, we look after security for whom? for the people of Malaysia, we upheld solidarity for whom? for the people of Malaysia," he said in his speech before approximately 150,000 UMNO members at the mammoth assembly in conjunction with the 71st UMNO Day celebration at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, here tonight.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that UMNO was not a racial party and not an extremist party, in fact it was willing to cooperate and share power with its partners within the Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties which represented all the people in the country.

Najib said UMNO, which gave priority to the people, continued to gain public confidence at every general election including the Sarawak State Election, the by-election for the state constituency of Sungai Besar, Kuala Kangsar Parliamentary By-Election and the by-election for the State Constituency of Tanjung Datu recently.

He was confident that the party, together with its coalition partners in the BN would again be given the mandate to administer the country in the coming 14th General Election.

"We are always relevant because the policies of the struggles that we adopt and implement are appropriate to the era and period whether during the time we fought the Malayan Union or the post independence era, developing the rural areas, the era of industrialisation and for the next 30 years as we move toward the National Transformation (TN50) era," he said.

Najib said the vision and action of UMNO was also in line with those of its partners within the BN coalition unlike those in the opposition which were frequently disputing each other.

"A vision without any action will be futile, action without vision will be chaotic. We are unlike the opposition which are always disputing each other. We in the Barisan Nasional, we are one family and support a common policy," he added.

Najib, who was excited at the presence of thousands of party members from throughout the country dressed in red who filled up the national stadium, said the mammoth assembly was a symbol of UMNO's strength.

With the presence of party members and the leaders of UMNO and BN, he said, the party was not afraid even when facing the various challenges from the opposition, in fact the party would face all challenges with all its strength.

"This is our spirit, the extraordinary spirit of UMNO. Who said UMNO is not strong, just look at this gathering. This is only a portion, there are still more (members) in the villages, on the outskirt of the city...there are more than three million others," he said,

Concluding his speech which lasted almost 40 minutes, Najib prayed for prosperity for the country and the Malay race besides seeking for protection for the UMNO struggles.

The cheers of 'No retreat. No surrender and 'Hidup UMNO, Hidup Barisan and Hidup Rakyat' by Najib at the conclusion of his speech was also greeted with loud cheers from party members who filled the national stadium.

The celebration tonight was described as a mammoth assembly by the party and the last before the coming general election.

Party members who had come with the party flags, various posters and placards gathered together with the top party leadership to commemorate the establishment of UMNO which defended and developed the race for more than seven decades.

UMNO vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who now assumes the duties of UMNO deputy president, also led the congregation of leaders for the Maghrib prayers at a special surau at the stadium grounds.

The event tonight also accorded appreciation to three icons with the Outstanding Malay Award (Anugerah Melayu Terbilang) namely Tan Sri Hanafiah Hussain, Tan Sri Napsiah Omar and Tan Sri Mohd Yussof Abdul Latiff.

UMNO Youth head Khairy Jamaluddin led a group of 2,000 party members and national athletes in performing the run carrying the flag 'Sang Saka Bangsa' into the stadium and thus ending the UMNO Flag Run which began on May 1 simultaneously in Perlis, Kelantan, Johor and Sabah.

Tonight also witnessed the launching of the development of the 70-storey KL PWTC .