KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has advised UMNO members to take heed of the difficult times the party has had to endure, at least over the past three years or so, as it prepares for the general assembly next week.
The UMNO vice-president said the party had come under tremendous pressure following the unrelenting attacks against it from within the country and abroad.
Saying that the destiny of the country and people greatly depended on the integrity and strength of the party, he said delegates to the general assembly scheduled for Dec 5 to 9 at the Putra World Trade Centre should focus on the next general election instead of harping on personal matters and party elections.
"It is important for the delegates to concentrate on the 14th General Election - that is most important. Put aside the personal agenda. I hope they will not raise matters regarding party elections," he said at his office at the Ministry of Defence.
Hishammuddin is the Defence Minister and Minister with Special Functions in the Prime Minister's Department.
He said it would be futile for the delegates to discuss party elections because positions in UMNO would be meaningless if the party and Barisan Nasional failed to secure a huge mandate in the general election.
Elaborating on the party struggle, Hishammuddin said it was important for the party to undergo an aggressive political transformation and adapt its struggle to the current situation as it was vastly different from the time of its establishment in 1946.
He said UMNO, as a party which championed the cause of not just the Malays but all communities, should continue to position itself as a relevant party capable of raising the country to the next level.
In a world full of uncertainties such as the unstable global economic situation and the threat of militancy and extremism, party members and Malaysians should evaluate the capability and record of the UMNO struggle in addressing these issues, he said.
"Today, we see the growing threat of terrorist organisations such as Daesh which demand a high level of integration on our part to address. The uncertainty of the world economy, with unpredictable oil prices, can take a toll if we are not focused.
"These can jeopardise our struggle to champion the cause of not only the Malays but also the other communities in the country, in terms of cost of living, welfare and education.
"All these must be understood. I am relieved that at least those out there still consider the leadership helmed by UMNO and Barisan Nasional as capable of facing the current challenges," said the MP for Sembrong.
Hishammuddin said that as UMNO prepared itself for the next general election, it had been able to get past the challenges posed by some senior leaders who had left the party and set up new parties to attack UMNO.
He said UMNO members had accepted the fact that these leaders were only concerned with their own agenda and were prepared to see the country fall in the pursuit of their own personal interests.
"I see that the situation today is much better than what we went through over the past two or three years because there were times then when things emerged that confused our members. However, the party is stronger now," he said.
Hishammuddin said the coming general assembly would see 'UMNO people' as delegates, people who were loyal to the party rather than individuals because they were aware that the struggle for the country and people went beyond personal interests.
He appealed to the delegates to use the platform of the general assembly to address the subject of the preparedness of the party to face the next general election.
He said that as the chairman of the 2017 UMNO Supreme Council Resolutions Committee, he hoped that the delegates would not express opinions that would threaten the image of UMNO and cause misunderstanding between UMNO and the other BN component parties.
The delegates should not raise controversial issues merely to gain popularity, elicit applause or show their prowess at speaking well because these could be exploited by some irresponsible people outside the party, he said.
A total of 826 resolutions have been received for the general assembly from the 191 UMNO divisions, and 635 of these have been received for reference, 191 have been accepted without debate and none have been rejected.