Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak (Bernama file pix)
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 (Bernama) -- The rebranding of UMNO by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has transformed the party and gained the favour of the people because of its leaders' readiness to listen to them.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said the prime minister in doing so had stripped UMNO of ultra-nationalism and communalism.
"As a brilliant political architect, Najib rebranded UMNO not only cosmetically but also in terms of values, practices, lateral thinking and culture."
"It must be realised that UMNO is liked not because of its rhetorics but because its leaders are always ready to listen to the people," he said in his blog, sskeruak.blogspot.my tonight.
He said UMNO had previously been viewed as elitist, communalist, conservative, ultra-nationalist, and autocractic, and all about factions and money politics.
Salleh noted, many political analysts predicted that UMNO and Barisan Nasional would lose its power such as what happened to the LDP in Japan, Kuomintang in Taiwan, Golkar in Indonesia and Congress in India.
"But that is the old UMNO, which was created by Tun (Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad) according to his thinking and style of leadership. Mahathir's legacy was so immense that 'Mahathirism' is remembered for its 'government knows all' which is no longer relevant to contemporary politics," he said.
He recalled that some quarters, upon Najib's appointment as prime minister, dubbed it as 'the return of Mahathirism'.
"Obviously the claim is unfounded. For Najib, 'Government knows best era is over', in fact, Najib has introduced a political transformation via abolishing the Internal Security Act (ISA) and amended the laws that restricted the rights of the people.
"He also takes care of the welfare of all the races, without being a communalist. With this transformation, there's no question that UMNO under the leadership of DS Najib is a party that truly upholds the principle of the people's sovereignty," he said.