KUALA LUMPUR: The next 10 years will be critical for Umno, which will have to undergo massive rejuvenation and changes in order to regain the people’s support and confidence, says Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.
“However, the process to change the party must begin today. Umno must undergo `treatment’, must be corrected in all aspect,” he said during winding-up at the conclusion of Umno General Assembly 2018 on Sunday (Sept 30).
Mohamad said Umno should not get too excited at the prospect of being “proposed” to form an alliance to set up a new government.
“Let’s not wait for people to come and see us with tepak sireh (part of Malay cultural heritage where a tray with gifts is offered during a traditional ceremony, such as a wedding proposal).
“Even if there are those who come with a proposal, we should still look at the offer to see if it’s interesting because after all, we have governed before,” he added, referring to news of a possible unity government with another political party.
The deputy president reminded Umno members not to continue to live in denial and admit the need to reform or change.
“If this is the attitude, I fear the people who have been with us for decades will never forgive us,” he said.
Mohamad said Umno’s reform agenda must start today even in constituencies which the party had won in the last general election.
He said as the Opposition, it is Umno’s responsibility now to raise and champion national issues affecting the people, particularly the Malays.
The party must also offer solutions and alternatives – from issues involving social network, health, education to economy and international matters – so that the society can see how effective Umno is, he added.
“My last message to you at the end of this assembly is this. All this needs a lot of hard work. There is no magic formula for us to work with.
“But we need to stop dreaming and start working. We must rise with dignity. Don’t wait for challenges to disappear by themselves and that we will be courted back to power,” he said.
Meanwhile, Umno vice-presidents believe that party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had laid out a clear direction for the party when he spelt out the 21 steps that Umno needed to take to rise again from its defeat.
Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Umno was ready to be a strong Opposition in order to retake the government but the president must be given the chance to carry out his duties.
“We must give him (Zahid) space to discuss with other parties. We are open to discussion with anyone, PAS and others in the Opposition bloc,” he said.
When asked about former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin saying that Umno is still directionless after Zahid had presented the steps, Ismail said disagreements should be solved internally.
“Team spirit is when a decision is collectively made and although you personally disagree with it, you must accept it.
“If you disagree, there are other platforms within the party that can be used. There’s no need to use the media to attack our leader,” he said.
Umno vice-president Datuk Mahdzir Khalid said the course that Umno members must take has been clearly set.
“I think the direction is very clear as to what Umno should do as the Opposition and what our members should do. We must move as one party.
“We should not fight or raise problems amongst each other, there should be solidarity,” he said.