Ahad, 8 Disember 2013

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Ex-NST boss to PM: Why not make Rosmah minister?

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 09:33 PM PST

(MM) - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should seriously consider making his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, a full minister in recognition of her "contributions to the country", former NST editor-in-chief Datuk A. Kadir Jasin wrote today.

In an acerbic entry on his blog The Scribe, the senior newsman poked fun at Najib's speech at the close of Umno's general assembly yesterday, in which the prime minister heaped praise on his wife for helping to settle international crises involving Malaysians.

"Based on Mohd Najib's information, it would be good for him to re-evaluate the position of Foreign Minister (Datuk Seri) Anifah Aman, because clearly he is not as effective as Rosmah in settling international crises," Kadir wrote.

"The same goes for International Trade and Industry Minister, (Datuk Seri) Mustapa Mohamed, Women, Family and Community Development (Minister Datuk) Rohani Abdul Karim and Education Minister (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin, because Rosmah is also involved here and there in work that should be done by these ministers.

"This way we can drop ministers who do not perform and at the same time save on the country's expenses by reducing the number of ministries," he said.

Yesterday, in his closing speech for Umno's 64th General Assembly, Najib said his wife had quietly played an important role in helping Malaysians who were in a pinch during the 2011 civil unrest in Egypt that deposed President Hosni Mobarak.

He told the over 2,000 delegates that Rosmah had been instrumental in helping free a Malaysian student detained by Egyptian authorities on suspicion of being a spy, and also helped secure safe passage for Malaysian students out of Egypt without visas during the revolution.

Kadir today said all Najib's and his wife's supporters need to do is get her appointed as a Senator and create a new portfolio for her called "Menteri Tugas-Tugas Khas", or Special Functions Minister.

"When this is done, nobody can protest over her meddling or accuse her husband or the Cabinet of abusing their powers by allowing her to use government facilities," he said.


Mat Sabu denies he is a Syiah follower, threatens legal action against Zahid Hamidi

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 08:59 PM PST


(The Star) - Mohamad Sabu and fellow PAS leaders have criticised Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi for alleging that the former is a deviant Syiah follower.

Denying the allegation, the PAS deputy president, commonly known as Mat Sabu, threatened to take legal action against Zahid.

"I am not a Syiah follower," said Mohamad before boarding a flight.

Kubang Rotan assemblyman Mohd Nasir Mustafa alleged Zahid was trying to show off his power in front of Umno delegates.

"I have known Bang Mat (Mohamed) for many years. I have not seen him practising deviant teachings," said Mohd Nasir.

He said Zahid should focus on Ops Cantas and clamp down on real threats to the society instead of wasting time hunting harmless politicians.

Mohd Nasir said this in response to Zahid's green light to the Malaysia Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) during his winding-up speech at the Umno General Assembly 2013 to take action against Mohamed, allegedly for being a Syiah follower.

Short of naming Mohamed, Zahid had called on Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom to take immediate action against the "No 2 PAS leader".

PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali described Zahid's action as "extreme personal attack".

Supporting Mohamed's plan to take legal action against Zahid, Mustafa said the party had never received any reports implicating the former in any deviant teachings.

PAS information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar accused Zahid of trying to pit Muslims against each other.

Mat Sabu denies Syiah links

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 03:45 PM PST

(MM) - PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu has denied Putrajaya's accusation that he has links to the banned Syiah movement, insisting instead that he follows the accepted Sunni school of jurisprudence.

The PAS leader reportedly confirmed this to Astro Awani when contacted yesterday.

"I am a member of the Sunnah Wal Jamaah, a Muslim that follows the teachings of Sunnah Wal Jamaah members," he briefly told Astro Awani in his journey to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

The PAS leader was responding to the accusation by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who had yesterday issued an order on local religious authorities to take action against the former for his alleged links to the Shiites.

Addressing a packed auditorium on the last day of Umno's 67th General Assembly, Ahmad Zahid ― who is also an Umno vice-president ― said his ministry will no longer tolerate any elements that are seen as a threat to national security.

"PAS, set aside political interest. This is about akidah (faith) and national security... I am surprised how their party elections installed a Syiah as the number two leader in PAS," he said in his winding up speech, in a clear reference to Mohamad Sabu.

"We are done lying low. Jamil Khir, KDN gives you the power to take action against (that) PAS leader," he said to thunderous applause from the over 2,000 delegates.

Ahmad Zahid was referring to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, who is in charge of Islamic affairs.

On Twitter, PKR Senator Syed Husin Ali acknowledged Zahid Hamidi's accusation and advised his PAS comrade to sue the minister for making such a claim without any solid proof.

"Minister Zahid Hamidi accused Mat Sabu and wants the Religious Minister to take action. Does Zahid have solid proof. If not, Mat should sue," he wrote.

On Friday, Ahmad Zahid had a proposal to redefine Islam as "Sunni" in the Federal Constitution would be brought before the government for discussion in a bid to prevent the spread of other Islamic ideologies, including the Syiah sect, in Malaysia.

National newswire Bernama quoted the minister as saying that by inserting the words "Sunnah wal Jamaah" in the definition of Islam in the Federal Constitution, it would ensure that Muslims who follow other ideologies are prohibited from spreading their teachings.

It is widely accepted that "Sunnah wal Jamaah" is the de-facto ideology adopted by the majority of Muslims in Malaysia, though religious authorities have long grappled with pockets of different sects that have taken root across the country.

The Home Minister said the spread of the Syiah ideology is an "issue of faith and national security", and has been determined by the National Fatwa Council in 1996 that it is a deviant movement that goes against the tenets of Sunnah wal Jamaah, the dominant Islamic ideology in Malaysia.

Yesterday, Umno president and prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said his party will redefine Islam as "Sunni" in its party constitution.

Ahmad Zahid said Umno's proposal to add the words "Sunnah wal Jamaah" to define Islam under the Federal Constitution was a right step in making it clear what brand of Islam is practiced in the country.

He claimed that the plan even received the endorsement of a cleric from the holy city of Mecca, and that Malaysia is arguably the first Muslim country to push for a clear stance on its religious ideology. 


Post-Umno assembly, PKR predicts doomed Malay race

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 03:42 PM PST

(MM) - The Malays are heading towards a future that is rapidly growing dimmer under Umno's continued rule, PKR said today, citing the ruling party's alleged failure to address key national issues during its just-concluded annual assembly.

PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar said the week-long assembly had only seen more chest-thumping from the ruling party's bellicose leaders to the tune of their new "1Melayu" refrain, instead of debates on the nation's dip in education standards and how to better address issues like corruption and the rise in living costs.

"The spike in living costs, an issue that has grown more burdensome on the public, appeared to be mostly ignored.

"In fact, Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razah still held on to his old rhetorical approach, saying — the people should be patient and sacrifice for the sake of the country's finances," she pointed out in a statement here.

The Lembah Pantai MP noted that international ratings agency Moody had recently upgraded its credit outlook on Malaysia to A3, on the back of improved prospects for fiscal consolidation and reforms in government spending, including measures taken to cut back on public subsidies.

"But the question the Umno assembly failed to address is this — how did Moody's downgrade Malaysia's outlook in the first place? Why didn't a single leader or delegate speak on the effect of leakages, corruption and mismanagement of the economy?" Nurul Izzah asked.

"It was because of government extravagance and leakages that the public now has to face taxes like the GST, price hikes in petrol, sugar and electricity tariffs and even assessment rates by City Hall — all to boost the country's credit ratings and raise the national debt at the hands of the select few identified for the Malay Economic Empowerment Agenda (Umno elites)," she added.

At his closing speech yesterday, Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak had told Malaysians that painful temporary subsidy cuts were necessary to boost the economy and to help Malaysia eventually achieve developed status by 2020.

The prime minister reasoned that the recent increases in fuel and sugar prices, as well as the electricity tariff hike next month, had improved Malaysia's outlook by ratings agency Moody's from stable to positive.

"We have to take some short-term pains for long-term gains," Najib said as he closed Umno's 67th general assembly here.

"It is only a little. Not very painful. By 2020, we'll be a developed nation," he added.

The electricity tariff in the peninsula will increase by 14.9 per cent, or 4.99 sen, to 38.53 sen for every kilowatt per hour (kWh), and 16.9 per cent, or 5 sen per kWh, to 34.52 sen per kWh for Sabah and Labuan, effective January 1 next year.

In April 2015, the controversial Goods and Services Tax (GST), a broad-based consumption tax, will also be implemented to help reduce the country's fiscal deficit.

"We must strengthen our economy, then we can give more assistance to the people," said Najib.

The party president, now in his second term, had led the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) pact to a bittersweet victory during the 13th general elections that was expected to spur Umno towards introspection and reform.

But observations throughout debates during the ruling party's annual meet over the week appeared to show otherwise as delegates chose instead to focus on more of the same rhetoric that is believed to have caused BN to bleed votes during the polls.

Earlier in the week, Pandan Umno delegate Datuk Mohd Haniff Koslan said government-linked companies (GLCs) should each produce one Malay millionaire every two to three years, ostensibly to prop up the position of Islam in the country.

Malacca delegate Datuk Akhbar Ali urged for the 30 per cent quota for Bumiputera equity in business to be more than doubled, since the Bumiputera community account for 67.9 per cent of the country's population of 28 million.

In proposing the economy motion on Thursday, Bachok Umno chief Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin sought for GLCs to award public contracts and procurement to more Bumiputera firms.

The former deputy finance minister also wanted state-owned firms to prefer hiring Bumiputera graduates, while demanding a public key performance index (KPI) to monitor the extent to which GLCs are supporting the Bumiputera agenda.

Daily, the unifying theme was overwhelmingly "more".

Umno is comfortable with living in its cocoon or its shell and does not want to think of further ways to promote the country as a whole... but just how to further concentrate power and wealth through a range of motions and rebranding policies tailored specifically for select party members. — Nurul Izzah Anwar

Peppered among the calls for more of the carrot were also some demanding the stick for those who did not throw their support behind Umno and BN in Election 2013.

Telling Putrajaya to only "bet on sure things", Federal Territories delegate Datuk Mohd Shafei Abdullah on Thursday asked the federal government to re-examine the 1 Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) cash handouts with the view of excluding PR supporters.

Pandan Umno delegate Datuk Mohd Haniff Koslan suggested that the BN government play hard ball in federal to state dealings with the PR Selangor government, claiming the state made it harder for Malays to conduct business there.

Most controversial was Penang delegate Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir, who said Putrajaya should consider adopting "1 Melayu" in place of its all-inclusive "1 Malaysia" slogan after efforts to reach out to Chinese voters were snubbed in Election 2013.

Amid the pomp and pageantry, there was scant evidence that this was the assembly of a party whose coalition has just come off the poorest electoral result since that of the Alliance Party, which it replaced, in Election 1969.

"In conclusion, Umno is comfortable with living in its cocoon or its shell and does not want to think of further ways to promote the country as a whole... but just how to further concentrate power and wealth through a range of motions and rebranding policies tailored specifically for select party members," Nurul Izzah said.

"Clearly, the future of the Malays and Malaysia will continue to darken under Umno if it still fails to implement national reconciliation efforts that are inclusive, to create a brighter future for all," she added. 


Ku Nan: Anti-BN Malay tsunami ‘impossible’

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 03:38 PM PST

(MM) - Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor dismissed today an editorial by Utusan Malaysia warning of a "Malay tsunami" if Umno does not continue to be a party loved by Malays.

In its "Awang Selamat" column, the Umno-owned daily said PAS and PKR will try to create a "Malay tsunami" in the next general election.

"After the shocking Chinese tsunami in GE-13 failed to overthrow the government, the strategy is now to focus on creating a Malay tsunami in GE-14.

"Beware, although Umno is strong it is not invincible.

"Strive to be the party that is loved especially by the Muslims, Malays and Bumiputera. There is no other option," it said.

Tengku Adnan, however, dismissed it as only the views of the editors at Utusan Malaysia, and not Malaysians.

"Look at what happened to Umno, we increased from 79 seats to 88 seats and after this there will be increase of more seats, believe me.

"And I believe once MIC is sorted out, after 21st MCA will be sorted out, then they will know what will happen to them," he said, referring to Barisan Nasional component parties' respective elections.

"We will gain more seats from the rakyat because they will realise that this is the party they can rely on," he said, referring to the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional (BN).

When asked if a Malay tsunami might happen in the future, Tengku Adnan said, "impossible".

BN won 133 federal seats in the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat against the 89 bagged by Pakatan Rakyat, despite the opposition winning 53 per cent of the popular vote against just 47 per cent going the way of BN.

The results also drove a wedge in racial relations, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is also the Umno president, blaming a "Chinese tsunami" for BN's poor performance.

MCA performed poorly in the last two elections, securing only 15 seats in 2008 and decreasing its share to only seven seats in the 13th general election this year. 


It will be Malay tsunami next, Utusan warns Umno

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 11:38 AM PST

Lee Shi-Ian, TMI

PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat will change their strategies to garner more support from Malays and Bumiputeras to create a "Malay tsunami" in the next general election, columnist Awang Selamat said today.

After the "Chinese tsunami" in the 13th General Election, as described by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Awang predicted the outcome of the 14th polls would revolve around the Malay votes.

"Umno will have a fierce fight on their hands from PAS and PKR in order to win support from the Malay majority. PAS and PKR are set to change their game plan," Awang said in his Sunday column in "Utusan Malaysia".

"The Umno supreme council needs to be humble as they will have nobody to blame but themselves if the party fails to retain Putrajaya in the next polls."

The party's mouthpiece, "Utusan Malaysia", reminded the supreme council members not to focus on their personal ambitions to the extent of forgetting Umno's fundamental principles.

Awang, the pseudonym for the newspaper's collective editorial team, said the supreme council members would be held responsible if Umno failed to defend its political position in the next general election.

"Be wary, while Umno is strong, it is not invincible. Everyone must take up the struggle and fight for Umno to be supported, especially by Malays and Bumiputeras," Awang said.



Where’s Pakatan’s national development plan?

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 11:21 AM PST

Since its 2008 historical sweep into the political forefront and its retention of two key states – Penang and Selangor - in GE13, the Pakatan Rakyat coalition has done doing but gripe, claims a NGO. 

Athi Shankar, FMT

An NGO here wants answers and a national development floor-plan from Pakatan Rakyat, which it claims has done "nothing"  todate except criticize the Barisan Nasional government and tarnish the country's reputation abroad.

Sensible & Ethical Malaysian United Team (Semut) president Huan Cheng Guan said that for every criticism hurled against the federal government, Pakatan was neither innocent nor blameless in not committing the same actions its leaders condemned.

"For all their criticisms at the federal government, has Pakatan proposed any concrete ways to overcome problems highlighted?

"Pakatan does not have a good record securing foreign investments on their own without riding on BN efforts.

" Have any of their leaders ever praised or promoted the country locally or internationally in speeches or social networking platforms?

"Pakatan have never assured Malaysians or foreigners that the country is a fantastic place to live and to invest, " he said in a  statement yesterday..

Huan said that since 2008, Pakatan was yet to produce a shadow cabinet to provide the much needed check and balance and prove their leaders can be better than BN leaders.

All they seemed to be doing is  complaining, ranting and disgracing the federal government on corruption, wastage and other issues, he said.

"Malaysians are keen to know what Pakatan has done for the country as a whole.

"Picture this scenario.  Two opposing factions declare their allegiance to their country.

"One works to develop the nation positively although not perfectly, while the other consistently runs down the country locally and abroad supposedly for the rakyat's sake.

"Internationally, the nation's prestige is on the downward trend. Many conclude that things are not well on the home front.

"So whom would you trust?" asked Huan.



Najib charts Umno’s Islamic direction

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 09:54 AM PST

(Bernama) - Umno closed  it 2013 General Assembly yesterday in high spirit and with a  commitment  to formulate concrete strategies to implement affirmative action to achieve Malay and Bumiputera agenda, as well as to uphold Islam.

The assembly, which is the first after the 13th general election (GE13) and October party polls, also agreed for Umno to continue its political transformation agenda at all levels.

At the GE13, Umno managed to win 88 out of 133 parliamentary seats won by Barisan Nasional (BN), compared to only 79 in 2008, thanks to the support from the Malays and Bumiputeras, especially in rural areas.

Umno president Najib Tun Razak stressed that the causes of Islam would continue to be fought by the biggest Malay party, including through amendments of party's constitution to recognise Islam as federal religion.

To define Islam, Umno will amend the Clause 3.3 of its constitution to recognise Islam as the federal religion, while Islam constitutes Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah, he said in his adjournment speech.

A total of 2,759 Umno delegates attending the assembly also heard Najib emphasise  the Bumiputera Empowerment Agenda, which he said would be made a national agenda and implemented by government-linked companies.

"For social justice, the positions of Malays and Bumiputera must be improved. This is our rights, but we are not sidelining the rights of others," he said.

On Umno's political transformation, Najib called on members to change their strategies for success based on the five transformation strategies for Umno to emerge as the party of hope and stay relevant.

On Thursday, Najib in his policy speech, said filling the transformation included efforts in strengthening the economy of the Malays and Bumiputera; upholding the syariah objectives; strengthening the party cadre; preparing the transformative machinery; and to draw up the Umno Key Performance Indicators or KPI.

Wanita Umno the 'backbone'

During the five-day assembly, Wanita Umno was also declared as Umno's 'backbone' based on its roles, hard work and contribution in ensuring success for the party, as well as the country's development, all this years.

Established in 1949 as Kaum Ibu Umno before being renamed as Wanita Umno in 1971, the movement now has 1.3 million members from 191 divisions and 20,797 branches nationwide.

For the sake of the party's survival. Umno is committed to implementing  the party cadreship development programme, involving aspects of creativity, personal skills and mastering the new media to face the challenges of the new political landscape.

This is to facilitate the delivery of party and government policies so that they could be accepted by the people in a responsive manner to resolve the grassroot's problems.


In redefining Islam, PAS-DAP reps take divergent paths

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 09:17 AM PST


Joseph Sipalan, The Star 

A proposal by Putrajaya to specify "Sunni" as Malaysia's only legally recognised Islamic sect has drawn divergent views from two Muslim leaders in the multiracial Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact, with Islamist PAS backing the move and secular DAP labelling it "un-Islamic".

DAP assistant national publicity secretary Zairil Khir Johari said there was "no need whatsoever" to legally define the sort of Islamic ideology that is practised in Malaysia, as it would only lead to discrimination against other Islamic groups, driving a stake deeper into Muslim unity here.

But his PAS comrade Salahuddin Ayub, a vice-president in the Islamist party, tacitly agreed to the plan, saying it is important in Islam to streamline the ideology, especially since the practice of the religion has long been adopted as part and parcel of Malay culture.

"In things like this, the less state interference the better. After all, who are any of us to define religion?" Zairil said when contacted by The Malay Mail Online.

"For that matter, discriminating against other Muslim groups is in itself un-Islamic. Islam is Islam. There is no need to set it in stone. Islam is the religion of the federation, and that is good enough," the Bukit Bendera MP added.

But Salahuddin appeared to believe differently, pointing out that in Malaysia, the Sunni school of jurisprudence has long been practised and accepted as the country's brand of Islam.

"That has been the practice all the while in this country. In general, we accept that it is Sunnah wal Jamaah... but the approach must be polished," he said.

On Friday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the proposal would be brought before the government for discussion in a bid to prevent the spread of other Islamic ideologies, including the Syiah sect, in Malaysia.

National newswire Bernama quoted the minister as saying that by inserting the words "Sunnah wal Jamaah" in the definition of Islam in the Federal Constitution, it would ensure that Muslims who follow other ideologies are prohibited from spreading their teachings.

It is widely accepted that "Sunnah wal Jamaah" is the de-facto ideology adopted by the majority of Muslims in Malaysia, though religious authorities have long grappled with pockets of different sects that have taken root across the country.


But Zairil brushed aside Umno's call to specify the denomination that can be legally practised in the country as mere fear mongering so they can remain as the country's most powerful political party.

"Their standard modus operandi is to divide and rule. All these games by Umno are to keep the Malays fearful, to create the enemy... the other, so they can mobilise their people.

"The whole idea is to create a siege environment, because Umno is irrelevant the moment the Malays can see that Umno is not taking care of them.

"They are looking for ways to distract from the economic agenda," he said, citing the subsidy rationalisation, the recent hike in rates for public amenities and the 2015 implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

On his end, Salahuddin reminded that ideological differences have been a long-standing issue among Muslims in Malaysia, particularly in the case of Perlis, which he said has not adopted any particular Islamic ideology for a long time now.

"It is normal for a Muslim country to review acts or enactments related to the practice of Islam from time to time.

"But the most important thing is that religion falls under the (jurisdiction of the) state and the sultans, the Council of Rulers.

"There is a need for Ahmad Zahid to have a roundtable meeting and get input and advice from the state governments, because this does not only concern the federal government. Even in the Constitution, it says that this matter runs concurrently with the states," he said.


Prior to the creation of PR in 2008, ties between DAP and PAS were at times tenuous and even directly antagonistic as both parties disagreed on how Islam should be approached in the national context.

DAP has long maintained that Malaysia is a secular state, insisting that Islam's position as the religion of the federation does not make the country an Islamic state.

PAS, on the other hand, continues to hold on to the aim of establishing an Islamic state — as outlined in the party's constitution — despite easing up on the issue in recent years to accommodate their partners in the PR coalition.

The two parties, however, still lock horns every so often over issues related to Islam, with the latest tiff surfacing early last month when DAP chairman Karpal Singh suggested that all religious- and race-based professional or political bodies be de-registered to protect the unity and interests of Malaysia's multi-racial society.

At the close of the Umno general assembly yesterday, party president and prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that his party would be taking the lead in formalising "Sunni" as Malaysia's brand of Islam in its internal constitution.

Several Muslim lawyers, however, have voiced out that any move to gazette this in the Federal Constitution, the highest law of the country, would be "unconstitutional" as it would entirely wipe out the Malay-Muslim identities of non-Sunni Muslims in Malaysia.

Former Umno minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim recently echoed the same, arguing that hardline Islamic leaders who seek to punish Syiah Muslims here may only "destroy the country".

He likened the crackdown to the intra-faith conflict raging among Arab nations and urged Malaysians not to go down the same road as their Muslim brethren there.

"Are they Syiah Muslim? Obviously they are; otherwise Jakim would not be interested in them.

"So if you are Muslim, but not of the variety accepted by Jakim, you get punished... If this is not stupidity, what is?"

"Just because the Arabs partake in Syiah-Sunni warfare doesn't mean we have to follow. Do we want those killings in this great country?" he said in his tirade on Twitter in August.


PM wraps up 67th general assembly with declaration

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 09:11 AM PST


(The Star) - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wrapped up the Umno annual general assembly with a declaration that the party had always been fair to all.

"We want everyone to be with us, the Chinese, the Indians, the Kada­zans and the rest, moving forward.

"But Umno must be at the helm because under us others can be assured of fairness. Under others, there is no assurance that the Malays can get justice," the Umno president said in an emotionally-charged winding up speech yesterday.

Najib said that Umno had always been considerate and only implemented what it thought was best for the country's development and national unity and justice.

Even during the implementation of the New Economic Policy, Umno never denied the rights of others or did anything detrimental to the economic growth of others, he said.

"We are fair to all. Do not accuse us of being racist, of being this and that.

"We have to do this (defending the economic position of the Malays) because this is our right," Najib said at the end of the five-day assembly.

He added that he understood the message sent by the delegates that the party must do its utmost to fulfil the bumiputra economic agenda.

Strengthening the economic position of the bumiputra was necessary to ensure lasting stability in the country as they made up 67% of the population, Najib said.

"If the majority is sidelined, the situation will be grave. For the sake of social justice and long-term stability, we must ensure that the wealth of the country is shared equally," he added.

He also said that upgrading the bumiputra economy was a national agenda and part of the key performance index for chief executive officers of all Government-linked companies.

"We will see at the end of the year if their score cards are good. If they are, then they can continue," he said.

At a press conference later, the Prime Minister said the commitment of Umno and the Government to boosting the economy of bumiputras was not about rewarding Malay voters, but about doing what is right.

"We can't sideline the majority of the population," he said, adding that the implementation of the NEP had benefited other races as well.

Najib told the assembly that Umno would change its constitution to strengthen the status of Islam as the religion of the federation in line with the Federal Constitution.

In the amendment, he said Islam would also be defined as the teaching of Sunnah Waljamaah.

Asked later if the definition would be included in the Federal Constitution, Najib said this would require the consent of the Conference of Rulers and two-thirds majority support in the Dewan Rakyat.

Amid cheers to his question of "Where would the Malays be without Umno," Najib reiterated that the transformation of the party would continue for it to be relevant in the new political landscape.

"Umno must be a party for the future, not merely content to be proud of its past achievements," Najib told the delegates representing 3.4 million members.

In “Agama dan Bangsa”, Umno sees a lifeline

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 09:06 AM PST


A party insider said that the strong stance on Islam was to capitalise on PAS's internal rifts which have seen it sending mixed messages on religious issues, notably the spread of Shia Islam and the Allah issue. 

Sheridan Mahavera, TMI

The Umno president's first two messages for his party grassroots to take home represent the party's hopes to get back flagging support among urban Malay Muslims and check the influence of its main political rival, PAS.

The first was that the party was taking back the mantle of "true defender of Islam" from PAS.

The second was that the party was going full steam ahead with its Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Agenda, which seeks to serve the interests of Malay-Muslim businessmen.

The second message is easily understood. As Datuk Seri Najib Razak has declared time and again, Umno has increased its support among Malay Muslims.

The Barisan Nasional, which Umno leads, was returned to federal power by a combination of votes from Malay Muslims, Sabahan and Sarawakian Muslims and non-Muslim Bumiputera.   

And then in his speech at the start of the assembly, he said those two communities make up 67% of the population.

So by simple math, if Umno and the BN can harness the support of at least 60% of them, it can return to power in the 14th general election.  

As was repeatedly said by the party's grassroots, and reaffirmed by Najib during the assembly, these are their hardcore supporters.

To increase its support among urban Malay Muslims, Najib himself said that he will personally see to it that the CEOs of government-linked companies help Malay Muslim contractors and vendors.

"They will be getting a KPI on this and they will have to submit report cards on how they have met their targets," said Najib to rapturous applause from the audience at the assembly.

The first message, on the other hand is more subtle in its aim but has a far reaching impact.

A slew of the party's grassroots leaders took to the stage to demand that the authorities persecute Shia Muslims, homosexuals, liberals and anyone it thinks has insulted Islam.

They also wanted the government to enforce the ban on the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims.

They even wanted the Federal Constitution to be amended to declare that the official religion of the federation was the Sunni branch of Islam.

Najib did not go this far, saying only that the party's constitution would be changed to say that Umno only recognises Sunni Islam.


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