....and incoming Umno president Najib Abdul Razak SURELY cannot walk alone to bring about that urgently-needed change in Umno.
In his winding-up speech and in response to outgoing president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, he outlined what needs to be done by Umno to survive, be strong and return to glory in order to serve the people. To be the people's choice once again.
One of the most drastic changes, he forwarded, was to effect an amendment to the party's constitution to make the election of top posts more open , thus more democratic. And to review the quota system for nominations of top party posts.
The time has come for this, Najib said and a special conference will be held to deliberate on this.
At the moment, Najib said the top Umno leadership is determined by 2,600 umno members.
He acknowledged the widespread view that their choice cannot possibly mirror the aspirations and wishes of Umno's morethan 3 million members.
"They feel that this number (of delegates/members) is too small....we know their names by heart, we remember their faces, we remember even their phone numbers.. In our salam, we have salam SK or salam SI..."
Najib said that members must realise that only with a clean image, and through a more open election process can Umno win the confidence of the people.
For as long as the process is smeared, Umno cannot hope to regain that confidence.
He said members MUST WANT TO CHANGE, They must want to have a clean election process.
So, he declared, let the leaders be chosen in the name of the rakyat.
Najib reminded delegates about the BN's defeat in 5 states in the last general election.
"We have regained one of them but that is being disputed", he said in reference to Perak,
Najib said surely Umno members must realise that Umno must be reformed.
He forwarded the need to include the people in the business of government under the long-practiced "party dominating government" concept.
"The party must know the aspiration and feel the pulse of the rakyat in order to translate all that into government policies and action. When a government that is dominated by the party realises the aspirations of the people, then it will be a party that is supremely strong and powerful."
Indeed, it will not be an easy ride for Najib. He has these few years before the next general election to clean up and overhaul the party.
He did say that it is not that the Malays have rejected Umno but that they want Umno to change.
I believe that generally many Malays have rejected Umno and yes, they want Umno to change.
If we were to make an assessment based on the new line-up, then we can conclude that, no...Umno is not quite ready to take that bold step.
(Umno delegates voted some people whose reputation or contribution is rather, er.. questionable.) Read HERE.
Nevertheless, the whole nation is waiting for Umno to surprise us all.
It really depends on how Umno will turn out to be.
Will it be a party that can feel the pulse of the rakyat? Will its leaders be who the rakyat want?
It remains to be seen whether a new, reformed (and dare I say) clean Umno can regain the confidence of the Malays -- young and old. Whether it can appeal to Malaysians, at large.
Can it be a party that is no longer held in contempt and ridicule?
As I have said, Najib and Muhyiddin have a herculean task ahead of reforming and transforming the party.