Umno assembly’s overriding theme is Putrajaya, and not much else

The recently concluded Umno General Assembly was a far cry from when the party led Barisan Nasional to form the government.

It had taken for granted its role as the government and had assumed that the electorate would automatically renew the coalition’s mandate every five years.

But the results of the 14th General Election in 2018 jolted them out of their complacency and comfort zone. It made them realise that they could no longer take the electorate for granted.

Umno had never been in a position where it had no power. It rendered the party helpless and put it in an awkward and precarious position. For them, this was untenable.

Together with Parti Bersatu Pribumi Malaysia president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and several other MPs, Umno caused the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government and colluded with Pas to form Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Naturally, several Umno MPs were given ministerial posts and positions in government-linked companies.

There had also been talk that top Umno leaders had engineered this with the hope of getting the PN government to drop charges against several prominent individuals.

For the record, Tan Sri Musa Aman’s 46 corruption and money laundering charges were dropped in June 2020 due to the “unavailability of documents from Hong Kong-based banks”. Also, the “unavailability of some witnesses meant that proceeding with a trial would be untenable”. Musa, an Umno man, was the former Sabah chief minister.

However, the corruption and money laundering charges against other prominent Umno personalities continued.

Another power struggle ensued, and Muhyiddin was booted from the top seat and was replaced by Umno vice-president, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Even then, Umno still doesn’t have a strong hold on Putrajaya, like it used to. The party’s top echelon has made it clear that they want to regain full control and had even called for the 15th General Election to take place.

This comes following BN’s successful outings in Melaka and Johor.

There are obviously fears of Umno returning to power.

Amazingly, the delegates who attended the recent Umno general assembly failed to notice and address the elephant in the room. Its party president, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is facing corruption charges, while its former president, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who still enjoys the limelight, has been convicted by the courts, and is now waiting for his appeal at the Federal Court.

Even Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan, during his speech, had criticised corrupt practices within the party, saying that “white envelopes” were still being passed around.

The speeches by the leaders were designed to “prime” the delegates with the notion of regaining power and redeeming their so-called self-worth.

This year’s Umno General Assembly was not only heavy on raw lust for power but spewed venom against its opponents, especially Pas for reneging on the Muafakat Nasional agreement.

And of course, no assembly would be complete without heaping scorn on DAP, blaming it for all the country’s woes, especially with regard to ethnicity and religion.

The assembly tried to project an image of solidarity amidst the underlying schisms.

None of the candidates had the gumption to take to task leaders who faced charges in court. Instead, it was safer to align themselves with the top echelon’s sentiments, in the hopes of being recognised as potential election candidates.

None of the speakers showed any intellectual acumen, only oratory histrionics that were of no real consequence.

Thus, the speeches were mediocre, bereft of critical substance, but rich in the ability to ingratiate with top management.

The previous assemblies provided a peek into the future direction of the nation’s economy, education policy, unity, and integration initiatives.

However, this year’s edition was only focused on one agenda – to take Putrajaya.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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