Petaling Jaya (The Star/ANN) - Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has called on the 3.3 million United Malays National Organisation (Umno) members to "focus on the work each of us can do", saying that no matter what happened, Umno had to lead Malaysia and defend its independence.
In an interview with Umno Online published on Saturday, the prime minister reminded the members of his party that all of them had value.
"Even ordinary members are valuable. There have been occasions when Umno members don't vote during elections, so we must ensure each of the 3.3 million members have a role to play ... Our competitors are the opposition party and not within our own party," said Najib, who is Umno president.
The Pekan MP said that while Umno had done well in the early stages of the country, now with more intense party competition the goal had been adulterated.
"We cannot rely just on the value of our history, but also look towards the future ... I want to emphasize that all Umno leaders must embrace and reflect the values of leadership favored by the people.
He also slammed the opposition for misleading people.
"They are trying to spin negatively and lie to rid people of their confidence in the government," he said, giving the example of the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia financial aid.
"They said, 'this money is borrowed from abroad', which is a false allegation. We implemented BR1M successfully because we managed to increase revenue by 26 billion ringgit (US$8.5 billion) in one year alone."
The prime minister said that Barisan Nasional was a coalition that focused on the realities of Malaysia, and did not carry out political sandiwara like the opposition did.
"Four years have passed and they still have not formed a shadow cabinet," he pointed out.
He also spoke on Umno's 66th anniversary, saying that it would be celebrated on a large scale but would not cause harm to others or to the country.
"We respect the laws of the country. Even though thousands of Umno members will come together ... (we) will be upholding the principles of our country's laws.