TOPPING the agenda at next week’s Umno general assembly are the party’s direction and consolidating members’ support for the alliance with former nemesis PAS.

The gathering from December 4 to 7 comes against a backdrop of revived Malay support as seen in three by-elections this year.

Barisan Nasional’s spectacular win in Tanjung Piai two weekends ago rekindled belief among both the Umno grassroots and leadership that the party is on the march on Malay ground after its dismal showing in the general election last year.

Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa told The Malaysian Insight that apart from building on members’ morale, the assembly will explain further its alliance, or “muafakat nasional”, with PAS and what this means for the BN lynchpin in the long term.

Its revival in fortunes has also emboldened the party to organise the gathering on a larger scale, with some 12,000 members expected to throng the Umno headquarters at Putra World Trade Centre during the four-day event – a far cry from last year’s single-day assembly, which took place as rumours were swirling of the party’s elected representatives planning to jump ship.

Soon after that gathering, six MPs and 13 assemblymen walked out of Sabah Umno, and later joined Bersatu.

There was also controversy when 22 parliamentarians from the party met Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali at his home in Putrajaya last month.

However, the matter died down after some of them said the meeting was to discuss projects in their constituencies.

Amending party charter

Housekeeping matters will also feature prominently at the general assembly.

After years of complaints on the difficulty in securing membership, Umno is simplifying the process.

Deputy president Mohamad Hasan said amendments to the party’s constitution are needed as Umno is no longer part of the government.

The changes will also see the party granting its Sabah chapter autonomy to decide on its future.

Umno’s “Skuad Sayang”, established 10 years ago, will be rebranded as “Skuad Sayang 3K”, emphasising security and health issues on top of welfare matters.

In August, the party formed the Sabil Squad, which does volunteer work like providing assistance to victims of natural disasters.

In addition, the unit provides security at Umno events and programmes. – -the malaysian insight

Life is unpredictable, says MCA no 2 on query if party will join Muafakat Nasional

MCA deputy president Dr Mah Hang Soon gave a philosophical answer when asked if MCA will join Muafakat National following BN’s overwhelming victory in the Tanjung Piai by-election.

“Politics is like life. It is unpredictable, you cannot say for sure what will happen tomorrow,” Mah told a press conference after officiating the 55th MCA Youth annual general assembly in Kuala Lumpur today.

“It is very difficult for us to say for sure in absolutely certain terms what is going to happen,” he said.

He, however, acknowledged that the opposition parties should work together in solidarity.

“I think as a political party, we can work with anybody and we should (do so),” he said, adding this happened everywhere around the world where opposition parties are concerned.

Acknowledging that MCA grassroots have different views on Muafakat National, Mah hopes that the party can move as one team when a decision has arrived following discussions and meetings.

“It is important that we make the right decision,” he said without elaborating further.

PAS, which signed the Muafakat National with Umno, campaigned for MCA candidate Wee Jeck Seng in the poll.

Mah said Muafakat National was not the sole factor in the victory of MCA candidates.

He said the weaknesses of the Pakatan Harapan administration and the weak candidate were among the reason led to the victory of MCA.-mkini