KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said his desire to serve the people and Malaysia was what led him to sacrifice four decades of his life to Umno.
Reaching out to party members, the party president said despite the many accusations against his leadership, the party supreme council displayed maturity in reiterating its endorsement to him and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Speaking at Umno's 69th anniversary celebration amid criticisms of his leadership, Najib said his only ambition was to see a developed and fair Malaysia.
This, he said, would mean providing affordable homes, job opportunities, help in dealing with rising prices, narrowing the rural income gap and aiding parents struggling to provide good education for their children.
"This is what has driven me for the past 40 years to sacrifice myself to politics.
"I have served Umno from the bottom to the top only because I wish to serve the people and Malaysia," Najib told the gathering of Umno leaders and grassroots members at the Putra World Trade Centre.
He admitted that some of the decisions the Government made had not been popular, but called on Umno members to remain confident that the policies were beneficial in the long run.
Najib's off-the-cuff speech did not touch on the controversy regarding 1MDB and Tabung Haji.
Criticisms against Najib by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the 1MDB and Tabung Haji issues have led to talk that his position as Prime Minister and party president had weakened.
The day's proceedings began with a closed-door lunch with division heads which Najib hosted at Seri Perdana, Putrajaya, followed by a party supreme council meeting that endorsed Najib and his deputy.
Najib said he was constantly aware that it was the people who ultimately decided the fate of Umno and its leaders.
"I value the statements of support for me, but I realise with all humility that I need to lead a party which has strong support from the people."
He said those who had been attacking Umno from outside were not people who loved the party.