Islam to be religion of federation, says Najib

UMNO president Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in his adjournment speech at the party's annual general assembly Saturday, highlighted several issues, including religion, the economic agenda for the Bumiputeras and the party's transformation programme. Some of the highlights were:

RELIGION

"I have discussed with the deputy president (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) and Datuk Seri Jamil Khir (Baharom), (that) we will amend Article 33 of the party's constitution.

"We will no longer state Islam as the official religion. We will say that Islam is the religion of the federation and that Islam holds the Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

"The assembly clearly supports commitment of the government to elevate Islam and its law in defending the sanctity of the religion in the country. If there are quarters who cannot accept this reality -- those who have closed their minds to the good deeds we are doing -- we will not be disheartened.

"Sheikh (Dr) Khalid Ali(-Al-Ghamdi), who was imam of Friday prayers (at the Putra World Trade Centre), was proud (of Malaysia) in defending the sanctity of Islam.

"When we decided that the definition of Islam as that following the teaching of Sunnah Wal Jamaah, he (Khalid) said Malaysia was the only country which had explicitly made the distinction about the definition of Islam."

BUMIPUTERA ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT

"Malays and Bumiputera want to see the implementation of empowering (the) Bumiputera economy agenda. I will see this through. We have met and discussed with all chief executives of GLCs (government-linked companies). (The) agenda is a national agenda."

"All chief executives and management must carry out the agenda to show their commitment (and) we will make it the KPI (key performance index) of the CEO of the GLC.

"I will be monitoring this. End of this year, I want to see the report card, scorecard.

"We do not have to be apologetic. If we consider social justice, 67 per cent are Malays and Bumiputeras.

"What happens if the majority is sidelined, it will be worse. For the sake of social justice and for the long-term, Malays and Bumiputera must elevate their status, balanced (and) wealth-sharing.

"We do not neglect the right of others. When did other commu- nities feel neglected? We are fair to all.

"Do not point to us as racist. Umno is not racist, Umno is fair to all. We want everyone to be with us. Indians, Chineses, Ibans, Kadazans must be with us, but Umno is the one that holds the power.

POLITICAL TRANSFORMATION

"We need to change the way we operate as a party. In this hall, I am encouraged to see the spirit among members strong, but once back at the division or branches, I hear different things.

"If we want to embrace changes, we cannot act this way. We have to change the political landscape of our country. If we do not understand this new political environment, we will fall because we are not invincible.

"Our key performance indicator is already in our party's constitution. I checked this and found it there.

"It says branches must meet once every two months and the same goes for divisions and state liaison committees.

"I can tell (that) we, at the headquarters, meet once every month. We have 21,000 branches, and to empower the party, we must power up the branches because that is where our foot soldiers are, where our strength lies.

"We make surau and the mosques, but they are controlled by Pas as we don't take things seriously.

"The party will issue the KPI, we will monitor, the division will monitor the branches, the state will monitor the divisions and the headquarters will monitor all.

"In the last election, many Umno members were not registered as voters. When we found ourselves in trouble, we seek Wanita Umno for help.

This is a modern party, a party of the 21st century. Umno must be seen as a party of the future and not the past because this is what the party stands for."

RELIGIOUS SCHOLARS AND YOUNG LEADERS

"At the division level, I have asked for the appointment of religious scholars or professionals into the line-up. We need to look into this because when I reviewed the lists, almost all the appointed posts were filled.

"Maybe some followed their chai (preferred list) because it is payback time. We need to appoint religious scholars or professionals to enhance our leadership at all levels.

"When I was the defence minister, my South African peer then, (Mosiuoa) Lekota, a freedom fighter who was imprisoned for 17 years, told me when they were in prison at Robben Island during winter, they made two circles (to stay warm). The young would form the inner circle while the older prisoners on the outer circle.

"He told me this was to make sure the young live on so that they can continue with the struggles of the people. When people struggle for apartheid, they don't think about positions or status. They only think about freedom and this was why the veterans were willing to sacrifice themselves.

"The message here is for the veterans to give way to the young who will be the next generation of leaders. It is our responsibility because who else do we hand over this country to?

"I hope such spirit could be instilled at all levels."