COMMENTARY, Jan 13 — The Umno general assembly kicked off this morning in a rather sober manner as party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi outlined the party’s future plans and explained the rationale behind the party’s teaming up with Pakatan Harapan (PH) to form the unity government.
Minus the dramatics and pointing fingers of accusation, Zahid also side-stepped the question of whether the top positions will be contested in the upcoming party polls scheduled to take place four months from now.
Instead, he has left it to the delegates to decide at the end of the assembly tomorrow.
He was also silent on those “treacherous members” who signed statutory declarations supporting Perikatan Nasional (PN) before the party decided to support PH in the formation of the unity government.
Zahid’s focus in his policy speech was a call to members to back him in repositioning Umno in a changed political landscape.
He asked members to accept the reality of the current situation where Umno is no longer the only dominant Malay party in the country and that the party needs to change to stay relevant.
He seemed to suggest the party could return to its former position if members accepted the new reality where the old and near obsolete methods of wooing voters no longer work.
In a new digital era, attention must be paid to the analysing of voters’ characteristics.
The focus now is on resetting the party as it is now part of the government together with its old political enemy DAP.
In fact the party which had its worst outing ever in the general elections has been given a lifeline by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to stay afloat and to revive itself in the new political era.
In the present situation, Zahid seems to have left it to fate or whatever the delegates decide tomorrow.
With four months more till party polls, anything can happen and no one can read the minds of the 176,000 party members.