The year 2017 has seen the country’s political landscape go into election mode with the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) showing a strong determination and desire to retain power in the country.
Despite the emergence of new parties challenging Umno and BN’s ability to stay ahead of the 14th general election (GE14) which is expected to be held next year, the strong solidarity among the members revealed that the ruling coalition was more confident to face the election war.
Being the BN’s backbone party, Umno, which just held its general assembly earlier this month, the last before GE14, is now highly charged and all geared up after the election siren and war drums were sounded by the party leadership.
During the five-day general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre, Umno president and Prime Minister Najib Razak succeeded in instilling confidence in the minds of the delegates that Umno would face the election as a strong, credible party.
At present, BN holds 132 parliamentary seats with Umno representing 86 of them, while the opposition holds 88 parliamentary seats with two represented by Independent elected representatives.
The message given by Najib in his keynote address and his winding up speech at the Umno general assembly was also very clear when he wanted all members of Umno to close ranks and realise that the GE14 was not an ordinary election, but a “war” that would determine the country’s survival and destiny.
“The war this time is the ‘Father Of All General Elections’, we will fight, fight… fight till the end.
“Clearly, this is not a game, the risks are very serious and there will be no more bargaining,” he said.
Meanwhile, MCA and Gerakan, which held their respective annual assemblies in November, were also in a state of full preparedness to face the GE14.
Their dismal performances in the GE12 and GE13 has not discouraged them from bouncing back and trying to regain confidence and support of Chinese voters.
In fact, MCA president Liow Tiong Lai, when speaking at the party’s annual general assembly, said the party’s transformation efforts since 2014 had been fruitful.
He said more and more Chinese support had returned to BN after they realised that they had been taken for a ride by the opposition.
Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong, on the other hand, also expressed his confidence at the party’s general assembly, that Gerakan would give a better account of itself in GE14, including recapturing several state seats in Penang.
In a bid to ensure the Indian community in the country continued to participate in the mainstream development, Najib, who is also the BN chairman, launched the Indian Community Action Plan in April this year.
It is an official document which outlined the development agenda to improve the Indian community’s standard of living for the next 10 years.
The document, the first of its kind since independence, proved Najib’s special concern to ensure the wellbeing of the Indian community in the country would be well taken care of in line with his inclusive policy.
According to MIC president S Subramaniam, the action plan was well accepted by the Indian community as they were confident with Najib’s leadership to bring about transformation to them.
Meanwhile, Najib remained firm and focused on his mission to create a more prosperous nation for the people and refused to allow manipulative elements, fraud and intense attacks of the opposition to shake him.
He said that Umno and BN had become victims of political perceptions led by the opposition and it was high time for the ruling party to take full advantage of all platforms, especially social media to launch counter-attacks against the opposition while at the same time reaching out to the voters to correct their negative perception on BN.
In terms of government administration and national economic management, BN had also recorded a remarkable performance throughout 2017.
Najib’s success in implementing various development initiatives that put the people first while strengthening the country’s economic position clearly proved that BN is the best option to continue to steer Malaysia towards excellence.
Among the people-infra projects that brought about major impact were the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), the Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) and the 1Malaysia Clinic.
Despite the uncertain global economic situation, Malaysia was still able to record a strong gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.2% in the third quarter of this year.
In fact, according to Najib, 97.6% of BN’s promises made to the people in GE13 in 2013 had been fulfilled through 17 initiatives and 156 strategic initiatives, as of last month.
From the 2018 Budget, dubbed the “Mother of All Budgets”, to the commitment to ensure success of the National Transformation 2050 agenda that would place Malaysia as one of the 20 largest economies in the world, it all demonstrates the government’s seriousness to build a better and more successful future for all Malaysians by 2050 and beyond.-BERNAMA