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Najib to galvanise Umno as GE14 looms

December 3, 2017 6:54 AM
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Najib to galvanise Umno as GE14 looms

PETALING JAYA: A huge task faces Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and his other Umno top leadership as they host the party's annual general assembly, in what will be the "mother of all assemblies".

The Umno president not only needs to gear the mindset of party leaders and grassroots members to face the impending 14th General Election (GE14) - which is set to be the highlight of this year's assembly - but he needs to do it just 12 months after speaking of the same issue on the same platform.

Najib had just last year during the party's assembly rallied members to double their efforts in winning the hearts of the rakyat, claiming that the GE14 was just around the corner.

The GE14, set to take place in the first half of next year, will also possibly be the stiffest Umno ever faced, especially with the rise of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad-led Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) and PAS being "neither here nor there" in their political stand.

The bigger question now is, how does Najib and his comrade in arms lift the spirit of grassroots members to face "the mother of all elections" just 12 months after doing just about the same thing?

The answer could lie on the policy and winding up speeches of two individuals - Najib himself, and his not-so-secret weapon Umno youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

As political analyst Assoc Prof Dr Jeniri Amir put it, Najib and co "have no choice but repeat what they said last year in their speeches this year", and more.

"The only difference is, expect Najib to attack the opposition all out. If he was a bit reserved before, expect an 'open war' this time, especially with what has been going on surrounding Mahathir," he told theSun.

It would not be too far-fetched to also think that Najib would play up the emotional card to lift the party's spirit, by asking that Umno do its best to win the election as a parting gift for him, with GE14 most likely his last elections before he calls it a day.

And then we have Khairy, possibly Umno's only chance of securing youth votes. So popular he is among the youths that he even calls himself "abah" (daddy) on Twitter, a popular slang for attractive older men, used by millennials today.

And with him, expect another fiery speech this year, just as he did admirably last year.

Especially as he looks to build his repo among Umno members, with one eye on the party's vice-presidency post, which is set to be on offer next year.


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