BN leaders unveil new charter to transform, take the party forward
By MAZWIN NIK ANIS, LESTER KONG, JOSHUA FOONG AND CHRISTINA TAN
KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional is the nation's success story but further improvement in meeting the people's needs and aspiration is necessary to ensure the coalition continues to be supported by the rakyat, leaders told delegates to Sunday’s Barisan Nasional Convention.
At the end of the convention, a new Barisan Nasional charter was unveiled by Prime Minister and Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak aimed at guiding the coalition forward.
Najib penned the final signature on the seven-point charter, also signed by leaders from Barisan’s 13 component parties after his winding up speech on Sunday.
The charter is based on these principles:
*To uphold the supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law
*To strengthen racial relationship and multiracialism inline with the concept of 1Malaysia
*To pursue the improvement of the nation’s economy by increasing competitiveness, and at the same time to bestow assurance towards fair economic distribution
*To assure quality education is given to all.
*To increase the quality of life and to continue giving priority to economic development and social welfare
*To strengthen the family institution
*To carry out the principle of positive management and reject corrupt practices
Delegates at the convention recited the charter, a new concept to reinvent Barisan in line with its agenda of political transformation.
Earlier, Barisan Nasional secretary Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said the coalition could not be copied or destroyed by outside elements because of the strong bond and sincerity that had been established which reflected the closeness of the party to the people.
“The Barisan is also not one or two years old but has matured and endured numerous problems and crises in the country. It has never surrendered or given in to the challenges faced,” he said in his welcoming speech at the third Barisan Nasional Convention at the Wisma MCA here on Sunday.
He said Barisan must also focus on strengthening its position as “pillar of the country”.
He said Barisan must continue to pursue its objective to build a Bangsa Malaysia in a united and harmonious spirit.
“My hope is at the end of this convention, we will continue to strengthen Barisan’s position without any presumptions, fix our weaknesses, and get rid of all negativitiy in the name of our shared goals,” said Tengku Adnan who is also Umno secretary-general.
The convention, which was held for the first time in Wisma MCA’s Dewan San Choon, was attended by 2,340 delegates including Barisan component party members, “Friends of Barisan”, NGO members and individuals.
He noted that the selection of the venue for Barisan’s third convention since the first in 1995 was itself part of the “transformation within Barisan”.
“It’s a transformation within Barisan Nasional to ensure that each component party has a role,” he said. Tengku Adnan added all Barisan conventions would involve all component parties from now on.
The convention also observed a minute’s silence for former Penang Chief Minister Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu who died last month.
Throughout the Barisan convention Sunday, the coalition leadership heard from 13 component parties and its women and youth movement on the need to reinvent and improve performance for Barisan to remain relevant.
Barisan deputy chairman Tan sri Muhyiddin Yassin said political understanding among races had enabled the coalition to manage differences well, adding Barisan was not just about power sharing but also a platform that allowed the people irrespective race and religion to be fairly represented.
"Our priority is to ensure that each citizen is able to advance himself and enjoy prosperity without sidelining other races. As a result, we have successfully maintained racial harmony, political stability and push the economy forward," he said when addressing the convention.
Muhyiddin, who spoke on behalf of Umno said the party fight for Malay and Bumiputra causes based on Barisan's principle which had been agreed upon by all.
Barisan wanita chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil called on component party presidents to "look out for the womenfolk" whose role in bringing the support and votes for the coalition was crucial.
"Please remember that women makes 50.3% of the voters. Please give them due recognition and give room to women in the political arena. If Barisan wants to win, the formula is to take care of women," she said.
MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said it was important for Barisan to change if it want to "remain in the hearts and mind of the people", adding it must ensure that people be given the same opportunity in development so no one would beleft behind.
"Barisan must lead the way in efforts to strengthen unity and to realise the 1Malaysia concept.
"At the same time, economic disparity need to be addressed and there must be an increased efforts to help improve the quality of life, particularly in rural areas," he said, adding the concept of putting the people first must be practiced.
Coalition youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said Barisan need to potray itself as a party that was "young people-friendly", adding the group would be a crucial element in the next general election.
"In previous by-elections such as in Bagan Pinang, Manik Urai, Galas, Hulu Selangor and Batu Sapi, records showed that support from youths has returned to Barisan," he said.
Khairy said the movement proposed promoting the Barisan brandname, such as the establishment of 1Malaysia BN scholarship to that the coalition would enjoy "dividens" from such branding efforts.
Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said that Barisan should remember "who is the boss", adding it was important that rakyat be served efficiently at all times.
"Politicians must serve the people and not the other way around.The rakyat also demands that government service is efficient, be served with respect and their want be given attention," he said.
Dr Koh added Barisan need to be a "truly 1Malaysia" coalition that was fully committed in promoting unity in diversity, guided by the spirit and principle of the Constitution and Rukun Negara.
PPP president Datuk M. Kayveas said the Barisan government was responsible for ensuring that public safety not only meet but surpass all standards.
"No efforts should be spared in maintaining peace and security.
Increase in the type and nature of threats has created a greater awareness on the need to boost public safety,' he said, adding the government should build more police stations and beat base to enable police to respond effectively and fast.