I attended the opening ceremony of the UMNO AGM. This will be the last AGM by Pak Lah as the President of UMNO and PM of Malaysia.
As the outgoing PM, the speech was short, which is about 45 minutes (his perennial cough was a distraction). It was a dignified farewell address with a lot of advises to UMNO members. UMNO as rightly said faces a life and death situation. It has to change or else it would be changed from the ruling party to the opposition. The same applied to all the Peninsular BN component parties of MCA, MIC, Gerakan, PPP.
Pak Lah rightly pointed out that UMNO must not practice discrimination to the extent than the non-Malays view it as a racist party. PAS in the name of Islam, can talk about Muslim rights and non-Muslim, without incurring such condemnnation. A lot of people seem to forget that all Malays are Muslim as stipulated in the Federal Constitution. One PR MP once said in Parliament that he is a Muslim first and a Malay second.
Pak Lah will be remembered as the PM that provided the space for open dissent. He is down to earth and it is difficult not to like his friendly disposition. As a patient man, he allows cabinet ministers the freedom to discuss and argue their papers. However, I noticed while he is firm, he is not decisive. A poor memory and bad time management does not help. Personally, I find him to be very patient and kind with a lot of fatherly advice.
When I resigned last year, I went back to see Pak Lah to request him to help me to honour all the pledges of peruntukan that I have announced as MP and Minister. I was worried then if I did not honour those allocations, then it would just became an empty promise. By then I have no allocation since I eased to be MP. Pak Lah kindly granted my requests and I am proud to note when I resigned; I have no outstanding debt to my voters in my constituency. To be frank, he was touched by my requests and sense of responsibility.
I will not be doing any posting for the next few days as I am travelling to Kedah and Perak for the by-election.