Umno concluded its annual general assembly on Saturday on a high note to transform itself into a poilitical party that is fair to all Malaysians where priority will be to empower the economy of the Malays and bumiputras who form slightly more than 67 per cent of the population.

The emphasis will be to ensure that the majority population will be on par with the economy of others so that there will not be any single race that would feel left out in the fast growing economic development of the country.

In doing, the party pledges that other races would not be sidelined and that the party would continue its fair and just policies for all Malaysians.

Umno also concluded that the party would protect the sanctity of Islam by defining clearly in the Federal Constitution that Malaysia follows the teaching of Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

In facing the next general election, the party’s political transformation will begin at the party’s branch level where with immediate effect the branch level will have to follow the party constitution strictly to strengthen itself.

Party president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had outlined the transformation programs in the wake of challenges that ‘may not be good for Umno’ if the party continues to stay as it is.

The political reality now is Umno is the only flag-bearer of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) besides Parti Pesaka Bersatu Sarawak (PBB) in Sarawak while the component parties in Peninsular are still ‘searching for their souls’ after being ‘slaughtered’ in the May 5 general election.

Called it the Chinese tsunami or whatever terms, the fact remains that rural Malays are still with Umno while the urban Malays have swung to the oppositions – PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

With Umno the only party that is still strong and ‘standing upright’ amidst the strong winds of change in the May 5 general election, the responsibility is now on its shoulders to rally Malaysians, not just Malays, behind the BN.

And the recently concluded general assembly, Najib, who is also the Prime Minister, spoke on the need for Umno to transform into an inclusive party, struggling for the Malays and bumputras while same time ensure other races are not sidelined and feel ‘alien’.

Transformation begins with change in minds and attitudes of party members and Najib stressed the need for the party to be strong from its roots – the grassroots – where the some 21,000 branches lie.

Transformation to strengthen the party as the pillar and backbone of BN where component parties, currently undergoing healing and rehabilitation, can heal themselves in time to face the next general election.

In strengthening the party, efforts to ward off elements that would weaken the party and its followers will have to be addressed and here is where the sanctity of Islam and the economic aspect needed push and protection.

The threat of Syiah is real and the ‘heads of Government Link Companies (GLCs) not helping out Malay and bumiputra enterpreneurs is real.

With Najib’s commitment to see the two subjects taken care, Umno is off to a brand new start in transforming itself into a political party where the Malays and bumiputras can rest assure their support for the party all this while did not go to waste.

And Malaysians on the whole, can rest easy that Umno is not only a party for the Malays but for all Malaysians.