By Fadzli Ramli
MELAKA, Nov 23 (Bernama) – The fight to improve the socio-economy of the rakyat, especially the Malays, will take centre stage of the UMNO General Assembly (UGA) 2016.
Political analyst Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) said issues such as the cost of living, urban poverty, and the urban-rural economic gap are items that should be on the minds of delegates.
“There is a need for rational discussion and debate on socio-economic issues of the rakyat to find effective mechanisms to address them,” he told Bernama when contacted today.
Some 5,732 delegates and 681 motions have been received from 191 UMNO divisions nationwide.
Of the number, 510 motions were accepted and categorised under political, social, religious, educational and economic.
The UGA 2016 will be held from Nov 29-Dec 3 at Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur.
Sivamurugan said on top of improving the economy of households with 40 per cent lowest income (B40), the other challenge is to improve the economy of middle income households (M40).
“The M40 group is the most difficult to approach. I believe the M40 group will be drawn to UMNO if the party can address their grievances. If this can be done, then UMNO can win them over in the 14th general election (GE14).
Finding an effective mechanism to solve the socio-economic issues during the UGA 2016 is just one of the ways to draw the people’s support for UMNO and Barisan Nasional (BN).
“Difficult to say (whether UMNO and BN can win by finding the mechanism to solve the socio-economic problems) but UMNO has done its responsibility and it is up to the voters to judge them.
“It will also depend on the practicality of how UMNO and BN can implement (the mechanism) more effectively at government level” he added.
Gagasan Badan Ekonomi Melayu (Gabem) chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik said the body fully supports the move to make socio-economic issues the main focus of UGA 2016.
He said the UGA has become a platform for the Malays to find commonality via cooperation to resolve the socio-economic problems plaguing the people.
“UMNO delegates should not waste time on politics but must find ways to raise the income of the rakyat by increasing job opportunities. The struggle to improve the socio-economy must be continued.
The former Melaka chief minister said making politics the main focus of UGA 2016 would result in infighting which can lead to disunity among members.
“This is not sweeping problems under the carpet. We must bear in mind that party unity and to serve the rakyat are most important,” he added.