Najib pledges to reform party election process

By Adib Zalkapli
KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — The Umno General Assembly ended today with newly-elected party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak telling delegates he will amend the party constitution in order to reform the election process.

Winding up the three-day meeting, Najib reiterated his stand that the election process which involves only 2,600 delegates does not reflect the sentiment on the ground, and encourages vote buying.

"Let us be the real representatives of the grassroots and leaders who understand the aspiration of the people," said Najib.

He also promised to amend the quota system which has made it impossible for anyone to contest the presidency.

"I do not want to hide behind the quota system. It is impossible for anyone to get 58 nominations," he said, referring to the minimum number of nominations required to contest the presidency.

He added that the special assembly to amend the constitution would be convened by the end of the year.

Najib, who is scheduled to replace Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi as the Prime Minister next week, also thanked Abdullah for a smooth transition.

"Umno's tradition has returned, the tradition that has been practised since the era of Tunku Abdul Rahman," he added, referring to the practice of the party's No. 2 taking over the Umno presidency.

He also commented on the calls made by the delegates for the party to ensure tighter control of the government to which he said the party must first understand the people's wishes.

"The idea of the party controlling the government must be understood in the context of the party representing the people's wishes and it has to ensure that they are translated into government programmes," he said.

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