That political writer was refering to me. True, I was working with Business Times, a financial daily for more than half of my working life, but during all those years, I covered politics for the newspaper.My political knowledge may not be an extensive as that of the political writer but throw me into a raging river, I can tell you that I can safely get myself across despite not knowing to swim.
I have covered the Umno general assemblies eversince I started work in 1984.
The few years that I was with a non-editorial department within the company (the transitional years between moving from Business Times to the New Straits Times), I was at Putra World Trade Centre to meet up with friends and contacts.
My most memorable general assembly would be the one in 1987 where Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah had challenged Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the party’s presidency. Dr Mahathir won the election but Tengku Razaleigh was unsatisfied with the result. Umno was then split into two separate entities and forced the court to declare Umno as illegal. Shortly after the court ruling, Dr Mahathir re-established Umno as Umno Baru while Tengku Razaleigh found a new political party called Semangat 46.
The other would be the assembly where Dr Mahathir announced stepping down from the party and resigning as Prime Minister in 2002. I didn’t cover the assembly that year. I had just returned from an overseas assignment and caught the announcement live on television instead.
Despite having being reassigned to Business Times a month ago, I have been asked to help out with the online operations during this year’s Umno General Assembly.
We covered “live” the opening ceremony, using the NSTLive platform, and Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s presidential address yesterday.
I was told earlier by a staunch party member that Najib will deliver what he (the party member) described as his (Najib’s) most powerful speech in his entire life.
I didn’t put my hopes too high on the speech. There were a few times that the party member had “oversold” the Prime Minister.
In fact, I asked myself what could beat the sumpah bai’ah led by deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin at last year’s assembly.
I was given Najib’s speech early in the morning to check against delivery.
Seriously, reading the text did nothing to me. I actually went through it twice.
However, there is a stark difference between reading the text of the speech and actually hearing it being delivered by the party president himself.
The last few paragraphs actually gave some of us goosebumps. I took my eyes off the text of the speech and watched the closed circuit television that was airing the speech at the media centre.
I swear that I had never heard Najib delivered a speech like that before.
I’m not an Umno member. Neither am I a member of any other political party. But I feel that if that speech doesn’t move Umno members to work as hard as they had never before to win the general election, I don’t know what will.But I am a registered voter. I am eligible to vote for the kind of government I want at the next 13th General Election.
I am however not like some of my friends who are willing to gamble to put in a new government.
I am not willing to put the future of the nation, my family and the future generation at risk just to give a chance to the Opposition a chance to manage the country and the people when I know they couldn’t even administer properly the states that they won at the last general election.
I agree totally with the Prime Minister that the election is not an experiment.