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At Umno's assembly, Nooryana Najib says forgetting her father is to forget party's struggle

Publish date: Sat, 10 Jun 2023, 06:22 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — Nooryana Najwa, the daughter of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has vowed to use Umno’s Puteri wing as a platform to bolster support and keep Umno in power, even as she suggested the party must be cautious about its new allies in the unity government.

Delivering her maiden speech as a delegate from the wing, Nooryana spent half of her time reminding delegates of her father’s contribution and sacrifice for Umno, and how he has purportedly suffered because of it.

To her, Najib’s leadership was emblematic of Umno’s struggle, adding that to forget the man is to forget what the party stood for.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we should never be complacent and careless. If we run off the course we’ll forever become a mere complimenter of any political coalition. Yes we accept [to become a part of the unity government] but only because of the changing political landscape ... but being in the unity government does not mean we abandon the principles that Umno uphold,” she said.

“We must never rely on the strategy that makes us dependent on the support of other parties. We must forever defend our own strengths,” she added.

Before her father’s incarceration, she mostly kept her distance from the political fray. Now she has become the poster girl of the party’s “Free Bossku” drive, using the Puteri wing as a platform to seek what she described as justice for an innocent man who was convicted because he did not receive a fair trial.

“Bossku” is the popular moniker Najid adopted during an offbeat nationwide campaign to court voters after Barisan Nasional was ousted.

The decision to let her speak was likely deliberate. Najib’s freedom remains a key agenda within the party nearly a year after the former Umno president was convicted and jailed for embezzling funds of a 1MDB subsidiary, SRC International.

Yesterday, thousands of members and delegates chanted “Free Bossku” when Umno chief Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi delivered his policy speech to officiate this year’s congress. Najib’s freedom was also a key issue in the speeches of many key speakers, including the newly-elected Umno Youth chief Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh who conferred the wing’s Youth Leadership award

Zahid is now one of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s two deputies. Twenty-two years after his sacking from Umno, Anwar returned to the World Trade Centre yesterday as the party’s most important guest. He was accompanied by other top leaders from Pakatan Harapan, now ruling together with Umno.

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