Wanita UMNO needs to close ranks
Wanita UMNO needs to close ranks
KUALA LUMPUR June 20 - Wanita UMNO will close ranks at all levels to strengthen unity and streamline the party machinery to face future elections, its assembly here was told today.
It would also look for a suitable approach to change any negative perception of UMNO by the public so that the party would continue to enjoy their support and confidnece.
The delegate from Penang, Jahara Hamid, when tabling a motion supporting the policy speech of Wanita UMNO leader Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, said the movement resolved to raise the fighting spirit of the members so that UMNO would be stronger and more resilient in facing the challenges of the new millennium.
It would also equip its members with knowledge and religious capability through special courses at the grassroot level to counter the propaganda of the opposition which abused religion for its political ends, she said.
Jahara, who is the Tasik Gelugor UMNO division Wanita head, urged the government to increase the participation of women in the development of information communication technology (ICT) by conducting specic training programmes for women to close the digital divide.
The delegate from Terengganu, Fatimah Hamat, said UMNO must approach staff who opposed the government to include them in the parties programmes so as to change their perception of UMNO.
She suggested that UMNO look for a wise approach like holding special courses and giving accurate information on UMNO to alter their perception and get their continued support for the party.
She also supported Rafidah's call to Wanita UMNO members to unite at all levels to tackle the party's internal problems.
"Unity within UMNO has been in existence for a long time and need not be disputed because there is no split within Wanita UMNO. If at all there is any, it is just a difference in opinion but the objective is the same, namely our unity in supporting UMNO," she said.
Fatimah said that if this unity was maintained, Terengganu, which fell to PAS in 1999, would return to the Barisan Nasional in the 2004 general election.
Perak's delegate, Hafsah Idris, supported Rafidah's call to the members to focus on enhancing the economic prospects of the movement.
She also proposed that the leadership organise a World Muslim Women's Trade Expo to encourage women entreprenuers to participate in global trade.
Rabiah Ali of Melaka expressed concern that university students were being influenced by the opposition parties, which could undermine UMNO's efforts in future general elections, and called on the movement to get closer to the youth.
She blamed red tape and practices at the branch level for dampening the people's interest to join UMNO saying: "It is easier to get a credit card than an UMNO membership".
The delegate from Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory, Puan Sri Ashidah Minin, drew the delegates' attention to the importance of promoting racial unity to prevent a recurrence of incidents of racial tension like the one in Kampung Medan in March which cost six lives.
She said the setting up of rukun tetangga bases should cover squatter settlements, especially those in Kuala Lumpur which had 134,345 squatters living in 26,941 houses in certain areas.
Johor's delegate, Asiah Arif, urged the government to take women's welfare issues seriously besides emphasising the social prolems among the youth, especially in Felda schemes.
Towards this end, she said Wanita UMNO welcomed the setting up of the Women and Family Development Ministry which was timely to help development of women in the country.
To ensure a supply of leaders in future, she said, an UMNO leadership training centre should be set up to educate and train relevant and suitable leaders in future for the survival fo the party, she said.
Azizah Mohamed Dun, the delegate from Sabah, called for the setting up of a database to study the manpower use of women graduates in the country.
She also urged the movement to conduct a continuous people-friendly programme with emphasis on the rural areas and not one done on an ad hoc basis.
Kedah's delegate, Marliah Abdul Latif, said many wives and children were not getting maintenance during a marriage as well as during the divorce proceedings and suggested that stern action be taken against dead-beat husbands.
Kelantan's delegate, Zubaidah Awang Chik, proposed that the federal government draw up guidelines to channel multimillion ringgit projects to Kelantan because UMNO was not profiting from them now.
She also highlighted the social problem that is becoming increasingly rampant amomg Malay children, giving the example that more than 400,000 Malay children were now in drug rehabilitation centres in the country. She wanted all parties to be serious in tackling the problem.