Speeches in Umno general assembly were centered at efforts to uplift the economic and social stature of the Malays.
"Like any other members, I love Umno. No doubt about it. Even without the exposure given since I was 5, I would opt for Umno for its mediocrity in attending to our multiracial society. Yes, there were major crisis hitting the party but it took just a while for partisans to reconcile and go back to square one.
The general assembly is when politicians become so chummy with reporters and members of the media. Umno general assembly often becomes a beano for some opportunists. Each and every Umno leader and delegate attending it will look like a grandee. Everybody wants to show off something, if not in their long and bric-a-brac' speech, at least in their attire and their cars.
When Dr Mahathir was deputy prime minister (I was already in college), I did follow my uncle to an Umno general assembly at Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP). He was not a delegate but as a member eager to watch the proceedings. Not many cars were parked in that area as most delegates took the public transport. Speeches were centered at efforts to uplift the Malays' standing, economically and socially. No rhetoric, no unduly sycophant speeches.
Compared to the present time, speeches are deemed not complete without rhetoric, bombastic words, hadith and a 5 to 10 minutes 'full of praise and support' for the party's top leadership, namely the president, deputy president and the three vice presidents. The delegates chosen to speak or enter a debate too will try to impress others, notably the leaders, with their well-colored-sweetened words.
After covering and attending dozens of Umno general assemblies, I can't recall anybody praising the grass root members for choosing and staying with Umno... or at least a simple attribution for their support all this while!
Read the second part of blogger Jailani Harun's reminiscent of Umno general assembly here.