A visible blot appeared on his shirt but he wasn’t perturbed. He put on a smile before moving on to his next business at hand.
Pak Lah is aware there are many expectations from his listeners.
It would not just be the Umno delegates at the Putra World Trade Centre but Malaysians of all races.
After all, they see the Prime Minister as their leader, not just a Malay leader and the Umno president.
This would most likely be his final address to the delegates before the next general election is called.
The buzzword, in his speech, is likely to be the National Mission – the need for Malaysians to look ahead, to be competitive and to always improve ourselves.
It is important to note that this would be the first time Pak Lah is speaking to party members as the nation celebrates its 50th anniversary.
For the past months, he has told his listeners that his wish is to see Malaysia achieve the unimaginable. The Malaysian Mission must go beyond 2020 and certainly for the next 50 years.
If Vision 2020 is about the foundation of a developed nation, 2057 would be what it took “to distinguish ourselves in all fields and the heights to which Malaysians will scale.”
Pak Lah had first spoken about this long-term ambition in July, prompting W. Chan Kim, one of the co-authors of the international best seller, Blue Ocean Strategy, to find out more when they met in Paris.
In the words of the strategy management professor, he was “convinced” this was the way forward for Malaysia.
The thrust was to think global and focus on knowledge, economic growth, political stability and genuine cohesion among the races.
In the book, based on a study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than a 100 years and 30 industries, the authors argued that tomorrow’s leading companies will succeed not by battling competitors, but “by creating blue oceans” of uncontested market space ripe for growth.
Abdullah is convinced Malaysia already has the foundation. The institutions are all in place. We have had our problems but we have done well as a country and more importantly, we have learnt from the past.
He is expected to remind delegates that the Federal Constitution, drawn up by our founding fathers, must be respected.
We have an established legal system and the Prime Minister is aware of the concerns of the people and the lawyers.
He is likely to give his assurance that the Federal Constitution has worked well and holds Malaysians together.
He is also expected to reaffirm his commitment to power sharing among the main communities of Malaysia.
In fact, Pak Lah wants the power-sharing concept “to last forever” where decisions are made on a consensual basis.
The Barisan Nasional has worked well. Unlike other coalitions, the Barisan is formed before the polls and not after the elections like in some countries, where no party has a majority to form the government.
From the Alliance to the Barisan now, the political formula has worked although there is much to improve on and even correct.
Well aware that some speakers were aggressive in their rhetorics during the debate on the Malay Agenda last year, no one should be surprised if Pak Lah quotes from the Quran that the rights of non-Muslims and minorities must be respected.
But there would also be a reminder – no one should debate on the social contract, which has been agreed upon, and the special privileges of the Malays.
At the Kuala Lumpur Business Club in June, Pak Lah said his dream was “100 years of independence, one hundred years of advancement.”
Regardless of political and religious beliefs, no one can argue about what Pak Lah wants to strive for. It is certainly a National Mission.