KUALA LUMPUR: The three-day 71st Umno General Assembly kicked-off this morning with party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak raising the party flag – Sang Saka Bangsa – and inspecting a guard of honour mounted by the Wanita, Pemuda and Puteri members at Plaza Merdeka at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here.

The highlight of the day is expected to be Najib’s policy address at Dewan Merdeka before party delegates, Umno Supreme Council members, the party faithful, Barisan Nasional component leaders, foreign political party representatives as well as observers.

The president’s message has been anticipated by many as the most important message in view of the party’s preparations for the upcoming 14th general election (GE14).

The presidential address will be followed by delegates taking to the rostrum to debate the presidential policy address. Debates will also take place on issues related to the economy, religion and education.

In the evening, Najib will host a dinner for party delegates and invited guests.

A total of 2,761 Umno delegates from the party’s 191 divisions nationwide, 51 Umno Overseas Club representatives, as well as representatives of seven state liaison committees will be in attendance.

A total of 63 participants from 17 political parties in 15 nations have confirmed their attendance at this year’s assembly. They includes the likes of Hamas and Fatah from Palestine, the Communist Party of China, the Bhartiya Janata Party from India and the People’s Action Party from Singapore.

Up to 350 undergraduates from 20 public universities, and 50 private universities under the aegis of the National Undergraduates Leadership Conference (Pemanas) are also involved in the assembly; while another 60 undergraduates from Mantap will assist as volunteers.

A total of 75 electronic and print agencies from 61 local and international media organisations, and 1,795 media personnel will be involved in the coverage of the assembly’s proceedings.

The assembly will bring curtains down on Saturday.

Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak (third from right) raising the party flag, Sang Saka Bangsa at Plaza Merdeka at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur today. Pix by Zunnur Al Shafiq

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Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak (third from right) arriving at the flag-raising ceremony at Plaza Merdeka at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur earlier this morning. Pix by Shahril Badri

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