“God willing, we will fight until the death and until the last drop of blood,” Najib told delegates, who had earlier greeted him with enthusiastic applause, signalling their support for his leadership.
“Please realise my (Malay) race, do not falter for a moment as we are facing unprecedented challenges,” he added.
Ruslee Bedol, a delegate from southern Johor state, told AFP that UMNO had already started preparing for a vote and said “we expect elections in the next six months.”
UMNO has dominated multi-cultural Malaysia for decades, enshrining policies that favour the Malay majority.
But the large ethnic Chinese minority and a new generation of other voters have flocked to the opposition in disgust over racial politics and persistent accusations of corruption and democratic abuses.
But since former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was jailed in 2015 on sodomy charges, the political opposition has fractured.
Donald Trump was bad enough, but even he did not talk of fighting to the death and spilling blood in a democratic election.
The Malays have nothing to fear if a Malay dominated opposition wins the election – why should they cease to support rural folk?
With some of the people who run Penang largely corruption free these days joining in that progressive team people should further find that the leeching from public funds by greedy UMNO warlords will also stop and there will be more money available.
So, why this desperate talk as if the world would end from Najib? The only people who have anything to fear from UMNO losing power are the thieves and worse, who have been driving the state into bankruptsy and locking up their critics and opposition leaders under Najib.