KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — He is the former Umno president but the rousing welcome given to Datuk Seri Najib Razak when he walked into Tun Hussein Onn Hall at the Putra World Trade Centre today for the start of the party’s annual congress shows he has lost none of his influence — at least among the women delegates.
Dressed casually in a white shirt and slacks, the 66-year-old walked in as Wanita Umno chief Datuk Noraini Ahmad was in the middle of her speech, and was given rock star treatment as he made his way to his seat in the front row.
The entire audience stood up, cheering excitedly, prompting emcee Datuk Sharifah Aminah Syed Ahmad to cut into Noraini’s speech to announce Najib’s arrival.
“Ladies, please welcome Bossku,” Sharifah said to thunderous applause.
She paused for breath before roaring into the microphone: “Malu Apa ” to which the audience, as one, replied: “Bossku!”
Usage of “Bossku” is believed to have originated in Sabah, but has been nicked by Najib for use on social media to phenomenal success, particularly among the younger generation.
No longer the party president, Barisan Nasional chairman nor prime minister, Najib appears to have lost none of his popularity in the court of Umno’s opinion — judging from today’s response — despite the multiple corruption, power abuse, money laundering and criminal breach of trust charges against him in the civil courts.
The Pekan MP’s hold over Umno, now led by his former deputy Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who also is facing multiple charges in court for similar offences, seemed as strong as when he was in power.
Najib was in the hall for about 10 minutes before leaving and then reappearing in the Puteri Umno hall where he received a similar response from the younger women delegates.
He also made an appearance in a separate hall for the Umno Youth wing, entering as its chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki was making his opening address.
Like in the other halls, the delegates let out a wild cheer for the “Bossku” on his arrival.
“Let's honour our former prime minister, Bossku, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak. Thank you Datuk Seri for wearing a Pemuda shirt today,” Asyraf said.