ABOUT a week ago, friends in Umno talked about a forthcoming retreat of the party's Supreme Council in the city. I've been told that the retreat will take place later this week at the Saujana, Subang.
A retreat is good, as long as everyone can talk freely and that firm decisions are made and follow-up actions be carefully drawn up for proper execution. Corporate bosses often have retreats where the senior management take a trip away from their headquarters to 'brainstorm' and chart 'the way forward.'
These are buzzwords commonly associated with such retreats. I know companies who spend a fair bit of money for this purpose. Venues, depending on the companies' financial strength varies from Club Med in Cherating to Phuket in Thailand and Bali, Indonesia.
Retreats also feature when Apec leaders meet for their conference. Heads of Governments would take a one-day break and be taken to a holiday spot for some relaxation and informal chats.
Apart from free discussions among colleagues, such retreats offer good opportunity for some bonding among team members. As for the Umno supreme council, the Saujana retreat would offer members an opportunity to zero in on what caused the party and the Barisan Nasional such heavy losses at the March 8 general election.
The success of such retreats would hinge greatly on who sets the agenda and pace of discussions. For Umno, issues are aplenty. The call in recent weeks for reforms within the party and plans for leadership change probably top the items for discussions.
Umno members refer these two as 'pelan pemulihan' and 'pelan peralihan.' Whether they would be discussed at the Saujana retreat is not something made public but I assume that they must be touched on at some point or other.
I expect the retreat will also touch on issues affecting party unity, relationship with BN components, its own internal bickering, the humiliating losses at the general election and, the party election in December this year.
As the election gets near, one can see battle lines being drawn. It may not be too obvious now, but the coming weeks would see partnerships being formed, pledges and punches traded and deals brokered.
There's much that ails the party. A single retreat won't do much unless some harsh truths are highlighted and acted upon. Some Umno leaders are still in a denial mode even when the national political landscape has changed greatly.