KUALA LUMPUR: The political waves striking Umno now require members and the leadership to ensure Umno remains intact and wins the next general election, said Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Speaking candidly on the current political situation in the country, the deputy prime minister acknowledged the daunting challenges for Umno, the backbone of Barisan Nasional, in the face of numerous attacks by the opposition, including former Umno top leaders.
Recounting past bitter experiences and crises that Umno has weathered, Zahid said the party succeeded in riding and overcoming the waves and did not sink.
“It depends on how the party leadership, not just the president and deputy president, address the problems,” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama ahead of next week’s Umno General Assembly.
Zahid said the incessant attacks of slander and accusations against Umno leaders and the biggest Malay party were becoming more vicious with the approach of the 14th general election (GE14) that could be held at any time.
“Therefore, it is the duty of every Umno member to counter every attack, including psychological warfare launched particularly through cyber space, and deal with each issue immediately and expeditiously.
“We must strengthen the team and our forces not only to defend but also to act in a more positive way in attesting that we are in the right.”
He said party members and leaders and the government were responsible for helping party president Najib Razak explain issues that had been raised.
“My opinion is, don’t leave the president alone to face the problems, rather, we must learn from past leaderships.”
Zahid, who is Umno vice-president and entrusted to discharge the responsibilities of the deputy president, said the party continued to remain intact because of internal strength and leadership as well as grassroots support despite the conflicts.
He said the situation faced by Umno at this point was not new as the party leadership had always been a target for the opposition, particularly when an election was imminent.
On the 2016 Umno General Assembly, Zahid said three issues could be expected to be the focus, namely, former Umno leaders who were now “outside the ring”, concerns of the party and the 2050 National Transformation (TN50). -FMT