PEKAN: Former Umno president Najib Razak today advised Umno leaders and members to change and discard money politics in party elections.
It was not enough to change just the leaders, as the members should also change their attitude, values, approach, behaviour and everything else so that the people could accept them again, he said when opening the Pekan Umno division delegates meeting here.
Najib was retained unopposed as the Pekan division chief, a post he has held since 1982.
“Maybe God wanted to teach us a lesson for our weaknesses. We must repent and correct our ways,” he said, acknowledging that he had made mistakes because he had not done what he should have as a leader.
Najib said the era of the luxury of Umno leaders and members had passed and they had to return to the basis of the Umno struggle which focused on the people and they should be ready to make sacrifices and not see the party as a source of livelihood.
He said Umno should emulate Pakatan Harapan which was able to endear itself to the people and gain their support in the 14th general election without having to incur huge expenses.
“In the last general election, we lost to a party that did not spend much money; we did not know where their divisional offices were, their canopies were the earliest to close, but even when we flocked to our canopies, we still lost.
“When we are not paid, we get annoyed; when money is given, we say we did not receive it.
“There were candidates who kept for themselves the money meant for spending (in the election campaign).
“How could we have not lost? If we had such an attitude, then we were the cause of our party’s defeat.
“Yes, our opponents attacked us with all kinds of false promises, but we had our internal weaknesses, too.
“Although I accepted the moral responsibility for our defeat by resigning (as party president), the fact is the weaknesses and irregularities occurred at all levels of the party.
“I accepted the responsibility, the others remained silent. But, never mind, they do not have to resign. If everyone resigns, our party will be crippled.
“Let me be the one to step down. The others can help rectify the situation,” he said.
Earlier, he questioned the Pakatan Harapan government’s freezing of numerous accounts allegedly traced to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), including Umno’s.
The former prime minister said the authorities should have only frozen the accounts of individuals under investigation and not “target” party accounts.
Saying that it was unnecessary to freeze accounts during any investigation, Najib maintained that Umno was innocent.
“If an individual has committed wrong, act against that individual. Do not act against Umno. Do not act against political parties because their members function in a democratic system.
“We have a heavy responsibility to discharge with regard to the people. We are not having fun,”