KUALA LUMPUR: There are no rules in Umno which require a member to “stay silent” after they have been charged in court.
Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said this when responding to recent calls made by party members requesting former party president Najib Razak to distance himself from the party due to the 1MDB-linked court cases he is facing.
“In my knowledge, there is no such rule. In the party, only those who hold positions such as menteri besar and others would be told to step down (if convicted of an offence).
“That should be the guide for this matter,” he said in response to calls for Najib to distance himself from Umno.
The calls were made by former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, information chief Annuar Musa and former Umno Supreme Council member Nazri Aziz.
Tengku Razaleigh, better known as Ku Li, said the party’s image would not be tarnished just because of one person’s alleged transgressions.
“Those are their views. For me, it’s business as usual.
“Najib can still comment and voice his opinions as he is still an MP.
“There are others who may also have been charged but they are still carrying out their duties,” he said.
When asked if Najib’s reputation would affect Umno’s image, Tengku Razaleigh said while it would affect the party’s image, these were mere perceptions.
“The party needs to repair its image. It isn’t because of one person that the image of Umno is spoilt,” he said.
Asked if Najib should emulate past leaders including Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who had withdrawn from Umno affairs after retirement as prime minister, Tengku Razaleigh said it depended on one’s own “style”.
He said Abdullah had not stood for elections after his retirement.
“Najib, however, contested. Until the person is convicted, he can speak.”
Najib is now Pekan MP although he no longer holds any position in the Umno top leadership.