KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak ended a town hall session with top Barisan Nasional leaders with a call to close ranks and ensure victory for the coalition at the next general election.
If BN continued to be moderate, progressive and true to the spirit of the Federal Constitution, no one would lose out, the former prime minister and BN chairman said at the event at Putra World Trade Centre, attended by about 1,000 people.
“Even if we unite with PAS it would not come at the expense of our friends in MCA and MIC,” he said. “We will have a formula that puts our common interests as the basis for our struggles.”
He said other matters, such as who would lead or became PM should BN win, did not matter at the present time, when the priority was to ensure BN’s victory.
“So let us work together, win and return to power first because I fear that if PH continues to be in power, our country will be ruined because there are so many U-turns that it is like a ship without direction.”
Najib urged his party, Umno, to be more open and inclusive in future.
He cited the example of two university students who told him that their applications to become Umno members were rejected twice, probably because their applications had been ignored by those who feared them.
“These young people were probably seen as future challengers to those in power. This is a lesson for us. Umno must be seen as a party for all,” he said, adding at present he was not satisfied with the level of solidarity in the party.
Najib said there must only be “one” Umno and that all leaders should put the interests of the party first.
At a question-and-answer session later, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is on leave from his presidential duties, said he would only resume duties when really needed by the party.
“If I end my leave, it will be to strengthen the party. If the party is strong without me, I will continue to be on leave.”
He also called on Umno members to put aside their differences, saying there was only one faction — Umno.
Zahid’s deputy, Mohamad Hasan, is now party acting president.
Others present at today’s town hall were MCA president Wee Ka Siong, MIC president S Vigneswaran and other Barisan Nasional leaders.