KUALA LUMPUR: Former Prime Minister Najib Razak has urged Umno members to refrain from dividing into different camps within the party.
“We must focus on unity efforts within Umno itself. Umno has to be united for the sake of the rakyat.
“Don’t split into camps,” he said during his speech at the Setiawangsa Umno division meeting at Flamingo Hotel in Ampang this morning.
Najib added that those unhappy with Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s return as president should wait three years for his mandate to end.
“But don’t create chaos (‘huru-hara’) in the party.”
Zahid, who faces a total of 87 criminal charges, went on garden leave in December last year, apparently to stem the tide of Umno representatives leaving the party. His deputy, Mohamad Hasan, then took over as acting president.
He announced his return to active duty as Umno president last Sunday.
Speaking to reporters after his speech, Najib denied the existence of different camps within the party.
He said this was just hearsay on social media.
“We must stop all this. Maybe this comes only from one or two people but when it gets on social media, it becomes a big deal. All I want is for Umno to unite for the sake of the rakyat.”
Last December, Berita Harian reported Johor Umno treasurer Md Jais Sarday as saying Umno was now divided into four groups.
He claimed one group wanted Umno to rise as a party that protects the rights of Islam and the Malays; another wants closer Umno-PAS collaboration; the third group wants to throw its support behind PKR president Anwar Ibrahim as the next prime minister; while the last one wants to reinforce the voice of the Malay community in the government.
Zahid himself, in another news report in December, admitted that the party had split into five factions after it lost power in GE14.
The Umno president said the first comprised those who wanted to maintain the status quo and not ally itself with any other parties.
The second and third factions wanted to join forces with two different parties in Pakatan Harapan.
The fourth faction wanted Umno to join forces with PAS while the fifth wanted to form an entirely new grouping or grand coalition.
Najib said he was confident that Barisan Nasional, together with PAS, would be able to form a new government.
“If tomorrow Parliament is dissolved, BN together with PAS can set up a new government.
“This is the true Malay-Muslim unity that will decide our future,” he said.
‘We’ll take care of other races’
Najib gave an assurance that this coalition would not betray the other races.
“We will continue to take care of the interests of other races.”
Najib also said the “Bossku” movement would not have garnered so much support if PH had kept its GE14 promises.
He listed various about-turns by the Pakatan Harapan government which went against the coalition’s election manifesto, such as its promise to abolish tolls and outstanding National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) loans.
“Why and how is it that the ‘Bossku’ movement has become so widely accepted by the rakyat and the youth?
“It’s because people now feel lied to. What PH said before the 14th general election last year is different from what it says today.”