PETALING JAYA: Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki claims that Umno is now stable enough to accept party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s return from his leave without risking a split in the ranks.
Speaking to FMT, he said Zahid’s six-month absence gave acting president Mohamad Hasan room to work his magic to consolidate the party.
He described Umno’s current state as “solid” and said Zahid’s return on June 30 was seen by members as a sign for the party to move forward to become an effective opposition force.
Asyraf acknowledged that Umno Youth’s voice was among the loudest in calling for Zahid’s leave of absence, but he said its intention was noble and denied that it was pressuring him to step down.
He said the movement saw a need to rejuvenate a party in disarray and believed that Zahid needed to concentrate on dealing with the criminal charges he was facing.
The Umno president has been charged with 45 counts of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and corruption. The alleged amounts involved come to more than RM100 million.
Ashraf said Zahid accepted the calls for his temporary withdrawal with an open mind and was now focused on strengthening Umno’s unity so that it could serve the people well.
He also acknowledged that Zahid, as the elected president of Umno, had the constitutional right to lead it.
Among Umno’s major tasks, he said, was to speak up on the issues that had allegedly caused widespread discontent with the Pakatan Harapan government.
He said Umno Youth would continue to play its role as a pressure group against the government and would not hesitate to criticise even the party’s leaders if there were wrongs that needed to be rectified.
He added that PAS leaders needing to be corrected would also not be spared, the party’s alliance with Umno notwithstanding.
Asyraf claimed he had always spoken his mind during the party’s Supreme Council meetings and that the top leadership accepted his criticism with an open heart.
“It is important for us an opposition party to learn from our mistakes,” he said. “If we fail to sow a culture of being critical of ourselves, we will be in denial and will always feel what we do is right.”