KUALA LUMPUR: Around 900 Wanita Umno delegates from across the country gathered at the party’s headquarters today to pledge their support to Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who has been under fire after the party’s huge loss in the recent state polls.
Kedah Wanita Umno chief Norma Awang said it was unfair to pin the blame solely on Zahid’s shoulders.
Umno only won 19 of the 108 seats the party contested in the Aug 12 polls in six states.
“What we need to change is not the president but the way we prepare for elections,” Norma said.
Meanwhile, a Wanita Umno delegate from Kelantan, Marshella Ali, urged the party’s members to emulate PAS’s loyalty to its president.
Marshella, who was the Barisan Nasional candidate for the Semerak seat in Kelantan in the Aug 12 polls, claimed that PAS was at its lowest point in 1986 when it only won one seat in the general election that year.
However, she noted that PAS’s members did not urge their then-president, Yusof Rawa, to step down.
“They then won seven seats in the 1990 general election because the party’s grassroots did not urge their party president to step down,” Marshella said.
She later described Zahid as the “father” of Umno and criticised any attempts to discredit him, which she said amounted to treachery.
The Wanita Umno gathering today comes a week after Umno Youth held a post-mortem of the party’s election results, during which the wing’s chief urged Umno’s leadership to make changes or risk being wiped out.
Dr Akmal Salleh said if the party remained passive, Umno would be “buried” in the next general election.
While Akmal did not specify the changes that should be made, there had been numerous calls from within Umno for Zahid to step down following the party’s poor showing in GE15.
The party suffered its worst electoral defeat in history after winning only 26 of the 120 constituencies it contested.