KUALA LUMPUR: Supporters of Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi gathered at the party’s headquarters here to show solidarity with their under-fire leader, despite its huge losses in the recent state polls.
More than 50 supporters from four NGOs – the Najib Razak Fan Club, Veteran Belia 4B, the Malaysian Association of Youth Clubs and the Secretariat of the Association of Malay Muslim NGOs (Waris Pekembar) – gathered to show their support for the deputy prime minister in front of the World Trade Centre.
The Perlis Waris Pekembar chief Shahbudin Embun said they came to show their support for Zahid and urged that the president’s position be defended to ensure Umno’s longevity.
“All Umno members must be fully responsible for the ups and downs of the party, not just cheer when we win but stay silent when we lose,” Shahbudin said in his speech during the solidarity rally.
He added that the party president’s supporters will take their solidarity tour nationwide and will be organising a mega rally in Kemaman, Terengganu, on Aug 30.
Shahbudin also said the rally was held to show support for the unity government led by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
Yesterday, around 900 Wanita Umno delegates from across the country gathered at the party’s headquarters to pledge their support for Zahid, who had once again come under pressure to resign after the party’s major losses in the recent polls that took place in six states.
The Wanita Umno gathering came a week after Umno Youth held a post-mortem of the party’s election results, during which the wing’s chief urged the 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 what changes should be made, there had been numerous calls from within the party for Zahid to step down following its poor showing in last November’s general election (GE15).
The party suffered its worst electoral defeat after winning only 26 of the 120 constituencies it contested.
Meanwhile, federal territory Waris Pekembar chief Rodzi Tajudin said it has been a trend in Umno to urge the party president to step down after a poor showing in an election.
He said the trend started during the Dr Mahathir Mohamad era and has continued till today.
“Previously, party members asked Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, and Mahathir to step down.
“The one we regret the most was when (former prime minister) Najib Razak was pressured to step down.
“If this is a trend in Umno, it proves that we are cowards,” Rodzi added.