KUALA LUMPUR: Umno members were urged to pull together in party unity in the wake of former president Najib Razak being jailed on corruption charges.
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in an address to party members at a special briefing today, said what happened to Najib should have brought members together in unity instead of separating them.
He urged Umno members to stay united as one big family. “Don’t let there be clusters. We only have one cluster, the Umno cluster,” he said, according to Bernama.
Opposition critics have used the term “court cluster” to refer to Zahid, Najib and several other Umno personalities facing trial on various charges.
The “court cluster” has been alleged to have pressed for an early general election to be held, as a way of defeating the charges.
Zahid reiterated the party’s stance that the general election should be held immediately so that Barisan Nasional (BN) could win a popular mandate and restore stability and economic growth.
The general election would be the battlefield to put an end to the politics of hatred, revenge and threats, said Zahid, who is also BN chairman.
“Don’t let there be any voice of disputes among ourselves, accusing us of rushing into calling for the election. This is not the decision of Zahid Hamidi or Tok Mat (deputy president Mohamad Hassan),” he said. “This is the voice and decision of Umno.”
Zahid said Umno wanted a government that has a legitimate popular mandate, not one formed through political manoeuvring (a reference to the negotiations which resulted in the Perikatan Nasional and Ismail Sabri Yaakob coalition governments).
Today’s meeting began with explanations by lawyers Shafee Abdullah, Zaid Ibrahim and Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said about the Najib case.
Najib’s two children, Nizar and Nooryana Najwa, were also invited to voice their opinions. Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor was among those present.