KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 – Datuk Seri Najib Razak today reminded delegates that the only way to ensure Malays are protected is to see the recovery of Umno. The party president, in a strongly worded message, told a closed door meeting that the Umno machinery was not doing enough despite more than a year having passed since the 13th general election.
Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Ahmad Puad Zarkashi, who relayed the prime minister’s message to the media outside the Merdeka Hall, said that Najib was clearly unhappy with efforts being made to ensure victory in the next polls. “He raised the issue that the Umno machinery is still weak, slow and not moving fast enough.
“This is his bold rebuke in front of Umno leaders and he clearly shows that he is not satisfied with how things are moving after more than a year has gone by. “He said that if Umno loses, the Malays will be damned. Those were his words. Not only that, he said religion will be at stake if Umno loses,” he said. Puad said Najib pinpointed the scenario of a defeated Umno and the Malay decline as a reminder to the delegates to be proactive and work towards rejuvenating the party.
He said he had never seen Najib, who is known for his calm approach, to lash out or use such strong words. “I guess this is the party president at his angriest. Probably he is tired of just talking and decided to use stronger words this time to get his message across,” The former Batu Pahat MP added that Najib also reminded that the party be open to fresh blood and wanted to see the implementation of online registration of new members.
“When the president announced that he wanted this to happen with immediate effect, he is signalling to all members that he is serious and does not want to hear stories of members driving away professionals and scholars from joining the party, he said.
Najib over the past few weeks have been telling party leaders to come to terms with current political realities and not to obstruct the young and professionals from joining and contributing to the party. He said Umno must embrace youths if the Barisan Nasional wishes to restore its influence.