TASEK GELUGOR, Aug 19 – The Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) should emerge from its comfort zone and be a strong opposition to win back the support of the people in the state, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. The Umno vice-president, who is also assuming duties of deputy president, said as the opposition in Penang, Umno and BN did not translate their role well.
“We were hit twice in the previous general elections. The feel of BN being an opposition has yet to be felt by the Penang people. Umno Gerakan, MCA, MIC, and other component parties in BN still feel comfortable because Putrajaya is still controlled by BN and Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak is still the prime minister.
“It is time for us to rise, to close rank and win back Penang. We are pressured with various issues, pushed to the wall with various problems. I see that we, the DNA in BN, are forbearing, (but) it has its limits,” he said when opening the Tasek Gelugor Umno divisional delegates conference.
Ahmad Zahid said although BN only had 10 state seats and three parliamentary seats in Penang, it could be used as a benchmark for the party to move and work with non-governmental organisations to win back the state from DAP. Ahmad Zahid said many of the BN deeds and contributions in Penang were denied by the DAP-led state government and it was now time for BN to use the issue to hit back at them for the sake of the people in the state.
“Too many issues on the previous state government were denied by the (present) state government, who are enjoying the fruits of the hard work by Gerakan. The deeds and contributions of past leaders were never forgotten by Umno. When the time for a certain person has passed, let go. We respect the old timers, but they should love the newbies. When they give way to the people after them, their deeds will be remembered,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid regarded former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as the best example of a leader for not criticising Umno and BN when he no longer held any post. He also cautioned certain quarters against trying to have him and Najib at logger-heads, saying that it would not materialise.
“My wala’ (loyalty) should not be questioned. I am in Umno, held a position in the (Umno) youth movement because of Datuk Seri Najib. I have been with Datuk Seri Najib for a long time since Oct 1, 1987, when I was appointed his political secretary. Insya Allah, the wala’ will remain until end of life,” he said.
Touching on the Tasek Gelugor parliamentary constituency, Ahmad Zahid regarded the constituency as a “fixed deposit” for BN and called on Umno leaders in the Tasek Gelugor division to work hard to increase the voting majority in the coming general election. — Bernama