They cheer Najib, jeer Mahathir
Umno wings rally around M'sia Prime Minister, scorn former leader
KUALA LUMPUR: United Malays National Organisation (Umno) wings rallied around embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday.
They also poured scorn on long-serving former leader Mahathir Mohamed, as Malaysia's ruling party sought to consolidate before an election expected next year.
The 3,000 delegates attending the youth, women and Puteri (young women) wings' annual assemblies cheered wildly when their respective chiefs called for undivided loyalty to Mr Najib, and jeered Dr Mahathir.
Dr Mahathir had quit the party after leading calls for his successor to step down over graft allegations, a two-year-long campaign that has battered Umno.
Women's chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil called on her wing - the backbone of the party due to its well-oiled election machinery - to defend Mr Najib as he is "the best party president I have ever served".
"Only Umno sticks to its original principle," she said in her policy speech, calling for undivided loyalty to the party and to Mr Najib
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, who is also Malaysia's youth and sports minister, savaged Dr Mahathir for hypocrisy in allying with those he once vilified.
Using footage, he showed youth delegates how the former premier - who was in power for 22 years until 2003 - had changed his stance on opposition leaders and parties.
He said Dr Mahathir had in the past accused Bersih of being violent, but is now urging Malaysians to attend the electoral reform group's rallies calling for Mr Najib to step down.
"Now is not the time for divided loyalty. In politics, kill or be killed. We are at war," Mr Khairy said when opening the youth assembly.
Dr Mahathir and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin - sacked as Mr Najib's deputy - have formed a new opposition party as they continue to push for the premier to resign over allegations that US$700 million (S$998 million) found in his personal accounts came from sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Mr Najib has insisted the money was a political donation from the Saudi royal family.
He has to face polls only in August 2018, but there is speculation that elections will be called next year after new electoral boundaries were revealed in September, and cooperation between Umno and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia keeps sowing discord among opposition parties.
Rights of all races will be safe, says Umno VP
The rights of all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, will be protected.
Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the party will remain committed to this, reported The Star. The party's de facto number two was making his maiden speech at the 14th Umno general assembly.
He noted that many urban voters - the majority of them non-Malays - had rejected Umno and Barisan Nasional in the last general election.
He said: "Yet Umno and its component parties in the ruling coalition will continue to fight for all races and religions under its power-sharing concept.
"As the saying goes, in times of hardship, Umno shares the difficulties. And in good times, Umno also enjoys the benefits along with others.
"Umno protects non-Malays under the principle that we are all under one roof, one country. Umno is not racist."
Dr Ahmad Zahid also said Umno had a proven track record of demonstrating its commitment to power-sharing among the races under Barisan.
"There is no need to be worried about the spirit of brotherhood of Umno. Let us all be committed to fighting and defending Barisan at the next general election," he said.