KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 (Bernama) — UMNO continues to exist and grow stronger despite numerous efforts to ‘kill’ the party, especially through the attacks centred on the party leadership, said Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The UMNO vice-president, who is discharging the duties of UMNO deputy president, said the top UMNO leader was made the ‘pull of gravity’ who had been hurled with numerous slanders and accusations to kill public confidence in him although the leader had good and clean track record.
Nonetheless, he said, UMNO continued to be strong because the party leader struggled for an inclusive agenda encompassing the various ethnic groups, religions and communities despite the fact that the core of UMNO’s struggles centred on the Malays and the sanctity of Islam.
“I fear that this killing will occur to other groups (the opposition) and we know that frequent attempts to kill UMNO have been made, but due to the hard work, prayers and the will of Allah, UMNO still exists not only ‘horizontally’ but also ‘vertically’ to the extent that the strengthening of UMNO can be felt. In fact, in such a situation, UMNO continues to be the backbone of the Barisan Nasional (BN),” he said.
He said this in an interview in the programme, Ruang Bicara Khas, produced by Bernama News Channel in conjunction with the 2017 UMNO General Assembly hosted by Datuk Dahlan Maamor.
Commenting further, Ahmad Zahid said such attacks would continue to be repeated with different story lines particularly in the run-up to the 14th General Election (GE14).
He said this was compounded by the accusations hurled via online which had become the source of public information compared to the conventional media, to the extent that public opinion had been blurred.
“We notice that the communication system has changed. Previously, we had poison pen letters, then there were the ‘hate’ booklets and now there is no need for these poison pen letters and hate booklets. The people are exposed through online media which no longer place priority on journalism ethics. Even worse are the cyber troopers who not only add more problems to the situation by blurring public views and distorting the objectivity of the public,” he said.
He said it was common for negative issues such as those concerning leaders to be easily accepted by the public while it was difficult for the truth to be accepted.
“False news dissemination is the new approach because of the borderless world, and the sky is more open and the world has become universal…this is a force that we cannot avoid, but I appeal to myself and all of us that Allah SWT had given us brain, so think wisely,” he added.
However, Ahmad Zahid said the BN main pillar (UMNO) had been most fortunate as it had a president and prime minister who had extraordinary resilience and could be emulated by all party members.
The people knew that the allegations hurled against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak were numerous, including that he was once accused or murder when the case that we all knew of had been thrown out, just like the accusation that he purportedly robbed money from a government investment fund or had received political fund from a friendly country which was purportedly used for personal interest.
“So, such accusations are aimed at killing his character which I feel is an agenda planned by his political enemies to place the pull of gravity at the lowest level and erase public confidence on the leader,” he added.
Thus, he said it was crucial for the UMNO machinery to implement proactive online efforts as an answer to all the issues raised because they could change public perception especially among the middle-class group who were always looking at the efforts made by the government to look after the interest of the people and country.
“In this matter, it is significant that the proactive efforts carried out by the keyboard warriors to not only answer but also provide a ‘drop box’ on the issues which should be entered into the political ledgers to be digested as political gain/loss issues which will eventually help us in providing a ledger for political balance, a balanced political account to determine the profit or loss of the assets and liabilities obtained,” he said.
Nonetheless, Ahmad Zahid said efforts must be wisely and prudently made because Malaysians, particularly the Malays never liked any approach that was shameful, negative and hitting below-the-belt in tackling the issues raised.
He added that UMNO members should cooperate and strengthen the spirit of togetherness in facing issues that attacked the party and leadership.
“We must have self-confidence, belief in our party leadership and if we lack the confidence in ourselves, the party and our leader, then our history is doomed,” he added.
Photo Credit : Dato Dahlan Maamor