Umno's support remains 'solid'

A banner put up by a branch of the Umno Gelang Patah division in Johor calling for Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to resign. Minister Tajuddin Abdul Rahman says the branch does not speak for the majority.
A banner put up by a branch of the Umno Gelang Patah division in Johor calling for Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to resign. Minister Tajuddin Abdul Rahman says the branch does not speak for the majority.PHOTO: FACEBOOK

KUALA LUMPUR • The one branch of the ruling Umno that was calling for Prime Minister Najib Razak to resign over the scandal surrounding state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad did not represent the majority voice of the party, a member of the party's supreme council has said.

On the contrary, the party's support for Datuk Seri Najib was "as solid as a rock", Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, who is also the Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister, was quoted as saying by news website Malaysiakini.

He was speaking in response to a banner calling for Mr Najib to resign that was put up by the Umno Bandar Pulai Jaya 2 branch of the Umno Gelang Patah division in Johor state, the website reported.

The banner states in Malay: "We, Umno Bandar Pulai Jaya 2 branch, have lost our trust in the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. You should resign if you have dignity or accept losing the 14th general election as a result of your ego and greed."

The banner also carried these words: "Poket didahulukan, rakyat dikorbankan" ("Pockets are put first, the people are sacrificed"), in what the website said was a parody of "Rakyat didahulukan, pencapaian diutamakan" ("People first, achievements prioritised") - a slogan of Mr Najib's 1Malaysia programme to forge national unity.

Mr Mohamad Khairi A. Malik, the chief of the Gelang Patah Umno division, was quoted by the website as confirming that the banner had been erected by the branch, but also adding that those who had put it up lacked understanding of certain issues.

Mr Tajuddin said that it was normal for dissident members of the party to voice their unhappiness, adding that with 3.5 million members, it was not possible for the party to have everyone agree with its leadership.

"The people from outside can say whatever they like about Najib, but he has got the support of the party.

"In this country, the ruling party is Umno and the Prime Minister is the president of Umno," he was quoted as saying.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2015, with the headline 'Umno's support remains 'solid''. Print Edition | Subscribe