Najib admits he's partly to blame for election loss

PEKAN • Former Umno president Najib Razak has admitted he is partly to blame for the party's defeat in Malaysia's general election on May 9 but warned that political parties should not be victimised.

"Don't freeze the accounts of political parties and disrupt the rise of a constructive opposition," Datuk Seri Najib said in a Facebook post yesterday, adding that he welcomed probes into his own conduct.

"The unreasonable action of freezing the bank accounts will disrupt the parties' activities and the rebuilding of the opposition party," added the former premier, a day after a government task force said it had frozen bank accounts in its probe into troubled state fund 1MDB.

In a report published yesterday, Mr Najib told The Star he took responsibility for party failures and stepped down as Umno president even though there were shortcomings at every level of the party. His comments came as Umno held internal polls to choose a new leader.

"It is time to change. We have to choose the best leaders for the party now and not because of benefits. We have to change our values, attitude and approach in order to be respected by the people once again," he said.

The Pekan MP urged party members to return to the basis of Umno's struggle that required them to make sacrifices and to be humble.

Mr Najib said money politics must not be practised any more if the party wants to change.

"We know that our glory days are over. We lost in the general election even though we spent so much," he said.

He also blamed the Barisan Nasional coalition's loss on new ruling alliance Pakatan Harapan for making what he called false promises. He said the Pakatan government's failure to fulfil election promises like lowering petrol prices and providing pension contributions for housewives proved that the people had been cheated.

"I can't believe people actually fell for that. My disappointment is not because our agenda was not good but because our loss was due to false promises. It is difficult to accept when we did our best for the people with achievable promises," he said.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 01, 2018, with the headline 'Najib admits he's partly to blame for election loss'. Print Edition | Subscribe