Najib's hold intact after Umno AGMs

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak speaks at the World Capital Market Symposium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Sept 3, 2015.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak speaks at the World Capital Market Symposium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Sept 3, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

Most party divisions pass resolutions to support him, despite political rumblings

PETALING JAYA • Prime Minister Najib Razak's control over Umno seems to have survived political rumblings at the party's division meetings, slated to be wrapped up over the weekend.

Despite flare-ups at various divisional annual general meetings (AGMs) in the past month, most of the 188 divisions that have completed their AGMs have passed resolutions to support Datuk Seri Najib, who is Umno president, as well as party vice-president and Deputy Premier Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Only Gelang Patah in Johor is known to have officially passed a resolution asking Mr Najib to "go on long leave".

It has been a hotbed of discontent since the general election, which saw the seat fall to the Democratic Action Party's Lim Kit Siang. The division is headed by Mr Mohamad Khairi Malik, who is political secretary to the state's chief minister.

There is some confusion as to whether the Langkawi division meeting passed a resolution to support the top Umno party members, or whether an amended resolution asking Mr Najib to take a rest slipped through. Langkawi made news when delegate Anina Saadudin launched an attack on the prime minister.

Some divisions also passed resolutions relating to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the country's troubled state investment fund.

Party vice-president and Semporna division chief Shafie Apdal denied that his division had passed a resolution to censure Mr Najib.

Datuk Seri Shafie, who was dropped from the Cabinet, said his division was against postponing the Umno election, and passed a resolution asking for the polls to be held as scheduled. The division also wanted a thorough probe into 1MDB's financial dealings.

Mr Shafie said Semporna "dis-invited" Mr Najib not because he was angry with the president, but because he wanted to avoid any incidents at the AGM.

"About 70 per cent of the members in Semporna are my relatives," he said. "They are very upset, and I was worried that they would show their unhappiness towards the president."

The main resolution in Pagoh, which is headed by Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin, expressed deep regret that he had been removed as deputy prime minister and education minister. Several other resolutions relating to the 1MDB issue were passed as well.

Kampar division chief Radzi Manan said that members there were very concerned about issues affecting Umno, but noted that party discipline still ruled the day.

The final three divisions to meet are Pasir Salak, scheduled for today, and Pekan and Masjid Tanah, slated for tomorrow.

Pasir Salak is headed by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Tajuddin Rahman. The Pekan chief is Mr Najib, while Masjid Tanah is headed by Najib loyalist Rauf Yusoh.

Mr Shafie confirmed that he would attend the Umno supreme council meeting next week.

He said he was unaffected by messages sent via SMS that claim several Umno leaders - including himself, Mr Muhyiddin and Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir - will be sacked from the party.

Also included in the "black list" are former Terengganu chief minister Ahmad Said, Kulim Bandar Baru division chief Abdul Aziz Sheikh Fadzir and former Perak assemblywoman Hamidah Osman.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2015, with the headline 'Najib's hold intact after Umno AGMs'. Print Edition | Subscribe