KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Umno members should not allow internal sabotage to ruin the party's chances of winning in the general election, said Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, as Malaysia's biggest political party starts its annual meeting on Tuesday (Dec 5).
He said any move to sabotage one another could spell trouble for Umno and the 13-party Barisan Nasional coalition that it leads.
He raised the concern about infighting as the party has come together again after spending two years purging its ranks from critics of Prime Minister Najib razak over the scandal involving state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
Umno leaders today want its members to gear up for Malaysia's general election which is expected to be called within six months.
But ambitious party leaders are jockeying to be picked as candidates for the general election. And they are also movig to shore up support for Umno's own internal polls that will be held after the national polls.
"When there is frustration (among some members), then the element of sabotage happens," said Datuk Seri Zahid, the acting Umno deputy president.
"This is very dangerous. In some cases, we have good candidates for the parliamentary constituencies but because a particular member did not get the chance to be a candidate, and they have their own set of followers, then sabotage happens".
He was speaking at the launch of Umno's information convention on Tuesday.
He said one form of sabotage was when Umno members failed to cast votes during the general election in some constituencies to ensure that the party's own candidates lose.
There were also some division chiefs, said Mr Zahid, who do not spend the allocation given to them to help the party machinery to prepare for the general election.
They instead chose to keep the allocations for themselves to be use to strengthen their positions during the party's divisional elections, which are held every three years.
"Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (the Defence Minister) and I know who these leaders are. You cannot lie. We get reports," said Mr Zahid. Mr Hishammuddin is the third highest ranking party official after Prime Minister Najib Razak and Mr Zahid.
Deputy PM Zahid urged Umno members to close ranks.