KEPALA BATAS (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Matters of political funding in Umno are under the discretion of the party president, said Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is the president of Umno.
Datuk Seri Najib said in the six years he served as deputy prime minister and deputy Umno president under former Malaysian prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, he had never questioned the latter on the party's funds.
"I never questioned him on matters which I know are under the discretion of the president - How the president raised the money, who had donated it, it is the discretion of the president," Mr Najib said at the Kepala Batas Umno delegates meeting on Sunday.
"Never once did we discuss it in public or even in closed party meetings because those are the exclusive right of the president and the treasurer.
"Even when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was serving as prime minister, Pak Lah (referring to Tun Abdullah) never questioned it.
"Why am I being questioned when I am now the party president? Because what I am doing is for the importance of the party.
"What I've done is not against the law and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had confirmed it."
A donation of RM2.6billion (S$920 million) deposited into Mr Najib's personal account has been said to be from a "brotherly nation", after critics had raised concerns following a declaration by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission that the massive funds were donations from unnamed Middle Eastern sources, and not from troubled state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Some 3,000 members were present at the delegates meeting on Sunday, complete with a giant banner to welcome Mr Najib's arrival.
An Umno supreme council member believes that Mr Najib will overcome the problems he is facing now and emerge as a stronger leader.
Datuk Seri Idris Haron, who is Malacca's Chief Minister, claimed that there has been a systematic effort to force Mr Najib to resign from his post.
"I believe the efforts to topple him come from many sides, and I believe he will overcome such turbulence and become a stronger prime minister for the country and a better president for the party," he told a press conference after opening the Tasek Gelugor Umno division annual general meeting on Saturday.
He said what was happening now was just a "temporary cyclical process" which Umno had faced every time there was a change in the top leadership.
"Most of the time, we managed to overcome such problems. That is why Umno is widely accepted until today, unlike other parties which tend to break up when they are faced with political turbulence," he added.
Mr Idris urged Umno members to evaluate the situation being faced by the party based on reality.
"The reality is that everyone is happy, but the perception that is being portrayed is that the country is in chaos."