KUALA LUMPUR: Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani has urged party leaders and members to close ranks and strengthen the party.
He said Umno, being the backbone of Barisan Nasional, could not afford to remain divided.
“We saw what happened when there was a ‘court cluster’, ‘Putrajaya cluster’ (and) a ‘PWTC cluster’,” said Johari, referring to factions of party leaders with issues, which led to the party’s poor performance in the 15th General Election.
Johari said infighting in the party leadership caused UMNO to win only 26 seats.
“It is illogical that a party of Umno’s size could lose seats to smaller parties. The party belongs to all its 3.5 million members, not to its leaders.
“We cannot have Umno leaders fighting among themselves. The people are watching us,” he told a Malay daily.
He said when leaders were attacked, it could lead to their supporters becoming demoralised, which can have a negative impact on the party and should be avoided.
“We must stay united and look after each other. Let’s resolve any unhappiness in the Supreme Council or at the party’s political bureau.”
Johari urged Umno to end to internal conflicts and focus on regaining lost seats and public support.
He said all party members must heed party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s call to “forgive, forget, and rebuild Umno”.
“Party elections are over. The time has come for us to unite under the current leadership.
“Each party leader has his and her strengths. To succeed, let us put aside our egos and combine our strengths,” he added.
Source : NST