LAST_UPDATEWed, 18 Jul 2018 11pm

Zahid Will Stay With UMNO No Matter What The Election Outcome

KUALA LUMPUR: Win or lose Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will not abandon Umno.

Zahid who is the party’s presidential candidate has pledged to remain with the party even if he is defeated in the race next week.

He said he will continue to help the leaders in office by continuing to contribute ideas to strengthen the party.

“And if I win I will leave no man behind,” Zahid said referring to his contenders Gua Musang member of parliament Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and outgoing Umno Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin, among others.

“We need them to come together and strengthen Umno in the spirit of rejuvenating the party,” said Umno’s outgoing deputy president at a press conference here today.

He said leaders who failed in their bid to be elected should be made part of an advisory council to reinforce the party.

Zahid, however, said this would need the nod of Umno’s supreme council and an amendment to its constitution.

Meanwhile, on opening up the party to non-Malays, Zahid claimed that Khairy might very well do so.

“He may do it if he becomes the new Umno president.

“I would like to see whether he is successful, Datuk Onn Jaafar has tried to open Umno to al races.”

“History has proven how successful he was,” he said while referring to the statesman whose suggestion that the party be opened to all races were rejected by its members.

He was later forced to leave Umno, the party he had established and form Parti Negara .

On Tengku Razaleigh’s edge as veteran and a former contender for the post, he said each candidate had their strengths and shortcomings.

“We will see for ourselves on June 30 when we get the results. I hope that everyone will respect their contenders’ strengths and weaknesses,” he added.

Zahid also dismissed views of Khairy being a presidential favorite by saying it was merely perception.

He said he offered himself for the race as a form of continuity.

Zahid also said that he had offered Khairy the role of heading a taskforce to reinvent, revamp and rebrand BN in the next 30 days from last month’s Umno and BN supreme council meetings.

“So if changes are to be done it must be done collectively and be taken to the Umno annual general assembly and extraordinary general meetings where the delegates need to decide,” he added.

Asked about former Umno division leader Datuk Seri Khairudin Abu Hassan’s challenge for him to take an oath on the Quran, Zahid said:

“I don’t need to stoop to his level,” he said.

He accused Khairuddin of lying about him “begging” to meet with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Khairuddin, in response, challenged Zahid to “sumpah laknat” (swear that he is telling the truth, or face damnation) while holding up the Quran in a mosque.

On allegations that a Pulai Pemuda Umno exco had misused party funds, he said Umno needed an official report to be sent to the headquarters before its disciplinary board could investigate him.

He also reiterated that Umno has to be rid of all forms of money politics at each and every level.

This he said was to ensure that positions were won are based on credibility and not money.