Sign of the times: Dr Ahmad Zahid signing a plaque during the Pagoh Perdana Foundation launch at Pekembar, Pagoh. Looking on are Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin (right) and Pagoh Umno division acting chief Ismail Mohamed (left).
PAGOH: Umno members have been reminded to put their sentiments aside and to remain loyal to the party.
Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said they should put the party’s interest first and set aside their nostalgic feeling towards past leaders.
He said Umno had been through several dark phases and emerged stronger because members did not turn their back against the party, including during the most tumultuous period of 1988 and 1998.
In 1988 Umno was declared an unlawful society by the High Court after several members brought the party to court over allegations of members from unregistered branches taking part in the party election the year before.
In 1998, Umno was once again thrown into turmoil following the sacking of then deputy president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“I am sure that Umno will be able to face whatever problem now,” he said, referring to the sacking of party former deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who had helmed Pagoh Umno since 1984.
He added that each time Umno was faced with problems, it was able to bounce back.
Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is carrying the duty of deputy president, also commended the Pagoh division for practising “mature politics” and for sticking with Umno.
“This is called a political life cycle. It is dynamic and not static as there are ups and downs,” he said when opening the Pagoh Umno division meeting yesterday.
He also joked that he took a chance in coming to Pagoh.
When opening the Parit Sulong Umno division meeting in Batu Pahat, Dr Ahmad Zahid said the party was committed to seeing more woman candidates in the next general election.
“We should not only praise them for their hard work and dedication to the party, but our appreciation for their services must also be reflected by giving them a chance to contest,” he said.
He also assured Umno that the Parit Sulong parliamentary seat and the Seri Medan and Semerah state seats would not change hands in the next general election.
“No way we are letting other parties conquer our seats, not because we are racially biased but because we want to strengthen what we have and will not allow others to snatch it from us,” he added.
He added that not only was it Umno’s duty to retain seats but also to increase the number of seats that it holds.