KUALA LUMPUR: The views of grassroots members have to be taken into account when the Umno leadership chooses candidates for the general election, said supreme council member Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
The party could make better decisions when selecting its election candidates when grassroots views are considered, he said after opening the Bukit Bintang Umno annual delegates meeting at the Saloma Bistro here yesterday.
There has to be a balance between the right of the leadership (to choose candidates) and views from the grassroots, he added, when commenting on a motion by Kota Baru Umno that division delegates be allowed to nominate candidates for the election.
People join and leave the party as they wish. Sometimes, they do not want to support us (Umno) because they are angry at the branch or division leaders or the local village head. They easily lend their support to other parties.
For instance, during a delegates meeting in Parit, there were requests for the party leadership not to appoint outsiders. We cannot simply disregard their views, said Nazri, who came under criticism recently for the reported support of his Chenderoh division for vice-president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to be elevated to deputy Umno president.
I have already explained to Pak Lah (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) that my statement expressing support for Najib, who was opening my divisional delegates meeting, was not meant as a motion, he said.
In Kota Baru, Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Khalil Yaakob said Umno members must be able to resolve internal problems through discussions and not allow them to manifest.
Any bickering beyond their control should be referred to the partys top brass, he said after launching a state-level motivational programme for students at Pengkalan Chepa.
Khalil, who is also the Information Minister, was asked to comment on the reported statement by Kelantan Umno deputy head Zaid Ibrahim that a smear campaign against him by senior Umno leaders in Kelantan was stunting the partys efforts to capture the state from PAS.
In Kangar, Perlis Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the men in the party should emulate the political style of their women counterparts who talked less and were more involved in party activities.
He said based on branch-level meeting records, the women had better attendance compared to the men.
The women members emphasised more on productivity and less on politicking, he said after opening the Arau Wanita and Puteri Umno wings' conference at the industrial training institute here.
In Semporna, Sabah chief minister Datuk Musa Aman said the state Umno respects the decision by Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad to step down as Umno president and Prime Minister in October.
He said a resolution by Tawau Umno division urging Dr Mahathir to withdraw resignation stemmed from a personal view of division chief Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh.
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