KUALA LUMPUR: Candidate for Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has pledged to remain with the party regardless of the outcome of next week’s polls.
Even if he were to lose, he said he would help by contributing ideas to whoever the top leaders were so that they could strengthen the party.
“And if I win, I will leave no man (the other candidates vying for the president’s post) behind.
“We need them to come together and strengthen Umno with the agenda to rejuvenate the party,” he told a press conference yesterday.
Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is assuming the duties of Umno president, also proposed that those who did not make the cut to be part of an advisory council to revamp the party.
The proposal is pending the approval from the Umno supreme council members as well as delegates of the annual assembly.
Dr Ahmad Zahid will face four other rivals for the party presidency – Kelantan prince Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, outgoing Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, Bandar Tun Razak committee member Mohamed Iqbal Maricair and Iskandar Puteri member Mohd Yusof Musa @ Jamaluddin.
Asked about Tengku Razaleigh, Dr Ahmad Zahid merely said every candidate had his own strengths and weaknesses.
“We will look at the results on June 30,” he said.
On comments that Khairy might win due to his youth, Dr Ahmad Zahid said that this was merely a perception.
“What I would like to portray is continuity. I am providing the continuity of leadership because I have been given the trust to conduct the duties of the Umno president.
“As such, my offer to contest for the president’s post is a form of continuity,” he said.
Asked to comment on allegations that an Umno Youth exco member had resorted to money politics in order to maintain his post, Dr Ahmad Zahid said an official report should be sent to the headquarters so that an investigation could be carried out by the party’s disciplinary board.
He reiterated that the culture of money politics should be eradicated 100%.
“Any post contested, from the lowest to the highest ones, has to maintain zero money politics so that these posts are only held by those who have credibility,” he said.
Dr Ahmad Zahid also said he would like to see how Khairy’s proposal to open up Umno’s membership to non-Malays would shape out.
“I would like to see if he can translate it into action.
“(Umno founder) Datuk Onn Jaafar tried to do so and what happened to him? History has told us about it,” he said.
While the senior party leaders during Onn’s tenure were agreeable to it, the other leaders and party members felt it was too radical.