JOHOR BARU: Umno defectors should quit their role as MPs or assemblymen to pave the way for other members to represent the people, said Umno veteran Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad (pic).
Shahrir, who is Johor Baru Umno division chief, was referring to the wave of Umno members, including Mersing MP Datuk Seri Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad, who left the party recently.
He said those leaving Umno did not have the right to pressure the party to run it their way as they were the ones who had failed to live up to their own principles.
“They (Umno defectors) said that if Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who was elected to the post, does not step down, more would leave the party.
“Their request does not make any sense and if they want the best for the party, they should have stayed and led the way instead of hopping over to other parties,” Shahrir said at a press conference at the Johor Baru Umno division office yesterday.
He added that although the Johor Umno division did not vote for Ahmad Zahid to be Umno president, he still respected him as party president since he was elected.
“Johor Baru Umno did not vote for Dr Ahmad Zahid, but we respect his position as this is about principles and honour.
“Through my own observation, Dr Ahmad Zahid also listens to the party and when he suggests something for the party that does not gain support, he will respect the opinion,” he added.
Shahrir said some members had been in a comfortable position for so long that they had forgotten what the party stood for.
“They have only been representing the opposition bench for about seven months now and are unable to take it.
“What is the point of being in politics if your only motivation to contest is to win and sit on the government bench?” he added.
When asked if the fear of Umno being an illegal party like what happened in 1988 was valid reason for a politician to change sides, he said those were just helah (tricks) to hide the real intention of leaving the party.
“If Umno really gets declared illegal, we can regroup again.
“It is not a problem and it happened before in 1988,” Shahrir said, adding that the party was then revived as Umno Baru (New Umno).