PETALING JAYA: The jailing of former Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak will only drive the party machinery to redouble its efforts in preparing for the 15th General Election (GE15).
Although party members and the leadership were upset over the outcome of Najib’s SRC International trial, their fighting spirit was not dampened, said party supreme council member Datuk Arman Azha Abu Hanifah.
“It is important for us to double our preparations to win GE15 in a dominant manner,” he said yesterday.
Arman Azha said Umno would not be “buried underground” as the party would continue to strengthen itself at all levels.
“Najib was our former prime minister and made major contributions to the country. He was also with the party when we were in the Opposition.
“So he played his role and now we will try our best to support him,” said the senator.
On Tuesday, the Federal Court upheld Najib’s conviction for misappropriating SRC International funds amounting to RM42mil.
Umno Youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said he had to accept the court verdict with a heavy heart but added that the spirit of party members remained strong.
“We might feel we are losing now, but justice will always prevail. What is important now is that our struggle must continue, as Najib reminded us,” he added.
Another Umno Supreme Council member, Datuk Mohd Razlan Rafii, said Najib gave his all to the party and to the country.
Asked if Umno wanted an early general election, Mohd Razlan said yes, but added that it had nothing to do with the outcome of Najib’s trial.
“We have been making similar calls for a long time. It must be done by next year, and we must hold to our promise to give the mandate back to the people.
“Now that the situation has improved with the Covid-19 pandemic, there is no reason for us to delay it,” he added.
Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid also expressed his sympathy to Najib and his family.
“As a fellow party member, whatever happens, his contributions and services will always be remembered. We cannot deny that,” he said.
Party secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would deliver a special address to party grassroots leaders at Dewan Merdeka, World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur on Saturday following the Federal Court’s decision to uphold Najib’s conviction.
He said an official invitation would be issued soon.
“Standby, official invites will be out soon,” he said in a Twitter post yesterday.
The invitation is open to all Umno division committee leaders and those who are interested in attending.
It was unclear what the special address would be on, but it is believed to be on the party’s direction, Najib’s imprisonment, and the upcoming general election.
Ahmad Zahid had called for an early general election, warning that Barisan Nasional could lose if it was delayed much further.