IPOH: A significant number of Umno members in Perak have been given the boot after campaigning for Opposition parties during GE15, says Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad.
The Perak Mentri Besar, who did not give a specific number, said most of them were referred to the party's disciplinary board and subsequently sacked.
Asked if the number expelled exceeded 50, he said "yes".
"From the Larut division itself, 17 members were fired. I don't deny it. (There were) a lot," he said at a press conference after opening the state-level International Women's Day celebration at Laman Seri Ridzuan here on Sunday (March 19).
The state Umno liaison chairman had been asked if action was taken against members who sabotaged its election campaign.
In his speech at the Lenggong division's annual general meeting on Saturday (March 18), Saarani said sabotage from within was among the factors that cost the party heavily in GE15.
Umno only won eight out of 37 state seats and two out of 13 parliamentary seats contested.
"The supreme council asked all divisions to send names to the (disciplinary) board.
"We cannot simply take action, there is a process and (we) also need witnesses," he said.
Saarani, who retained the Lenggong chairman's post uncontested, said those who were victorious in party elections should not sideline those who lost.
"They are still members. You are lucky to win, as only one (person can be) division chief.
"To those who lost, do not disappear, sulk or rebel – try again," he said.
On another matter, Saarani said there was no gender discrimination when appointing people to decision-making posts in Perak.
He said while the number of women in these important positions have increased, their appointments depended on vacancies and qualifications.
"We do not look at the percentage (of women holding important posts).
"It depends on the availability of any vacant posts or the qualifications of a candidate.
"If the candidate is a woman, so be it," he said, adding that it would not be fair to the men if only the gender is considered.
"Men and women are equally talented and we will give (the post) to those qualified to ensure there's no discrimination," he said.