PETALING JAYA: Taking “full responsibility” for Umno’s poor showing in the six state elections, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) has pledged to improve the party’s fortunes.
However, the party president stopped short of saying if that meant he would relinquish his position.
“I am aware of such calls (for him to step down). What I can pledge is that I, with the help of the party’s leadership, will do more to regain the people’s confidence.
“We will scrutinise our approach and strategies. We will adopt new ones, so we can win over the hearts and minds of voters again,” he told The Star.
There have been calls for Ahmad Zahid to resign as party president since Umno’s disastrous showing in Saturday’s six state polls when it won only 19 of the 108 seats it contested.
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It lost all the seats it contested in Terengganu and Kedah, won only two in Penang and Selangor, and one in Kelantan, although it fared better in Negri Sembilan with 14 seats.
Ahmad Zahid said he was aware of those in the party who wanted him to take responsibility by leaving his position.
“This is not the first time an Umno president has been pressured to step down.
“It has happened before, including to Pak Lah (Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) and also to Datuk Seri Najib (Razak), when election results did not favour us,” he pointed out.
Abdullah stepped down as prime minister and Umno president in 2009, a year after the 12th general election, where Barisan Nasional had a poor showing.
In 2018, Najib resigned as Umno president after Barisan lost in the general election.
“While I take responsibility for the outcome of the elections, as (Datuk Seri) Johari (Abdul Ghani) pointed out, it should be the collective responsibility of Umno leadership,” he said.
Johari, one of Umno’s three vice-presidents, has said that all Umno leaders must shoulder the responsibility for Barisan’s dismal performance.
Umno was the only Barisan party that took part in the six state polls.
Ahmad Zahid said one of the issues that needed to be addressed was the party’s cooperation with DAP in the unity government.
“We did several sessions to explain this at the divisional level. Perhaps, the message did not reach the grassroots or maybe it needs to be further explained at that level,” he said.
He added that because of this, there were Umno members who were still confused over the cooperation.
This, he said, might have affected the party in the polls.