PUTRAJAYA, Aug 26 — Those holding positions of power in Umno will not be there forever, but party members must always remain loyal even when the leadership changes, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said tonight.
The deputy prime minister told Putrajaya Umno delegates that disagreements within the party were not unusual amid a widening rift within the ruling Malay party over Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s sudden removal from Cabinet late last month.
“All positions are temporary… even though you have served for 40 years, do not let one rainy day cloud a year of sunny days.
“We in Umno have to be focused on the continuation or our movement, that one position which we hold on to will not last forever,” Ahmad Zahid said to cheers and loud applause from the Umno division delegates.
DPM Zahid said that it was not unusual for “dynamic” parties like Umno to have problems, and pointed out than even Islamist party PAS was undergoing similar issues.
“Leaders may come and go but loyalty if members to Umno must remain no matter what.
“Our leaders are now being tested, Allah has brought down this challenge to test us, and now our president is being tested,” Ahmad Zahid said, referring to Umno president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
In a sudden Cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, Ahmad Zahid replaced Muhyiddin as deputy prime minister.
Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, who is an Umno vice-president, was also dropped as rural and regional development minister.
Both Muhyiddin and Shafie had been openly critical of the government’s handling of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state-owned fund with a huge debt burden of RM42 billion that is being investigated over allegations of corruption.
Their unceremonious removal sent shockwaves through Putrajaya and fuelled talk that the men were removed as punishment for their critical views of Najib and the 1MDB controversy.