Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is confident that only Umno can unite and champion the Malays in light of the party’s current situation.
He said he believed this was what the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, meant after he had an audience with the ruler at his official palace in Istana Bukit Serene in Johor Baru earlier today.
Zahid,who is also Umno vice-president, said Sultan Ibrahim voiced his concerns to him about the issue of Malay unity in the country.
“He also reminded me that Umno was born in Johor on May 11, 1946 in the state’s Istana Besar,” he revealed during his speech to officiate the Kota Tinggi Umno division meeting in Dewan Felda Lok Heng Timur here today.
Zahid also said he fully supports the Johor royal institution even though he hails from Perak.
Despite not being Johorean, the Bagan Datoh lawmaker said he attended every one of the state ruler’s Kembara Mahkota Johor (KMJ) event out of respect for Sultan Ibrahim.
Zahid said that the state ruler had also given him gifts such as motorcycles and a four-wheel drive in appreciation.
“But this doesn’t mean that I am close to the Sultan of Johor or I claim to be close to Tuanku.”
This was believed to be in reference to events about three weeks ago when former Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had an audience with the state ruler after he was dismissed from his post, due to the perception the former was close to the Johor ruler.
Present at the opening of the Kota Tinggi Umno division meeting was Johor Menteri Besar and Johor state Umno liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
Also in attendance was the division’s party chief Datuk Daeng Malek Daeng A. Rahman, divisional wing and movement leaders.
About 500 of the division’s delegates turned-up for the party’s division meeting that also had a Hari Raya reception at 2pm.
The 62-year-old seasoned politician also touched on the current issue of polemics that has affected the party and said that Umno needed to push for unity.
Zahid also reminded party members not to make decisions when in times of anger or sadness.
“I can say that all the decisions made during these time will not be rational decisions.”
He added it was party members who made party leaders in Umno.
“If we don’t have posts, please return to Umno and not destroy the party,” he said, which was believed to be alluding to Muhyiddin.
The veteran politician and Umno federal lawmaker was dismissed as the Deputy Prime Minister and also Education Minister during a Cabinet reshuffle on July 28.
However, Muhyiddin is still Umno’s number two.
Zahid also blamed the current problems facing Umno due to “batu apis”(instigators) among the party’s grassroots.
He also reminded party members not to fall for false allegations and lies that have gone viral through modern communication mediums.
“It is now at one’s fingertips. Gone are the days of coffee shop rumours and poison-pen letters.”