A group of Umno grassroot members have issued the party an ultimatum – help former president Najib Razak, currently in jail for corruption, or they will not help with election campaigns for the coming state assembly elections.
An Umno grassroots leader who spoke on condition of anonymity said the only reason he and his peers are still with the party is in hope that Najib would be released.
“We want him (Najib) to come out and help this party return to its glory days. We know the current leadership won’t be able to do that and the only man who could save this party is Najib,” he said.
He said the grassroot members are demanding that the party help Najib with his trial on charges relating to the 1MDB financial scandal.
However, the grassroots do not see anyone making an effort to help Najib and they have vowed to “teach the party a lesson in the upcoming polls”, the party source said.
“We will wait and see until the state assemblies are dissolved, and if no effort is made to help Najib, we will not campaign for the party.”
The former prime minister faces 25 charges of abuse of power and money laundering over alleged 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion deposited into his accounts with AmBank between February 2011 and December 2014.
Another grassroots leader from Johor said that while they had nothing against the current president, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, they felt that “Najib is a better leader.”
“The current leadership is more focused on themselves and not the principles of the party unlike Najib who took care of everyone.”
He added that Najib, who has been nicknamed “Bossku”, is someone who is very much loved by grassroot members.
“They were much happier when Najib was around because he would constantly go to the ground and meet us but now the grassroots and top leadership are like strangers.”
Najib was convicted in July 2020 on charges of abuse of power, money laundering and criminal breach of trust over SRC funds amounting to RM42 million. He was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fined RM210 million.
He began serving his prison term in August 2022. Moves to seek a royal pardon, supported by Umno, were initiated in April this year.
Selangor, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Terengganu, Kedah and Kelantan will hold elections later this year.
Source : FMT