Un­di­vided loy­alty to party

Umno info chief be­lieves lead­ers will not suc­ceed with­out mem­bers’ sup­port

New Straits Times - - Opinion - adie.zulke­fli@nst.com.my The writer is Kedah NST bureau chief

OVER the week­end, the usu­ally tran­quil Jer­lun, dot­ted by padi fields, jet­ties and tra­di­tional vil­lages, came alive.

For two days, the con­voy led by Umno in­for­ma­tion chief Tan Sri An­nuar Musa was seen trav­el­ling to vil­lages as part of Umno’s “Je­la­jah Jali­nan Mesra” road­show.

Kedah was the des­ti­na­tion for the third series of Umno in­for­ma­tion bureau’s road­show, which be­gan on Fri­day, be­fore the team pro­ceeded to Perlis.

Clad in baju Me­layu and

songkok, An­nuar strolled the vil­lages, try­ing to pen­e­trate the strong­hold of for­mer party com­rade Datuk Seri Mukhriz Ma­hathir. He was warmly re­ceived by the vil­lagers and the vet­eran politi­cian min­gled freely with the lo­cal folk.

An­nuar played his cards well by ad­dress­ing the crowds in mea­sured tones at each meet-and­greet ses­sion. He knew well that di­rectly at­tack­ing Mukhriz and his fa­ther, Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad, would be an “overkill”. It may hand sym­pa­thy votes to the two, who have since formed Parti Pribumi Ber­satu Malaysia (PPBM).

Sev­eral of the com­mu­nity halls where An­nuar held the mee­tand-greet ses­sions had plates bear­ing Mukhriz’s name as the lat­ter had opened those places dur­ing his stint as Jer­lun mem­ber of par­lia­ment and short-lived ten­ure as men­teri be­sar of Kedah.

An­nuar fo­cused on ad­dress­ing bread-and-but­ter is­sues raised by vil­lagers in­stead of talk­ing pol­i­tics.

At a ce­ramah in Padang Sera, An­nuar, who is also Ke­lan­tan’s Ketereh MP, shared his ex­pe­ri­ence of serv­ing as a cabi­net min­is­ter twice un­der Dr Ma­hathir’s 22-year pre­mier­ship.

He told the crowd how he had idolised the Kedah-born leader since his uni­ver­sity days and joined pol­i­tics upon grad­u­at­ing when Dr Ma­hathir was the prime min­is­ter.

An­nuar re­lated how he had de­fended Dr Ma­hathir in nu­mer­ous crises in Umno back then.

“When the party was split into two camps — when Tun (Dr Ma­hathir) was chal­lenged by Tengku Raza­leigh Hamzah for the Umno pres­i­dent’s post — I stood firm be­hind Tun.

“I faced crit­ics, and threats, from my own peo­ple in Ke­lan­tan, who backed Ku Li (Tengku Raza­leigh). It was hard, but I sup­ported Tun be­cause of my un­di­vided loy­alty to the Umno pres­i­dent.”

An­nuar said he was do­ing the same for cur­rent Umno pres­i­dent and prime min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak.

“The mo­ment Tun left the party and joined hands with the op­po­si­tion, in par­tic­u­lar DAP, he is no longer the same Tun whom I had known for decades.

“Lead­ers come and go, but the party re­mains. We must al­ways be loyal to the party be­cause it is the party that makes a leader great; no one can achieve re­mark­able suc­cess with­out mem­bers’ sup­port.”

An­nuar sent a clear sig­nal to the crowd that they had to choose be­tween Umno, the party that had been cham­pi­oning the Malays and Is­lamic cause, or their sen­ti­men­tal at­tach­ment to Dr Ma­hathir and Mukhriz.

He said the 14th Gen­eral Elec­tion (GE14) would be a show­down be­tween “pro-rakyat BN and pro-DAP op­po­si­tion”, cau­tion­ing the crowd on the risks of elect­ing a gov­ern­ment con­trolled by the op­po­si­tion.

He con­cluded his speech with a touch­ing mes­sage. He said he was sad­dened that Dr Ma­hathir and Mukhriz were be­ing ma­nip­u­lated by DAP to fur­ther split the Malays.

“I know that Tun still loves Umno and I pray that one day, he will re­turn to the party,” he said.

An­nuar also made clear Na­jib’s wish for Umno and Barisan Na­sional to re­tain Jer­lun, and Kedah at large.

Umno and BN lost Kedah to Pas-led Pakatan Rakyat in 2008.

As such, An­nuar re­minded the state, divi­sion and branch lead­er­ship to en­gage the peo­ple at the grass­roots to ad­dress is­sues and re­solve them.

With the clock tick­ing be­fore Par­lia­ment is dis­solved to pave way for the GE14, which is pre­dicted to be held some time this year, Jer­lun Umno and Kedah Umno will have to work harder to de­fend their fortress.

Failing which, Jer­lun risks be­com­ing the Per­matang Pauh of Kedah.

Fac­ing a bat­tle with for­mer com­rades is trick­ier than deal­ing with “just” en­e­mies.

Umno in­for­ma­tion chief Tan Sri An­nuar Musa

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