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KUCHING, May 12: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak annnounced he was stepping down as United Malays Nasional Organisation (Umno) president and Barisan National (BN) in a press conference this afternoon at Umno HQ at Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
In the press conference which was broadcast live over social media by various news organisations and held after an Umno supreme council meeting, Najib said taking into account the current situation, where Umno and BN had suffered heavy losses in the recently concluded 14th general election, he was resigning as Umno president and BN chairman with immediate effect.
“This is because of the principle that whoever is the leader of the party and if the party fails in election, the moral responsiblity must be accepted fully. I accept that principle and I am making this announcement to step down from both positions,” said Najib, surrounded by party leaders and supporters.
Party leaders also agreed that Umno deputy president and former Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would take over the party president’s responsibilities, because there is no corresponding act in the party’s constitution. Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein will take over the roles of party deputy president and deputy BN chairman.
Najib also disclosed that the women, youth and ‘puteri’ wings of the party fully supported these initiatives.
He advised all Umno members to give their support and have full confidence in the new leadership so they can face the current serious challenges in addition to taking positive steps to ensure they can win back public support for Umno and BN
He thanked all the members who had supported him and given their trust to him during his time as president and also when he held other posts.
He also emphasised on UMNO and BN’s contributions to the country’s development since it was founded.
He acknowledged the party’s sadness over the results of the general election but said they acepted as it was democratic, and hinted that this could be an opportunity for them to improve any weaknesses and shortfalls which needed to be addressed.
Nevertheless, there was still a hint of defiance as Najib alluded to the war on perception which he said was different from reality, but ‘the name of the political game is that whoever wins the perception war would control public support’.
He also gave his assurance that he would not leave Umno and would continue to support the party because there was no other party comparable to UMNO and BN.
“Insyallah, Umno will survive,” he said, concluding the press conference.
He left without taking questions from the media. — DayakDaily