Sunday, January 19

Umno debunks Lajim’s statement, says support for BN getting stronger

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KOTA KINABALU: The claim by Umno defector Datuk Lajim Ukin that Barisan Nasional (BN) will not be able to reinstate its two-third majority in the coming general election is wrong.

In fact, judging from the response from the voters, BN is on track to regain its former dominance in the Dewan Rakyat, according to Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan.

The member of parliament for Pontian, Johor, said all BN needed to do was to recapture a few seats that had fallen to the opposition and as several representatives from the constituencies involved had already left their respective parties, the job would be even easier.

“Currently, we have 140 seats and all we need to do, which I am confident we can achieve, is to take back a few seats to make the numbers.

“If we can take five seats from PAS, five from DAP and 10 from PKR for instance, we will have 160 seats, which is already way more than two-thirds,” he said when at the official launching of the newly formed Sabah’s Children of Islam Welfare Association (PERKEBAS) here yesterday.

Ahmad, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, rejected Lajim’s remarks as mere theory from an “individual who was disloyal the party’s struggle” and did not reflect the sentiment among the people towards BN.

He added that Lajim’s exit from Umno and BN did not affect the coalition as it remained steadfast in its commitment to promote and safeguard the interest of the people.

The support for Umno in Sabah had grown even stronger with more and more supporters joining the party as registered members, he said.

He noted that Umno presently has about 3.5 million members nationwide, with more than 500,000 of them in Sabah, the highest compared to any other states in Malaysia. Sabah also holds the record for the branch and division with the highest number of members, he added.

Ahmad, who also witnessed the handing over of 340 new membership applications to Umno Kota Kinabalu division held in conjunction with the event, reminded party members to be sincere, committed and loyal to the party’s struggle.

In a press conference later, he called on all Umno divisions across the country to intensify members recruitment activities, in addition to opening voters registration centres in their respective areas.

He proposed that formal reception function be organized to welcome new members and as a gesture of appreciation for their commitment in joining the party’s struggle.

“This is also to show that Umno is a party that continues to have a place in the hearts of the people. Sometimes membership application forms piled up at the division office, instead of just processing and sending them to headquarters why not hold a reception function for the new members? It does not need to be a big function or only when somebody big or prominent join the party. Even in today’s ceremony, the applicants were all young people. I hope the other divisions will emulate this,” he said.

Also present was Kota Kinabalu Umno deputy chief Datuk Seruji Nawawi.

PERKEBAS is a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting unity and brotherhood among young Muslims, besides improving the livelihood and economy of the Muslim community. Formally incepted in November, the organization currently has about 500 members and is actively recruiting new members across the State.

Ahmad is the honorary patron for PERKEBAS.