Ali Rustam advises members to discuss party matters behind closed doors

Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam has urged members to discuss party matters behind closed doors to safeguard the party’s dignity. 

He said the remarks by Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad on the position of Perlis Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim and weaknesses in the state Umno leadership could give rise to speculation. 

“It’s inappropriate to make such remarks openly. Matters concerning the party should be discussed behind closed doors,” he told reporters. 

Radzi said there was a need for a leadership change in Perlis Umno, including replacing Shahidan. 

Mohd Ali said everyone should refrain from issuing statements in a similar vein now that the general election was just around the corner. 

In Kota Kinabalu, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he would discuss the matter with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. 

“We do not want to discuss this issue publicly as it has big implications,” he said. 

Umno supreme council member Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Perlis Umno leaders should patch up their differences professionally without outside interference. 

“As a supreme council member, it wouldn’t be nice for me to comment on this but I personally feel that the rift should be resolved behind closed doors rather than bickering openly with each other,” he said. 

“I’m not taking sides here. But in my opinion, it would be better for them to seek a compromise as the most important thing now is to ensure a Barisan Nasional victory in the elections,” he said. 

Supreme council member Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said Perlis Umno leaders must find a formula to heal the rift. 

“I don’t want to interfere but efforts must be taken to strengthen the party, not individuals.  

“I don’t think the people are interested in knowing about leadership squabbles because as leaders, we should be resolving problems faced by the people,” he said. 

Kangar Umno deputy chief Datuk Hashim Suboh brushed off suggestions of disunity among the divisions. – Bernama