Stop infighting or risk losing, BN leaders told

By V. Shankar Ganesh, Minderjeet Kaur and G. Surach, NST

SHAH ALAM: Barisan Nasional leaders in Selangor have been urged to sign a pledge that they will not be involved in any internal fights or between component parties.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the leaders should also declare that they would not sabotage BN candidates if they were not chosen to contest in the coming elections.

“Are those who have already tailored their bush jackets willing to support another candidate if they are not selected themselves? If they are willing to do that, then we can win,” he said when opening the one-day Selangor BN convention at the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Polytechnic, here, yesterday.

He said infighting had been costly for the state BN.

“If we were not betrayed by our own members, we would not have lost.”

Calling on the state BN to also focus on youth and first-time voters, he said: “We must be seen as a progressive party of the future and ensure that our image and approach is cool so that these ‘bros’ will support us.”

Najib said BN leaders must help everyone, regardless of race or colour and should not be only looking after their own communities.

The key for BN to wrestle back Selangor was by showing the people that it was honest, sincere and committed to helping everyone, he added.

“If someone needs help, we should not ask his race or see his skin colour. We must help and BN leaders should take the lead in doing this.

“If there is a traditional kampung with dilapidated houses, estates with no clean water supply, educated Chinese children from poor families, we come forth and fight for them.”

In a strongly-worded speech to some 3,000 members from various state divisions of components parties, Najib also warned members to stop giving misleading reports on the situation in their constituencies, adding that such reports had led to its unexpected 2008 defeat.

“Don’t syok sendiri., I have been in politics for 35 years. I know the game. I don’t use reports like these, that say 300 people attended our programme so we have succeeded. No way.

“You are fooling yourselves if the 300 are division leaders and hardcore supporters. We don’t need output, we need outcome. It’s the effectiveness of the programme that matters. If the 300 people had opposed us previously, then it’s worth it.

“The problem with BN is that we think we are strong. If the reports were right, we would not have lost in Selangor, we could have taken remedial actions. If an area is black, say its black and not grey or white.”

Present at the convention were People’s Progressive Party president Datuk M. Kayveas, state Gerakan chief A. Kohilan Pillay, MIC president Datuk G. Palanivel, state MCA chief Datuk Donald Lim, state BN deputy liaision chief Datuk Seri Noh Omar, and BN secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

Najib said it seemed that leaders in Selangor had not woken up to the fact that they were not in power any more, as they still had the Federal Government to give them what they asked for.

“As the opposition, we must be sharper. Don’t just rely on the Federal Government, the Information Department, Special Affairs Department and Kemas. What’s wrong with us?”

Later, at the closing of the event, those present read out a pledge to be united and support all winnable candidates chosen by BN leadership for the next general election.

Meanwhile, Bernama reports that Najib also stressed that the decision to abolish the Internal Security Act was made by the BN government.

As such, he said, other parties should not claim credit that his announcement to abolish the ISA was due to their championing for it.