KUWAIT CITY, 23 March 2009: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has called for a stop to the employment of dirty tactics, including circulating libellous text messages as well as defaming people, in the run-up to the Umno elections this week.
The Malaysian prime minister and Umno president said this should not be the way to defeat any candidate of the party elections.
“Those who have become victims of such tactics can report to the police for action to be taken,” he told Malaysian journalists covering his official visit to Kuwait, here last night.
Among those said to have become targets of such tactics is Wanita Umno chief Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz who had expressed disappointment with the widespread circulation of libellous SMS messages in the run-up to the wing’s elections on 25 March.
Rafidah was reported to have said that the SMS alleged that money politics had taken place, linking her with several of her supporters.
“These dirty tactics should be avoided. Defaming and slandering friends are not the way to garner votes and defeat any candidate in the (party) elections,” he said.
He said he felt that Umno members would make their choice based on how well they knew candidates, their capability to be leaders and the roles they had played over the last several years.
The Umno elections are to be held in conjunction with the five-day Umno General Assembly which begins tomorrow in Kuala Lumpur.
Said Abdullah: “I hope that when the time comes for voting, matters such as commotions, ridicule, slander, sending of libellous SMS messages and absurd talk would not be taken into account.
“What they should consider is whom they regarded as the best of the candidates and who could lead the party … who could be in the top party leadership.”
Abdullah said he believed that Umno delegates would not be influenced by money in arriving at their decisions.
“I know. I have been long in this party,” he said.
Abdullah was asked to comment on the statement by Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday which implied that the party constitution might be amended as one of several important strategies for Umno’s renewal and rehabilitation.
“It does not matter. It’s good. Many things have to be done for Umno. So long as what’s to be done is beneficial for the party. I believe all quarters will extend their support,” he said.
Najib said, among other things, that change must take place in Umno to erase the negative perception the people had of the party. — Bernama