Najib: It's time to strengthen unity, not dwell on 1MDB

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak.

MALACCA - Issues surrounding 1Malaysia Development Bhd do not spell the "end of the world" for Barisan Nasional and Umno.

Barisan chairman and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said everyone seemed to be focused on detrimental issues but it was time to strengthen unity and concentrate on the people's welfare.

"I will not be distracted by the issues, which were portrayed as if everything surrounding us is going to collapse," the Prime Minister said when opening the Kota Laksamana Umno annual general meeting here yesterday.

"I can't also be relinquishing my post just because of one individual. Putting food on the table and providing a better quality of life for the people is more important to me," he said.

Najib also said those who supported the party's struggles shouldn't do it for the "Najib factor" but for a stronger Umno. Backing the party should be their first priority, not idolising leaders, he added.

"So when deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said he is still loyal to the party, I accept him, wholeheartedly," he said.

In an impassioned speech, Najib also urged members not to be arrogant and aloof in perceiving the party to be invincible.

"Moderate thinking is necessary to face current challenges," he added.

Najib said he wished to see Umno as an inclusive party that fostered a brotherly spirit among Barisan component parties. He also said it took him 36 years to be a president through a democratic process.

"I changed the method of party presidency election, where I was elected by 160,000 Umno members. Compared to previously, only 63 divisions or 2,600 members could choose the president," he said.

"If I had intended to stay on as president forever, I wouldn't have made the amendments in the party's constitution."