UMNO not a racist party: Najib

MUAR - Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak reiterated that Umno was not a racist party and has never played the racial card.

He stressed that the Sept 16 gathering was never about race but to show the strength of Umno.

"Umno is not just strong in rural areas but also in urban areas," he said, adding that the gathering was peaceful.

Najib said that Umno respects the other races but would not accept if its leaders were insulted or the dignity of the Malays were threatened.

"We believe in Barisan Nasional's consensus of power sharing.

"We never asked shops to close or for Kuala Lumpur to be deserted on Sept 16.

"There were no posters to stoke racial tension on that day, no posters of a bloody keris or any incidents of people stomping the pictures of non-Malay leaders during the gathering," he said, adding that it was a gathering to show support for the Government.

He said that there were many estimates about the crowd from 35,000 to 200,000.

"I am not sure. Maybe many thousands," he said at the launch of the Muar Umno division headquarters here.

Najib also urged party members to refrain from attacking and finding fault with each other.

Citing an example, he said that people should not become those who korek kapal (puncture a ship) as this would lead to everyone sinking with the ship.

"We should instead be a kapal korek (sand dredger) which is helpful as it helps remove sand in a river," he said, referring to the allegations being levelled against him.

Najib reiterated that he understood the responsibilities of a leader and the struggles of the party.

He added that each leader would want to take the people and nation to a better place and not destroy everything which had been built.

Each prime minister or Umno president, he said, always strived to make the country better.

"Do not just harp on other people's mistakes.

"Previously street demonstrations were illegal but now you make appearances there.

"Previously you said not to work with foreign correspondents clubs but now you are doing the opposite," he said.