If UMNO President Najib Razak is to be believed, social media, which he described as "more dangerous than street demonstrations", is the new political battleground and all the 3 million UMNO members should fight their opponents on it as the party's survival depended on what was being said on social media
Image via Choo Choy May
Najib speaking at the Bandar Tun Razak Umno division meeting, 8 August 2015.
Speaking at the Bandar Tun Razak UMNO meeting, Najib said:
"It is not easy to threaten Umno’s influence through street demonstrations, but the party can easily be poisoned through social media. This is a new threat to our party and we need to tackle this. I want Umno members to be active on social media. They should have Facebook and Twitter accounts and go after those who attack the party. With three million members, we can defend the party and fight our enemies out there."
Adding that he was being constantly attacked by UMNO's enemies, the Prime Minister, who is facing strong criticism for his involvement in the 1MDB scandal, said it was being done to "weaken the party"
“If we want to weaken UMNO, attack the party president. That is why I was attacked... not because I am Najib but because I am the party president. So when I was the deputy president, I was not attacked,” he said.
He said since its establishment, UMNO has gone through various challenges, including leaders who left the party to set up other parties to contest against UMNO.
“They are looking for my faults. If there’s none, they will create and spread vicious allegations and slander. But what is important is for people in Umno to remain steadfast behind me and the party and not make the situation worse by believing and spreading lies. If we are strong and united, our enemies will not be able to destroy us,” he added.
- Image via THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Najib also hit out at division heads who criticised him over the political fund issue, adding that as UMNO President, his actions were made in the interest of the party and that he never once questioned UMNO's funding while he was party deputy president
“Whatever I do as Umno president, even if I receive funds, it is all for the party and not for my personal gains,” he said.
He cited as example divisions that were given monthly allocations to run their offices and said that under his leadership, Umno had carried out numerous CSR activities, including sponsoring people to perform pilgrimages and repair dilapidated houses.
“They don’t make noise when they get the money for their divisions. But when I’m attacked, they don’t do anything to defend the party president,” he said.
Najib's remarks come two weeks after he sacked Muhyiddin Yassin as his deputy prime minister for being critical of the 1MDB scandal and on the RM2.6 billion ringgit that Wall Street Journal had alleged were transferred into the PM’s private accounts.