KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 ― Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi urged party members to unite, asserting that “foreign enemies” were plotting to oust the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
Speaking at the opening of the Umno wings annual general assemblies here, he said the “foreign enemies” were those who had funded the recent street demonstrations aimed to overthrow a legitimately elected government.
He added that Umno must reclaim the discourse on democracy by educating the public that movements like Bersih 2.0 do not genuinely represent people’s interest.
“We in Umno have to help the rakyat redefine democracy… political democracy should be interpreted through elections. The party that won is the party that should govern the country, but that is not the case today. Democracy today is defined as demonstrations,” he said.
“Demonstrations today are more destructive and confrontational. What is worse is demonstrations are deemed as absolute freedom where it is completely fine to receive funding from any foreign organisations,” he added.
Zahid also said the overthrow of a government through street protests is a branch of liberalism.
Citing the “Arab Spring”, a series of violent uprisings that saw regime changes in the Middle East in the last decade, Zahid said the street protests that led to the ouster of many Arab governments only brought the people more pain and suffering.
He said Umno has the duty to prevent a similar occurrence here, and urged members to unite behind Prime Minister and party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“Therefore those in Umno and the people out there should not be easily swayed by this liberalist idea that I fear is slowly gripping this country. We have to be clear that democracy in this country should be a sense of freedom based on our Constitution and the rule of law.
“So I urge all party wings to unite behind our president and correct the situation,” he said.
Zahid also named the Open Society Foundation (OSF) founded by US business magnate George Soros as the enemy.
He claimed the group attempted to overthrow many governments in the past but did not give any examples.
Poll reform group Bersih 2.0 have admitted to have received a grant from OSF, prompting investigation from the authorities and the arrest of its co-chairman Maria Chin Abdullah.
Maria and Bersih 2.0 had repeatedly denied claims that the grant was meant to fund subversive activities, saying the money was instead used to campaign for free and fair elections.
In a warning to the group tonight, Zahid said as long he remains the home minister, he would strive to ensure any plot to oust the government will fail.
At the same time, he said party unity was crucial amid the constant attack launched against its president.
He added that party members must have faith in Umno’s struggle, and said the party has a proven track record in serving the people.