KUALA LUMPUR: Contrary to other Umno leaders, Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah today said that there is no need for Datuk Seri Najib Razak to distance himself from the party.
The Gua Musang MP said although Najib holds no post in the party, he is still the MP for Pekan.
“I am not trying to defend anyone, but he is still an MP. He has the right to voice out his opinion and we cannot stop him from doing so,” he said when met at the Parliament lobby.
Tengku Razaleigh said that he is of the opinion that one is innocent until proven guilty.
“But whether to be active or not, to comment or not, it depends to an individual.”
Tengku Razaleigh said in Umno, there is no regulation that stops one from voicing out one’s opinion.
He was speaking in response to question on calls by certain Umno leaders for Najib to distance himself from the party, as the former premier is on trial.
Among those who had recently called for Najib to distance himself from Umno include Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin and Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani.
Asked on calls by Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz for Najib to follow in the footsteps of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who kept away from Umno after he handed the president post to his successors, Tengku Razaleigh said it depends on the individual.
He had said that it may not be common knowledge that there are MPs, who are still in Parliament, even after being charged in court. Thus, it is hard to measure and to comment if an individual charged in court should distance themselves from their party.
As to whether this could affect the image of the party, Tengku Razaleigh said it all boils down to the people’s perception.
Ultimately, he suggested, this responsibility should not be shouldered by a single person but everyone must work together to repair the party’s image. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd