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    Apr 15, 2015

    Winning support of Umno Youth crucial to Najib


    MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Najib Razak might not have, in the eyes of many, disproved all the charges hurled against him lately by the former premier Mahathir Mohamad, but to a sizeable number in the Umno Youth, he has already cleared the air.

    And winning the support of the youthful and radical wing of the ruling party is crucial for Mr Najib's political survival.

    "Now that the president has fully explained everything, we will relay all the information to the rakyat," The Star quoted Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin as saying, after a 90-minute meeting with Mr Najib on Monday.

    The meeting was for the Prime Minister, who is Umno president, to explain a range of issues that had put him in a bad light.

    The Star said yesterday that Mr Khairy suggested to Mr Najib that he continue to engage the people to explain issues of the day.

    On whether the wing's support for Mr Najib was genuine, Mr Khairy told the media that party members would not follow their leaders blindly.

    "If we do this, not only will this cause a leader to fall, but the whole Umno ship will sink," he said.

    Mr Khairy urged the Auditor-General to expedite the audit of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state investment fund, adding that action must be taken against those found to have abused or misappropriated money from it.

    Apart from the 1MDB issue, Mr Najib explained other matters at the meeting, including the purchase of new government jet, the case of murdered Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu and the crooked bridge that was supposed to have replaced the Causeway.

    Lately, Dr Mahathir has repeatedly targeted Mr Najib's leadership, accusing him of failing to dispel allegations over these issues, particularly 1MDB.

    In a video uploaded on the Apanama blog yesterday, the former prime minister fired another salvo, questioning the rationale behind the recent arrests of four editors and one top executive from The Edge Media Group, which owns news portal The Malaysian Insider (TMI).

    "When I heard of the arrests of these reporters for saying...something so-called seditious...I don't think that is the right way to use your power," TMI quoted Dr Mahathir as saying in the clip.

    "We don't want to become a police state," he added.

    The five were detained for a report published last month claiming that Malaysia's royalty had rejected a proposal to amend a federal law which would pave the way for Islamic law, or hudud, to be enforced in Kelantan.

    Meanwhile, as a precaution against terrorist attacks, Malaysian police have tightened security at their federal headquarters in Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur, and stations across the country, while patrols have been stepped up at armouries.

    The moves came after a man from Kelantan tried to force his way into an army camp in Gerik, Perak, early this month, but was stopped by sentries, reported The Star.

    The man made threats before driving away.

    The incident happened in the wake of 70 people, including armed forces personnel, being found by the police to have ties with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group in the Middle East.

    A day before the incident, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi warned that there were signs of police stations and military camps being targeted by ISIS militants hoping to obtain firearms.