KUALA LUMPUR: United Malays National Organization's (UMNO) new acting president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Monday (May 14) expressed confidence that the Barisan Nasional (BN) will bounce back from its defeat in last week's Malaysia general elections.
"I and my comrades will do all we can, with all our strength, spirit and soul to continue the struggle of UMNO," said Mr Zahid, in an attempt to shore up confidence in the 72-year-old party.
UMNO has 54 seats, the single largest bloc in parliament, while BN as a whole has 78.
The 14th general election last Wednesday dealt the coalition its biggest defeat in history, with 40 per cent of its seats wiped out.
Mr Najib has since resigned from the party and the BN coalition to take moral responsibility.
Mr Zahid also said that any negotiation - whether with the government or the opposition - will be done by BN, adding that anyone who attempts to switch sides will be automatically expelled from the party.
Defection is a key concern for the party, and youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said the priority now for UMNO is to preserve the numbers.
"There must a complete and systemic change in the party. It is not about changing personnel, but changing the way the party operates," said Mr Khairy.
UMNO, Mr Khairy added, must take collective responsibility for the colossal losses and come up with an action plan to fix its problems.
To achieve this, a task force will be set up.
In the meantime, Mr Khairy said, UMNO and BN must play its role as a strong and credible opposition, so that it can present itself as viable alternative for the people in the next election.
Mr Zahid noted that UMNO will have its internal election next month, beginning with the branch level, but that they have not decided whether the top posts will be contested in the party polls.