BAGAN DATUK: UMNO president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the party is becoming stronger despite various criticisms thrown by certain parties during its early involvement in the Unity Government.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that UMNO’s membership is increasing each month, with none of its over 21,000 branches dissolved so far.

“In terms of membership, it continues to grow even though we have conducted ‘cleansing’. For example, in Sabah, I have been informed that there are between 2,500 and 5,000 applications (to join UMNO) each month.

“Not a single one of those over 21,000 branches has been dissolved, in fact, every branch has an increase in members,“ he told reporters after launching the Bagan Datuk UMNO division meeting at Bagan Datuk UMNO Complex here today.

As a party that has existed for 78 years, he said the party is poised to reclaim its position as the primary party, aiming for a rise in the parliamentary seats it secures in the upcoming general election (GE), surpassing the current count of 26 seats.

“Since the general election will take place three and a half years from now, let us organise the party machinery and strengthen unity among members at all levels so that UMNO’s strength can be rebuilt,“ he said.

Asked on the Kuala Kubu Baharu (KKB) by-election yesterday, Ahmad Zahid, who is also Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, said there was an increase in Malay votes, which showed the maturity of the community in making choices.

“The voters have matured, and there is an increase in Malay votes, which is a positive development. Despite being plagued by UMDAP sentiments, they accept the fact that the Unity Government is far better for political stability in the country,“ he said.

Pang Sock Tao who contested on the Pakatan Harapan (PH) ticket representing the Unity Government won with a majority of 3,869 votes, defeating her three challengers Khairul Azhari Saut (Perikatan Nasional), Nyau Ke Xin (independent) and Hafizah Zainuddin (Parti Rakyat Malaysia).