: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today chided the grassroot leaders for being 'apple polishers' by only providing support reports with good status.
On the contrary, the UMNO vice president said the report from the 'war room' must be transparent, including stating that support given to the Barisan Nasional (BN) might be less than encouraging.
"The reports whenever we (leaders) go back to the constituency are all awesome...they are really apple polishers, because if they to the ground (support) they have to be responsible.
"Tell what is the truth, don't be an apple polisher, and if we have less support, we remedy the situation and not report back we have strong support," he said when opening the Tapah UMNO division delegates conference here today.
Ahmad Zahid cited as an example, the situation that happened to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during the 11th General Election (GE11) when he only obtained a majority vote of 261 from the Pekan parliamentary seat.
"The votes were only a little bit more because when we went back to the constituency and looked at the 'war room' report the support was rising. But in the GE12, it rose to 20,000 majority votes, GE13 over 22,000 majority votes," he said.
Ahmad Zahid also said national issues were not the main factor that led to votes in certain areas to decline but the services being performed by the machinery and leaders which is the yardstick.
He said the party machinery should always carry out its work and responsibility even though the top leader did not return to the constituency.
"The machinery should go down to correct the perceptions, don't only go down when the leader is around, when the leader is not around, the machinery also does not care.
"That is not the way the machinery works at the grassroot level, although the leader does not come back, the work has to be done as I have said many times, we are not a seasonal political party," he said.
Apart from that, Ahmad Zahid was optimistic that Chinese voters would return to support BN in the GE14 after they realised that they had been deceived by the opposition.
"We need to engage with non-governmental organisations and Chinese associations because they want to be close to us," he said.