Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki today called for the immediate removal of "traitors" or members who put themselves above the party before they become a "cancer".
In his speech at the 2022 Umno Youth wing assembly, he voiced disappointment with an Umno candidates at the recent general election whom he said had decided to be a "hero" by insulting the party while on the campaign trail.
Without naming specific individuals, he said such acts had affected Umno's credibility, compounding the party's poor performance at the Nov 19, 2022 polls.
"It was touted that a vote for him would mean a vote to restore a misguided and corrupt Umno," he said.
"As if he was the only pure one, perfect and the best at everything."
Former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin had said during his campaign for the Sungai Buloh seat that he had a "mission" to cleanse the name of Umno and Barisan Nasional, to make it the party of choice in fighting for the Malay cause.
His remarks became ammunition for other parties, including Pakatan Harapan, and were taken to mean that Umno was a "dirty" party.
Speaking today, Asyraf also attributed Umno's downfall to "wolves in sheep's clothing" who campaigned by condemning the party and president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
"We never imagined that leaders who had been living in luxury for decades on the sweat and tears of party members would choose to discredit the party and its leadership, just because they could not be candidates," he said.
He added that such acts had caused support to shift away from Umno, given the infighting among the party leaders.
"How can we assure anyone of stability if the top leaders are at war?
"The reality is that in 2018, we lost because of slander. In 2022, we lost because we were divided."