PETALING JAYA: Speculation is rife that plans are being put in place to get Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and his predecessor, Najib Razak, out of the picture by August and to woo others under a new party leadership called Umno 3.0.
“Umno 3.0 will have a new leader and will work with PPBM and PAS,” a source close to the talks said, adding that calls for Zahid to step down are expected to get louder in the coming days, especially from Umno ministers.
Umno was known as Umno 2.0 after a split in the party in 1987.
The source said there are some party leaders “stubbornly loyal” to Zahid but “once the two (Zahid and Najib) can be removed, a new Umno can emerge stronger”.
He said Umno 3.0 will back Muhyiddin Yassin as the prime minister after the next general election (GE15) and will go all-out to win rural “true-blue” support as the biggest Malay party in the country.
However, another Umno insider aligned to Zahid’s camp said those supporting Umno 3.0 may also try to get rid of party deputy president Mohamad Hasan as he may be the next in line if Zahid is no longer president.
“They will try to get rid of him, too,” he said.
“Their ultimate move is to take control of Umno and to support PPBM. Is that what Umno wants?” he asked.
Zahid is involved in a new controversy over a viral audio recording purportedly between him and PKR president Anwar Ibrahim. Both men have denied having any conversation after Umno’s annual general assembly last month, with Zahid describing the recording as a malicious political ploy to bring down Umno.
Both Zahid and Najib are facing uncertainty in their political future.
Zahid is facing 47 counts of corruption and money laundering involving millions linked to his charitable foundation, Yayasan Akalbudi. The hearing is ongoing.
Najib is appealing against his 12-year jail sentence and RM210 million fine in the SRC International corruption case. In addition, he is facing a number of other charges in cases linked to 1MDB.
Earlier this week, he was served with a bankruptcy notice by the Inland Revenue Board over RM1.7 billion taxes that the agency said are in arrears from 2011 to 2017.
By : Minderjeet Kaur – FMT