KUALA LUMPUR: Three years after losing Putrajaya in the 14th general election (GE14), Umno is in desperate need of change.
This change, however, must come from the very top, says National Professors Council chairman Professor Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, who believes it is high time Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi relinquishes his post as Umno president.
Dr Shamsul Amri said the situation in Umno has become toxic.
“Zahid is the problem. Until today there are still factions, dissatisfactions and conflicting views among Umno members and leaders.
“The only time Umno was in good condition (post-GE14) was when (Umno deputy president) Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan took over Zahid’s duties as acting president. null
“At a time when Umno thought all was lost, Mat Hasan brought victory to the party after winning one by-election after another after GE14.
“This happened because Zahid wasn’t in the picture,” he said.
After a number of Umno elected representatives started exiting the party, Zahid went on garden leave on Dec 18, 2018, in an apparent move to prevent an exodus.
Yesterday, Zahid managed to rouse the support of the Umno Supreme Council to back his move to withdraw the party’s support for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
However, it is understood that Zahid does not yet have majority control over Umno’s 38 MPs and ministers, many of whom are aligned to party vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and ex-vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
Matters were also complicated further for Umno when Ismail Sabri and Hishammuddin were yesterday announced as the new deputy prime minister and senior minister, respectively.
As of now, the situation remains uncertain over whether Umno MPs and ministers will abide by Zahid’s instruction.
Shamsul, meanwhile, said Zahid’s presence in Umno will further harm the country’s largest Malay-based party, adding that becoming the next prime minister should be the last thing on Zahid’s mind.
Aside from retracting Umno’s support for PN on Wednesday, Zahid also urged Muhyiddin to step down and make way for a new prime minister.
“I hope he is not thinking about nominating himself as the new prime minister because cracks within Umno will widen if Zahid insists on holding the top post,” said Shamsul.
Talk is also rife that former prime minister and ex-Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak is planning on making a comeback for Putrajaya’s top office.
“If Zahid widens the crack, Najib will shatter everything in Umno if he becomes the prime minister again.
“Umno should be led by its two leaders who are already holding senior posts in the party, which are Ismail Sabri and Hishammuddin.
“Umno must change. Move on from such leaders and save your party,” Shamsul said.
By : Arfa Yunus – NST