Zahid Hands over Powers to Deputy President

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Mohamad Hasan assuming duties of president.

  • Calls for no more crossovers by Umno MPs and assemblymen
  • Umno to demand large compensation from elected representatives who jumped ship
  • Zahid warns PPBM new recruits from Umno want to take over their party
  • Blasts critics, including KJ

Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi last night announced that his deputy Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan will be assuming the duties of the president in the wake of the crisis that has befallen the party.

“Based on the problems currently faced by the party, I have decided to entrust the deputy president (Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan) with the task of carrying out the duties of the president,” he said in a statement.

Lim Huey Teng/Malaysiakini

“I am aware of the concerns felt by some Umno leaders, who are worried that they would face pressure, investigations and accusations which I have faced,” said Zahid, who has been hit with a slew of graft charges.

“For the sake of Umno’s solidarity and in the interest of its leadership at all levels, especially members of parliament, state assemblymen and its divisions, measures to rectify the situation have to be taken immediately,” he said.

Zahid expressed hope that all polemics about the party leadership will be put to rest, adding that he wants the leadership at grassroots level to now focus on strengthening the party.

He added that the grassroots were hoping for Umno leaders to close ranks in the spirit of the party’s new slogan “Umno Bangkit” (Umno Rises Again).

He called for an end to any further defections by Umno MPs and assemblymen.

A number of Umno elected representatives from Sabah and the peninsula have ditched the party of late and have openly voiced their support for the Pakatan Harapan government.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid in a live streaming on Facebook Umno Online explained that there were five camps in Umno now, one of which was of hardcore supporters who did not want the Malay party to ally with any other party.

Of the other four, he said one wanted Umno to ally with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), another for the party to forge a collaboration with PKR, a pro-PAS camp and anti-DAP camp.

“In this respect, towards winning the 15th general election, I accede to the resolution adopted by the heads of Umno’s wings and divisional leaders at their retreat for Umno not to join any party.

“We must play the role of opposition, rebuild our strength and regain our solidarity. As for working with the DAP, we reject it 100%,” he said in the “Wacana U 3.0:Heart-to-Heart with the Umno President” programme held at Menara Dato Onn last night.

Meanwhile, at a dialogue session with Umno members at Menara Dato Onn, Zahid said Umno had filed a lawsuit against its elected representatives who had jumped ship.

These elected representatives, he said, had won their seats under Umno and the Barisan Nasional banner, and not on their own accord.

“They won thanks to the hard work of Umno members and the party machinery. They should be grateful for their victory instead of jumping ship for the sake of their own interests,” he said.

Umno, he said, filed a writ of summons on Dec 14 to demand compensation from the MPs, and would be claiming for a large sum from them.

He said Umno’s legal suit would not only be limited to the Election Offences Act 1954, and that it would exhaust all possible means to claim the money.

“What they owe to Umno and its machinery must be repaid,” he said.

Zahid also lashed out at his critics, including former rival for the party’s top post, Khairy Jamaluddin, for demanding his resignation and calling for an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) over an exodus of party members.

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He reminded fractious members not to behave “like crabs in a basket”, pulling each other down and stepping on one another in an effort to escape Umno. In fact, Zahid warned them that they will never escape the “basket” and will instead end up being “cooked” if they do not check themselves.

He also said that those who have left Umno would not be welcomed back, and voiced his concern that those who have abandoned the party may also “set their new homes ablaze.”

“I would like to warn PPBM to be careful with your new recruits. These guys want to take over, and will bring in their people to take over your party,” he said.

Zahid also explained that an EGM could only be called under specific conditions and that there is no provision to organise a re-election for the presidential post.

“There is no clause in the Umno constitution that allows for re-election. The term must be completed, in this case, three years. There are clauses for an EGM, not a re-election.

“The first clause in the constitution for an EGM (to be held) is if the president calls for it.

“The second is if 50 per cent of the Supreme Council (request) for it in writing.

“Finally, if all divisions hold a conference and two-thirds of the representatives (express a desire for) an EGM, (then it can be held).

“If someone wants to become president, he should read the constitution first,” said Zahid, broadly hinting at Khairy.

Meanwhile, Umno Youth chief Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki has thanked Zahid for listening to the grassroots and handing over his duties to Mohammad Hasan.

He also called on party members to stay focused on Umno’s reform agenda.

In a statement on late Tuesday, Asyraf added that the people are looking forward to seeing Umno transform in a rational manner.