Kadir Jasin wants Hishammuddin and Khairy to take over Umno

(FMT) – Veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin believes that former Umno Youth chiefs Hishammuddin Hussein and Khairy Jamaluddin could be the answer to the party’s leadership conundrum, especially with the perceived absence of a “clear authority” in the party.

Kadir, who is Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s media adviser, said the rise of Hishammuddin and, “to a lesser degree, Khairy”, is an exciting development.

“Bringing Umno back to its original moderate stance is the key to its survival. In the current form, it is in danger of being overwhelmed by its ‘ummah’ collaborator, PAS.

“Personally, I believe these two moderate Malays could be the answer to Umno’s leadership conundrum,” he wrote in his blog.

PAS and Umno had in September formalised its political collaboration.

Kadir said that people like Hishammuddin and Khairy were “out of place” in the alliance between the two largest Malay parties, while others in Umno were not comfortable with the party working with PAS.

He said that Barisan Nasional, of which Umno is a component, was weakened after several of its leaders including former president Najib Razak and his successor, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, were charged with corruption.

Hishammuddin Hussein and Khairy Jamaluddin are ‘out of place’ in the Umno-PAS alliance, says A Kadir Jasin.

However, he noted that the softening of the attitude towards Najib and his “cohorts”, partly due to the slow progress of their criminal trials, has emboldened some Umno leaders.

These leaders, he said, may not necessarily be on Najib’s or Zahid’s side and may want to rid Umno of them.

“In the absence of clear stewardship and with the current Umno leadership line-up being seen as a throwback of the Najib’s era, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has emerged as a de facto leader,” he said.

He said the former Umno vice-president’s words were being taken more seriously by party members and the public than those of Najib and Zahid.

Kadir also commented on recent speculation that Hishammuddin, a former defence minister, was working with several Pakatan Harapan leaders to keep Mahathir in office, an allegation Hishammuddin denies.

He said former domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism minister Hamzah Zainuddin, who had joined PPBM early this year, was one of the key players of the recent Malay Dignity Congress.

And when Hishammuddin’s name was linked to Hamzah and the congress, it gave birth to the theory that the two were working to bring “Umno closer to Dr Mahathir, and this is then linked to the PH succession plan”.

“But I think people like Hishammuddin and Khairy are more important to the survival of Umno than to the PH succession plan. Left to the current leadership, Umno will be fighting an uphill battle to stay alive.”

Under the agreement by PH, Mahathir will hand over the reins to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim at an unspecified date before the next general election.