Saying Umno in crisis, Shahidan calls for party polls

(FMT) – Shahidan Kassim, who was replaced as Perlis Umno leader today, has called for party elections to be held by the end of June as scheduled, stating that it is needed to prevent a leadership crisis.

He said an election is needed to maintain the party’s unity.

“The problem now is that a leadership crisis has happened in Umno,” he said at a press conference this evening.

“The best way (to end it) is for Umno to have elections according to its constitution at the end of June. This cannot be postponed any longer.

“The party needs strength and unity – not division. There is no organisation which is disunited and also successful.”

Shahidan’s dismissal as Perlis Umno chief comes a week after he had urged former prime minister Najib Razak not to be critical of the Perikatan Nasional-led government and to offer positive advice.

It also comes a day before Umno’s Supreme Council meeting tomorrow, where the party elections and its decision to withdraw support from PN are on the agenda.

It is expected the meeting will also decide whether to postpone the party elections.

Shahidan said he has yet to receive confirmation from Umno of his removal as Perlis leader. He said he was informed of the party action through media reports.

He accepted the decision as being the prerogative of party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi but was checking with Umno secretary-general (Ahmad Maslan) on the legitimacy of the press release announcing the move.

“I am someone who has a lot of respect for the president, but it seems that I’m not trusted any more. It’s all right. That’s not a problem,” he said.

He also said he was clarifying with Ahmad whether he would be able to attend tomorrow’s Supreme Council meeting as he is not an elected member of the council. He was previously able to attend as a state Umno chief.

Shahidan also dealt with the perception that he was a Bersatu supporter, saying his support for the party was only natural considering Umno’s decision to work with PN until the next general election.

“People say I am a Bersatu agent. Why am I accused as such?” he said.

“Bersatu is a PN component (party). The party’s decision was to support PN until the next general election, and that is what I am doing. I am the Perikatan Nasional Backbenchers Club chairman and I cooperate with all PN parties.”