With critics purged, is Zahid looking to retain Umno presidency?
More sackings can be expected as the party rids itself of those who do not toe the line. This has been taken as a warning to other Umno members critical of Zahid.
(The Vibes) – Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi looks set to retain his top position within the party, according to sources who expect him to defend the post uncontested in party polls that must be held by May next year.
They point to the “internal purge” the party is undertaking, as well as an expected amendment to its constitution to be in line with the anti-hopping law to remove members, even if they are elected lawmakers, who disobey party directives.
The party insiders say one obvious sign that Zahid will defend the president’s post, despite Barisan Nasional’s dismal performance in the 15th general election – and even with his baggage of 47 graft charges – is his appointment as deputy prime minister of the Pakatan Harapan-led unity government.
The senior position provides him the standing and means to secure his position further, they said.
His deputy, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, once touted to be a potential candidate for the president post, was also appointed as defence minister, another move party insiders said aims to placate the Rembau MP from having “any ideas of taking on Zahid”.
As such, it is also believed that the Umno deputy president’s post will be uncontested as further means for Zahid to secure Mohamad’s support.
Other senior Umno politicians such as Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan and Datuk Seri Shamsul Annuar Nasarah were appointed as deputy finance minister and deputy home minister respectively in what party sources see as another move to secure Zahid’s position, as they are also known to be his close allies.
“We have heard that it is very likely that the president’s post and the deputy president’s post will not be contested. This could be raised in the coming general assembly in January.
“The writing is on the wall already, as there is no one who can outdo Zahid’s camp in the coming party elections. Even if a “cai” (candidate list) is to be produced, there are no more heavyweights.
“And even if there is to be a supposed rebellion from the remaining old guards, they won’t have enough support from the division leaders. There is no upside in going against the current party leadership, at least for division leaders,” said a party insider on the condition of anonymity.
Unfortunately, this also means that political patronage still persists within Umno, the insider lamented.