Is UMNO ready to quit the unity government?

There is a realisation among some sections within UMNO that even if Najib is given a full pardon, there is nothing much he could do to re-invent UMNO. UMNO’s weakness is not related to the change or replacement of personalities but much more structural.

Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy, Focus Malaysia

UMNO which is a component of the Madani government is not happy that former prime minister (PM) Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who was its former president was not given a full pardon.

Instead, the Pardons Board gave a partial reduction of the sentence that was meted out by the judiciary earlier.

The present UMNO president and Deputy PM Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is under tremendous pressure from Najib’s supporters to seek full pardon for the former Pekan MP.

Chances are that there is a possibility that Najib might be a given a full pardon soon. UMNO members and supporters of Najib are unhappy that Zahid is not applying the full pressure on the unity government and particularly on Anwar for Najib’s release.

Some quarters within UMNO are talking about withdrawing from supporting the government. If UMNO withdraws its support, chances are that the government might collapse with the possibility of Perikatan Nasional (PN) forming the new government.

The question is whether the present leader Zahid has the courage to quit the government. Some sections within UMNO think that he has not done enough for the full pardon of Najib.

Without Najib, Zahid would not have risen up the ranks of UMNO. As an old friend of Anwar during the latter’s days in UMNO, the question is whether Zahid is loyal to Najib or Anwar.

UMNO quitting unity gov’t?

Zahid cannot cut himself from his former mentor Najib given the ground support for the latter. However, in facing political reality, Zahid seems quite beholden to Anwar, the man with power and influence.

How can Zahid forget Anwar for expediting through the office of the attorney-general the grant of discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) on the 47 corruption charges?

UMNO might have come in to be part of the Madani government but it was the prerogative of Anwar to appoint him as the DPM and other UMNO leaders as ministers.

Even without the backing of the Malay voters, UMNO has received a number of plum ministerial posts.

UMNO members might not be happy with Anwar or Zahid for not going for full pardon of Najib but I am not sure if the party is ready to quit the government. Its leaders do realise that outside the unity government, the party might be smothered by the PN political forces.

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