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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

BN handicapped at GE15 if Zahid leads, says Nazri

 

With Ahmad Zahid Hamidi facing 47 charges, some else should lead, says a former Umno supreme council member. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Barisan Nasional’s chances of winning the next general election will be greatly hampered so long as Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is head of the coalition and its lynchpin Umno, according to a former supreme council member.

Nazri Aziz, who has recently criticised Zahid’s leadership, said it was becoming increasingly clear that Zahid no longer had the backing nor the credibility to lead Umno and Barisan Nasional.

“The BN components do not appear to respect him (Zahid). Just look at last weekend’s MIC annual meeting where Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was invited to address delegates.

“If the Umno president and BN chairman is strong, no component party would think of inviting an outsider. This is really embarrassing.”

Nazri Aziz

Nazri said that Zahid, who faces trial on 47 charges of corruption, criminal breach of trust and money laundering, should step aside and allow someone else to lead Umno and BN.

“As long as he is there, Umno will not be seen as a clean party because of his trial.

“If Zahid takes leave, it will not lead to any problems over who should lead the party because we (Umno) just follow the hierarchy. Tok Mat (Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan) takes over.”

Nazri said he was not aligned to Mohamad nor any other Umno leader, though he believes that Mohamad, a former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar, has proven he is capable of steering the party.

“If there are warlords who do not agree, that is their problem because the right thing to do is to follow the hierarchy because that is decided by the grassroots during party elections.”

He said what was important was for Mohamad to provide “firm and decisive” leadership and implement reforms in Umno.

Jeniri Amir

Political analyst Jeniri Amir agreed that Zahid was a liability to Umno and BN because of his ongoing trial.

He said BN was in “pole position” to return to power because Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional had not performed, while it had a track record in running the country.

“But if Zahid is at the forefront, whether he is the prime minister candidate or even the leader of Umno and BN, you lose that advantage,” said Jeniri, a fellow with the National Council of Professors.

“If BN presents Zahid as its leader, voters will not believe that Umno and BN have learned from its mistakes of the past. They will not believe they have reformed or can reform.”

Wan Agyl Wan Hassan

Federal Territories Umno Youth information chief Wan Agyl Wan Hassan said the reality was that the party was in a dilemma.

“The grassroots believe the leadership cannot lead us to victory in GE15 and this is why there are calls for party elections.

“The other option is for the supreme council to empower another person to lead Umno. Someone accepted not only by party members but all Malaysians.”

Wan Agyl said the supreme council, Umno’s highest decision-making body, needed to weigh its options and make a decision soon. He said the supreme council must not be influenced by those seeking only to safeguard their own interests. - FMT

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