Ahmad Zahid steps aside as UMNO President, but not quits

Zahid Hamidi, Pic: Yahoo News

KUALA LUMPUR: Responding to the pressures by members of UMNO, Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has decided to step aside as the president of the party on Tuesday evening (Dec.18).

He said he has handed over his duties as Umno president to prevent more party members from quitting the party.

 “I hope all polemic regarding the leadership will end and I want grassroots leader to focus on strengthening the party,” he said in a statement right after a dialogue session in Menara Dato’ Onn here.

“I hope that there will be no more move to quit the party by MPs and state assemblymen,” he added.

However, the Bagan Datuk MP insisted that he did not quit as party president.

Ahmad Zahid instead has entrusted the Deputy President, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan to carry the duties of the UMNO President.

The former Deputy Prime Minister also said, members at the grassroot levels hope the leaders of UMNO are united to “translate” the direction of UMNO that is at par with the new slogan “UMNO rises”.

He also stressed that UMNO can bounce and rise back provided unity is continuously strengthened alongside with oneness of thoughts in the UMNO team in empowering the party.          

“To strengthen the party, and in the interest of all, Members of Parliament and Assemblymen, necessary measures need to be taken,” he added in his statement after a dialogue with party members in Kuala Lumpur.

Ahmad Zahid also said, he had sensed that some UMNO leaders were feeling uneasy because they would be pressured, investigated and faced a lot of allegations like what he had gone through. 

Following the announcement by Ahmad Zahid, the Rembau MP, Khairy Jamaluddin  on Tuesday tweeted, “Did the right thing. Thank you, @Zahid_Hamid. (sic)”

 Ahmad Zahid recently has been slapped with 45 charges of money laundering involving RM72mil and criminal of trust, and accepting bribes involving RM42mil.He claimed trial to all the charges.

UMNO has been facing a decline in its elected representatives since the 14th General Election, when Barisan Nasional was voted out. Some 17 MPs and a number of assemblymen have left the party, citing a failure in UMNO leadership. 

The number of UMNO MPs dropped from 54 seats to 37 seats, following the decision of these leaders to jump ship.

 Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid said UMNO has filed a lawsuit against the parliamentarians who have left the party.

He said, they won on the backs of “hardworking UMNO members and machinery” and they should be grateful for their victory, not hopping parties for their personal interest.–Malaysia  World News

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