August 14, 2023
KUALA LUMPUR – There are growing calls within Umno for Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to resign as party president and take responsibility for its disastrous showing in Saturday’s state elections.
Leading the pack is former Terengganu mentri besar Tan Sri Idris Jusoh, who said Umno was wiped out in all seats across the state.
“Umno lost 100% in Terengganu. Ahmad Zahid should resign,” he posted on Facebook yesterday.
Former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim also said Umno’s dismal electoral performance reflects Ahmad Zahid’s unpopularity as party president and also members’ rejection of the cooperation with DAP and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“Why is that so? It’s a long story … for now, suffice for me to say that the country perhaps is ready to think about workable alternatives to the political alliances we currently have,” said Zaid.
On Saturday, Umno failed to defend the 10 state seats it won in Terengganu in 2018, including seats held by former mentris besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Said (Kijal) and Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman (Seberang Takir).
While Umno lost all seats in Terengganu, it only won one in Kelantan, two in Penang, two in Selangor, and 14 in Negri Sembilan.
Federal Territories Umno Youth chief Datuk Aliff Firdaus said Ahmad Zahid should take responsibility for the party’s poor performance in the six state elections.
He said there should be an election for the party president and deputy president posts, as the two top positions were won uncontested in the party polls this year.
Aliff also said that reconciling with sacked or suspended Umno members such as Khairy Jamaluddin, Shahril Hamdan and Tan Sri Noh Omar was crucial.
However, Umno Youth permanent chairman Wan Agyl Wan Hassan said Ahmad Zahid should not be solely blamed.
“We should sit down and identify the issues faced by Umno in this new political landscape.
“We failed to put out a narrative convincing people regarding the cooperation between Umno and DAP,” said Wan Agyl.
Umno supreme council member Isham Jalil said DAP remains a sensitive subject with the Umno grassroots.
“If we force our grassroots to vote for DAP, they will protest and it is likely that they will abstain from voting. Or worse, they could vote for Perikatan Nasional. This is what happened in the six states,” he said.
According to Isham, many Perikatan candidates who are former PKR leaders have garnered increased votes compared with 2018.
“This means that not just PKR supporters are backing them, but also Umno members.
“To chase 500 DAP votes, we lost 5,000 Malay votes in the process. If we lose our grassroots, the party will be dead,” he added.
Isham also said Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s presence in the previous election campaigns is an advantage to Umno due to the former premier’s popularity.
“I’ve also proposed to the government to allow house arrest for Najib while he is going through the pardon process, retrial, and among other others,” added Isham.