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After the handover

  • The handover of duties by Ahmad Zahid has at least relieved part of the pressure, so that Umno can take a breather now. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

Sin Chew Daily

Even though Ahmad Zahid has "handed over his duties", he is still the Umno president.

Everyone knows that once the handover is complete, making a comeback is never as easy as it looks.

A president without the powers and duties is like a king in exile, a toothless tiger that can't do anything.

He has delegated his presidential duties to his deputy Mohamad Hasan without setting a time frame or conditions. All the powers in his hand are like a bird set free. Gone forever!

Unless he can relieve himself of all the charges within a short time, has his name cleared and wins the trust of his party again, such possibility may still exist.

But again this possibility is extremely slim.

He is now facing a total of 46 corruption charges, more on the way, including vote-buying in party elections. These court cases have already made him a lame duck president.

When he was charged in the court, Umno Youth wanted him to go on leave. VP Khaled Nordin was on the same side as the Youth.

Nevertheless, Zahid has the support of the other two VPs -- Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Mahadzir Khalid -- as well as most supreme council members.

Mohamad Hasan initially wanted him to go on leave, but later changed his attitude as he held back his next move.

The situation today is much worse. From the near collapse of Sabah Umno to more exits from Umno MPs on the peninsula, the party's elected reps in the Parliament has plummeted from 54 to only 37.

After this, Ahmad Zahid's attitude hardened, arguing that there was no reason for him to step down. And even anyone wanted him to leave, a general assembly had to be called, and an enormous impeachment mechanism had to be initiated.

The fact is, if the president stays put, more reps will leave, and Umno is poised to fall.

Up till this point the party leadership can no longer sit on the fence and do nothing

From what we understand, one of the VPs wrote to Ahmad Zahid, tabulating the reasons he must leave. From Mohamad Hasan down, almost everyone agrees he has to go.

But, will the Umno crisis be defused following the handover of duties?

No way. The crisis will stay after Mohamad Hasan takes over.

Hasan's influences and authority are mostly confined to Negeri Sembilan, hardly beyond the state. He has not performed particularly well since becoming the party's Number Two.

Unless the appeal is won, he still has a by-election war to fight in Rantau

That said, the handover of duties by Ahmad Zahid has at least relieved part of the pressure, so that Umno can take a breather now.

As a matter of fact, Umno's exodus comes from both within and without the party.

The external pull factor comes mainly from Mahathir and Daim Zainuddin.

The Mahathir-Zahid relationship has gone beyond repair, especially after Zahid shows an inclination to work with Anwar Ibrahim.

That makes him an uncompromising enemy of Mahathir.

If he continues to lead Umno, Mahathir is not going to give Umno a chance.

Internally, Zahid faces the pressure from Hishammuddin and Khairy.

Umno can momentarily breathe a sigh of relief after Mahathir has achieved his stage one objective of taking down Zahid, while Hisham and Khairy will apply the brake and observe how things go from here.

As for those prepared to leave the party, most of them will put their plans on hold instead of acting on the spur of the moment.


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