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8:00pm 29/06/2022
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GE15 anytime now?
By:Kuik Cheng Kang / Sin Chew Daily

Umno unanimously adopted a motion in its May 15 special general assembly to amend party constitution to allow the supreme council to postpone the party election supposed to be held before November 30 this year, to six months after the next general election, which is what the party’s leadership has wanted.

The ROS has been sluggish in replying whether it agrees to this, causing much anxiety for party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Ahmad Zahid first removed Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, now leaning towards PM Ismail Sabri, from the party’s supreme council.

The purpose is obvious: if the PM, who is also Umno’s vice president, is not going to dissolve the parliament very soon, expect more to come…

Political observers opine that in the worst case scenario, Ahmad Zahid might kick Ismail out of the party, although this may fatally rip up Umno.

According to a source, Umno’s May 15 special general assembly did not fully comply with the regulations, and any resolution passed in that assembly will therefore not be accepted, unless of course the ROS keeps an eye shut.

Zahid et al have pinned their hopes on a cabinet reshuffle by the PM to replace the home affairs minister overseeing the ROS with someone from Umno. Unfortunately, this has not yet happened to this day, and Bersatu’s Hamzah Zainudin is still very much helming the home ministry.

PM Ismail still has not reshuffled his cabinet because he is himself thrown into a quandary, and mishandling of this issue will trigger an immediate collapse of his government.

Other than the pressure from within Umno, the PM is also being pressurized by Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, who wants him to replace Zuraida Kamaruddin, the plantation industries and commodities minister who has quit Bersatu, and put someone from the party in this post.

It is also believed that Muhyiddin will not be happy to surrender the home affairs portfolio to Umno.

Although it is the prime minister’s prerogative to reshuffle the cabinet, a source close to Bersatu told Sin Chew Daily the party had always believed that Ismail got to become PM because of Bersatu’s support. In other words, Ismail must discuss every major decision with Bersatu beforehand, because he is not 100% Umno or BN prime minister!

The source also said Ismail and Muhyiddin had reached a consensus to consult each other before the dissolution of the parliament.

In the worst case scenario, Ahmad Zahid might kick Ismail out of the party, although this may fatally rip up Umno.

From what we have learned, the PM has been privately meeting Umno ministers and deputy ministers of late to find out what they think about dissolving the parliament.

It is said that with the notable exceptions of Shahidan Kassim and Annuar Musa, most of the Umno ministers and deputy ministers feel that GE15 must be held latest by this October, because the effects of global inflation will fully flare up at the end of this year, and Malaysia is not going to be spared.

While officiating the BN Youth Job Fair last Friday, Ahmad Zahid once again openly urged the PM to dissolve the parliament without further ado because the inflation problem will only get worse by the day.

After that evening’s supreme council meeting, Ahmad Zahid issued a statement urging Umno election machinery at all levels to work with other BN component parties to put election preparation at the highest level.

The ball is now in Ismail’s court. He is now carefully evaluating how to make the best decision for the country, party, and himself.

Expect very swift political developments in the days ahead, and the ROS decision will have a huge role to play!

It is said that the ROS will only announce its decision after July 31. An announcement to illegitimize the special general assembly now or soon will only hasten the 15th general election.

A source close to Umno told Sin Chew Daily if the ROS were to rule that the special general assembly was illegal, Ahmad Zahid would strive to get the parliament dissolved in August so that the GE can be held in September.

Among the things he can do is to convene a supreme council meeting to announce Umno’s withdrawal from the current government. Any leader defying the party decision will be sacked from the party, or have his or her membership frozen, including the PM and cabinet ministers.

The source also said that if things have developed to this stage, those slapped with disciplinary actions will not get to contest in the coming party elections.

Besides the May assembly, Umno had in its March 19 general assembly resolved to postpone the party elections to within six months after GE15.

In other words, even if the legitimacy of the special general assembly is challenged, the party’s highest decision remains much the same: party elections after GE, which must be obeyed by all, including the PM.

Tajuddin Abdul Rahman hit back at the party president, urging him to step down and make way for Ismail, taking the party’s power struggle to the fore.

In the end, the eventuality could also be that the party must hold its election before GE15, meaning all party leaders must face the party election first.

The source said there are still witnesses yet to be summoned in Ahmad Zahid’s court cases, and a verdict is unlikely before the end of this year.

In view of this, if the party elections are to predate the court verdict, Ahmad Zahid is expected to defend his post, while Ismail Sabri is slated to vie for the top party post with fellow VP Mahdzir Khalid as running mate.

Hishammuddin Hussein, who did not run in the last party election, is still undecided whether to contest the presidency this time round. If he decides not to do so, he will definitely not team up with Ahmad Zahid but run for deputy presidency himself instead.

Consequently, the deputy presidency is set to witness an intense multi-cornered fight, according to the source, not to forget the incumbent Mohamad Hasan who has yet to decide whether to vie for the party’s top post.

While the aggressive infighting within Umno has become an unstoppable development, the innocent people of Malaysia will take the brunt of a sinister political climate exacerbated by an inflationary crisis of global proportions.

What the country needs most at this very moment is political stability that will allow the government to take us through the prevailing economic hardships.

If politicians on both sides of the divide are genuinely caring for the people, they should put their personal interests aside and sit down together to hammer out some effective solutions that will save the rakyat and the country’s economy.

Alternatively, hold a snap election and get a strong government installed as soon as possible so that the victors can focus on what needs to be done to resolve the people’s woes as well as the country’s financial predicament, in the absence of any distraction.

With public expenditures rising steadily and new revenue sources nowhere to be seen, higher government subsidies and allowances have become a toxic burden to the country.

We need to improve the people’s productivity as well as the country’s global competitiveness before we are overtaken by more and more of our Asean neighbors.

Malaysians deserve far better lives than this, not falling victim to the greed of unscrupulous politicians!

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umno
GE15
KUIK CHENG KANG
Ahmad Zahid

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