Ahmad Zahid losing grip on Umno?

Umno would be well-advised to listen to what Tan Sri Annuar Musa has to say.

Unbelievable isn’t it? No journalist would have ever thought of writing that sentence but what the Federal Territories Minister revealed in his press conference this afternoon makes sense for the party’s survival.

Annuar’s “revelations” on how Umno can “heal itself” can also be interpreted as Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi not having an iron grip on the party.

How else would you explain Annuar openly coming out to “attack” the man who yesterday removed him as Barisan Nasional (BN) secretary-general?

Annuar, during a press conference this afternoon, repeatedly spoke about upholding the integrity and the principles of the party.

He also stressed: “Umno leaders must show class … as an old party, we should set an example to the other (political) parties.”

The Ketereh MP accepted his removal as BN secretary-general but was quick to add that Ahmad Zahid was guilty of a bigger crime – going against the party’s interest by agreeing to work with PKR and DAP in a plot to overthrow the government.

He held up a letter dated Oct 11, 2020, allegedly signed off by Ahmad Zahid among others, purportedly supporting PKR’s Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister in a bid to overthrow the government. Annuar also spoke about certain Umno leaders “meeting DAP quietly at night”, adding one such meeting took place on Oct 17, 2020 when the party’s official stance is not to work with them.

Asked if action should be taken against those who attempted to broker a deal with Anwar and DAP, Annuar replied sarcastically: “If there is no antara dua darjat (double standards), if the law is for all, then the answer is clear. Remember why (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin (Yassin) was sacked (from Umno)? It was merely due to a clash of opinions. Which is heavier?”

“That is my biggest issue with Ahmad Zahid. How can he make that decision (sign a letter supporting Anwar as prime minister) when the Supreme Council doesn’t know anything about it?” he asked.

He said it was confusing as what he had said in the past, including the “No AI (Anwar Ibrahim) No DAP” stance was following what was agreed upon by the party.

While accepting his removal, Annuar openly challenged Ahmad Zahid to “fire me again” as he said only the BN council had the authority to appoint and remove a secretary-general.

“I accept this dismissal but I will continue to fight towards an Umno with more dignity and integrity,” said Annuar in a thinly-veiled attack on the former deputy president and former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who both have pending court cases.

“My removal is only valid when it is made by BN. We can’t take any party (within BN) for granted. It is better I don’t work with Ahmad Zahid. Without being BN secretary-general, I’m free to have my stand.”

He hinted tonight’s Supreme Council meeting could be explosive as he was contacted by friends, council members and Cabinet colleagues backing him on issues raised about the way the party is being run.

“Perhaps we have been too polite in Umno. Maybe I am among the handful who speak out,” said Annuar.

“My fellow members share my sentiments. Ahmad Zahid must remember it is the Supreme Council which is the highest body in the party – not the president.
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“Any decision must go through the Supreme Council. They have integrity.”

Confusion continues to envelop Umno as besides Annuar, another senior Umno leader, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, said today the party should be clear in its direction and objectives in moving forward and to end the power struggle that is nauseating the people.

Sembrong MP Hishammuddin urged Umno not to “play politics” as the party should think about the people and not jostle for positions.

With two senior leaders questioning the party’s direction publically, Ahmad Zahid’s ego has been bruised.

If the Supreme Council believes that Umno should continue its relationship with Perikatan Nasional, then it remains to be seen if Ahmad Zahid will pack up and leave the top post of an already fractured party.

Or the Supreme Council could spring a surprise by deciding to pull Umno out of Perikatan Nasional which could trigger a general election.

But Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah is strongly against any polls as Malaysia continues to battle Covid-19. As of yesterday, there were 122,845 cases nationwide, including 2,027 new infections.