PETALING JAYA: Khairy Jamaluddin today threw support behind calls for Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to resign as the party president, as a rebellion gathers momentum with defections from elected representatives and key leaders.
The former Umno Youth chief agreed to a Twitter post calling for the Umno leadership to convene an extraordinary meeting to demand Zahid’s resignation and elect new leaders.
“Only Umno members can save Umno – PPBM, Anwar or PAS can’t save us,” said the Twitter post, in an apparent reference to speculation of top Umno leaders trying to form a new alliance.
“Agreed. Immediate party election,” Khairy said in his response.
Khairy lost to Zahid in the Umno presidential election in June.
Yesterday, Sabah Umno Youth issued a call for Zahid’s immediate resignation in the wake of a mass exit of leaders from the party’s chapter in the state.
Its vice-chief Ghazalie Ansing said Zahid no longer commanded respect within the party, accusing him of using Umno as “a shield to save himself”.
In October, Umno Youth told Zahid to go on leave pending the outcome of his corruption trial.
The former deputy prime minister faces 46 charges related to criminal breach of trust, money laundering and corruption, with the latest charge made just today.
Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said the wing was not asking Zahid to resign, only to go on leave “until everything is over”.
This came days after Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who heads the party’s council of advisers, said it was best for Zahid to either take leave or resign from his post as was the practice of previous Umno leaders who had been charged in court.