KUALA LUMPUR: Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today took a swipe at those who had called on him to step down as president and for a re-election to be held.
In response to the calls, Zahid turned cheeky and agreed to re-elections to be held again — in 2021.
“Yes, re-elections can be held in 2021, when my term is over. ‘Yang nak gila talak ini pasal apa? (Why are you so hard up for the post of president?)
“When the time comes, you can contest again. By that time, the post will be vacant.
“Furthermore, it is not yet certain whether I will contest or not.
“It could be YB GST (referring to Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan), or Pasir Salak (Tajuddin Abdul Rahman),” he said during a discourse with party members on Tuesday night.
While Zahid did not give names, he is believed to be referring to Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin, who had recently joined a chorus of calls for Zahid to resign as Umno president.
Khairy lost to Zahid in the Umno presidential election in June.
Sabah Umno Youth had also 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.
Zahid said in the coming three years, he, along with other elected party leaders, should be given a chance to carry out their duties.
“Accept the fact that they have been elected. Do your job. ‘Jangan cucuk-cucuk dari bawah dan belakang’ (Don’t instigate from all corners),” he said.
The Bagan Datuk MP went on to state that there were no provisions in the party constitution that a re-election must be held. The president should be allowed to complete his term, which lasts three years, he added.
Zahid said there were also those who were of the view that an extraordinary general meeting needs to be called.
He pointed out that there were three clauses in the party constitution which allows for an EGM to be held.
“Firstly, the EGM can be called if the president calls for it. Secondly, if 50% of Umno members put it in writing and, thirdly, all divisions hold their delegates’ meeting and two-thirds of them vote for an EGM.
“Please read the party constitution, if you want to be president,” he said.
Zahid urged those in Umno not to be like crabs in a basket stepping over each other to get out of the basket.
He cautioned that in stepping over each other, not one crab can get out and all will die.
“I am a realist. Umno must be given a new lease of life. Do not leave it to the president alone to rebuild the party.
“We are all in this together. I am willing to sacrifice, to carry out changes in the interest of the party.
“To those who have been persuaded or threatened to jump, please come back.
“I am willing to sacrifice, but I will never resign,” he added.
Zahid subsequently announced that he would hand over his duties as president to his deputy, Mohamad Hasan.
‘We were treated like faeces’
Zahid also related how he and other senior Umno leaders had been treated like faeces by certain people in meetings which took place after the general election.
However, he made no mention of the people he met or the nature of the meetings which had taken place.
The people they met, Zahid said, imposed conditions which were impossible to fulfil. He also claimed they were treated “like the filthiest of faeces. The faeces of animals forbidden in Islam”.
“We were told that Umno must be disbanded, and its members must hop over to a new party.
“This means that Umno’s seven decades of history will be erased just like that because the people really hate Umno over its alleged corruption, theft and robbery.
“My stand then, while carrying out the duties of the president, was that I would not compromise. I will never hop over (to another party). Nor will I disband Umno, for the sake of religion, race and country.
“The price was too much to pay, not just for me, but also for other partners.
“My drive is this, that even if I am rejected, disgraced or insulted, but for Umno to be erased, this is not in my political dictionary,” he said, expressing gratitude to the grassroots members who have never wavered.