PETALING JAYA: Umno will not automatically be restored to its former glory simply by having Ahmad Zahid Hamidi step down as party president, says former Supreme Council member Tajuddin Abdul Rahman.
He said what Umno needs is to correct its direction first, comparing the party to a “sick person with various chronic diseases who needs a specialist’s attention”.
Tajuddin, who was suspended from Umno for six years for openly criticising Zahid, said the party must return to its core mission of uplifting the economic, educational and developmental status of the Malay community.
“The issue with Zahid is just one aspect (of Umno’s problems). If Zahid is gone, do you think Umno will automatically recover? Though it doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be held responsible for Umno’s poor performance (in the state elections), he must take responsibility,” the former Pasir Salak MP told FMT.
Calls for Zahid to resign have grown louder following Umno’s poor performance at the polls, where it only won 19 of the 108 seats it contested.
In Terengganu and Kedah, all Umno candidates were defeated, including three former menteris besar – Ahmad Said, Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman and Mahdzir Khalid.
Under Zahid’s leadership, Umno also put up its worst performance in a general election, winning only 26 parliamentary seats in the 15th general election (GE15) last November.
Tajuddin claimed that there were certain Umno leaders prioritising their individual interests in the party’s cooperation with Pakatan Harapan, especially DAP, in the government.
This meant that they were sidelining “the Malay struggle” for the sake of their own interests, he said.
He also said he will organise a “Melayu Bangkit” gathering at Pasir Salak on Aug 30, open to all political leaders and parties sympathetic to the Malay political struggle.
“We invite everyone, even Tun (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) can come,” he said.
Five years ago, Tajuddin initiated a similar effort with the support of PAS and Umno to protest against the attempted ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
This eventually culminated in the formation of Muafakat Nasional, though the pact between Umno and PAS fell apart before GE15.