Monday, July 26, 2021

Pressure builds to drop Tajuddin as election director as Umno feels GE15 heat

Talk of an end to his role is fuelled by reported unhappiness over his criticism of other bureaus in the party and a failure to retain Umno's allies.

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One of Umno’s most vocal leaders could see himself sidelined amid growing disenchantment with his leadership style, as the party finds itself still far from election mode despite talk of snap polls when the current emergency rule ends.

MalaysiaNow has learnt that Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, the Pasir Salak MP who is currently the party’s election chief, could see himself being forced out of the post to which he was appointed late last year.

Sources within the party said there is unhappiness not only over his open criticism of other bureaus in the party but also over his failure to retain Umno’s allies.

“Efforts to convince PAS to remain with Muafakat Nasional are seen as having failed as it is more inclined to be with Bersatu and Perikatan Nasional (PN),” a senior Umno leader told MalaysiaNow in exchange for anonymity.

It is understood that Tajuddin’s days as Umno election chief are numbered.

Muafakat Nasional is the charter signed between Umno and PAS in 2019, when both were in the opposition. It marked a formal end to decades of hostility between the two largest Malay-based parties.

Several Umno leaders aligned with former president Najib Razak have urged PAS to prioritise its cooperation within the charter, but the Islamist party has repeatedly said its focus is on strengthening the PN government.

It is understood that Tajuddin’s days as Umno election chief are numbered.

“It is not impossible that a new post could be created to draw out the party’s future strategies, at the same time taking over Tajuddin’s decision-making powers,” the source told MalaysiaNow.

The development comes as the Umno Supreme Council meets again this afternoon to make a decision on its election planning.

When contacted, Tajuddin did not deny speculation on his replacement, and said he was prepared for any decision by the party.

“I have no problem, let the new appointee do the job. It is good to help with Umno’s election preparations. Right now, it is me alone, travelling the whole country using my own money,” Tajuddin told MalaysiaNow.

“I welcome the new person but do the job, don’t just hold the title.”

Tajuddin, who is seen as close to Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, was appointed as the party’s election director in November last year.

The two are among a group of Umno MPs including Najib who have stepped up criticism of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in recent months, with repeated threats to pull out of his ruling coalition.

The posts of election director and deputy director are traditionally held by the party president and his deputy.

There are now plans to appoint others from among the Supreme Council members.

“I know, many people are uneasy with my criticism.”

Tajuddin questioned those who are unhappy with his leadership.

“Have I done anything to harm Umno? Have I done anything to harm the president? If I were a problem to the president, he would not have appointed me as the election director,” he told MalaysiaNow, adding that calls for him to step down could be due to jealousy.

It is understood that during the last Supreme Council meeting, Tajuddin had openly reprimanded Umno’s information bureau about its work.

“I know, many people are uneasy with my criticism.”

He questioned how effective the information bureau had been in clearing disputes among members as well as in countering negative perceptions towards Umno.

He said the information bureau should work to promote a more positive image of Umno and Barisan Nasional, “not just beautiful charts and paperwork”.

He also said it appeared that many of the programmes by the party were overrated and a waste of energy, without any impact for the party.

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