A member of Umno’s highest decision-making body has urged Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to step down as president, saying this is to ensure that the party does not suffer defeat in the 15th general election (GE15).
In a report by Utusan Malaysia, Umno Supreme Council man Zahidi Zainul Abidin cited Zahid’s multiple corruption charges, saying it would be difficult for the party to gain the support of the people in GE15.
“If he is a gentleman, with the spirit and a big heart, then he should resign,” Zahidi was quoted as saying.
“This would be better for Umno,” the deputy communications and multimedia minister added.
“In the present situation, many are confident in Umno which has become the people’s hope. But with the president embroiled in a court case, can Umno get the support of the people?”
Zahidi, the Padang Besar MP, said Zahid should follow the example of previous party leaders like Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik, Muhammad Muhd Taib and Khir Toyo who had stepped down from their positions after being charged in court.
The Umno Supreme Council will hold a meeting tonight to decide whether or not to withdraw from the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
Yesterday, Utusan Malaysia reported that Zahid had admitted to his party leaders that it was his voice in a recording of a phone conversation that exposed his cooperation with PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim.
It also said that Zahid had admitted to signing a statutory declaration in support of Anwar as prime minister.
When it was first reported by MalaysiaNow in April, Zahid had denied that it was him in the recording, saying that he would lodge a police report on the matter.
Anwar meanwhile described the audio recording as part of “sophisticated attempts” to defame him, and said he would let the police investigate.
Zahidi said he and a group of Umno MPs believed that the PN government would not collapse even if the Malay party withdraws its support.
“If we retract our support for PN, we will lose our positions and allocations as well as the states that are administered by Barisan Nasional,” he said in the report.