Former chief justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad has warned Umno supporters against embracing scandal-tainted leaders in the wake of the party’s victory in the Melaka election.
Hamid, who retired as chief justice in 2008 after more than 50 years of service in the judiciary, criticised Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and supporters who had shouted “Long Live Bossku” to celebrate the party’s victory last Saturday.
The term “Bossku” is a reference to Najib Razak as part of his image makeover after his fall from power in 2018 and the subsequent corruption charges slapped against him.
“It is counter-productive. We must think about the consequences before doing something, and not according to emotions,” Hamid wrote in an analysis penned on the newly concluded election.
Barisan Nasional dominated by Umno won 21 of the 28 seats in the election.
Hamid warned Umno of liabilities in its ranks, adding that the party must carry out reforms which include purging leaders such as Zahid, who is also facing multiple corruption charges.
“The Malays still want Umno but they want Umno to change.
“To change, Zahid needs to step down or be removed as Umno president. The same goes for Umno leaders who are a liability to the party,” he added.
He said the Malays support Umno because they are prepared to close an eye to the party’s “dark history” in the hope of seeing it cleansed of corruption and power abuse.
“The most important lesson for Umno is that it must realise that the Malays have given it another chance.
“Its leaders and members should not be arrogant and repeat the cancerous practice of money politics.”
Hamid said the election showed that the Malays not only reject Pakatan Harapan, but are also fed up with its chairman Anwar Ibrahim.
“It would be good for him to forget his ambition to become prime minister and retire from politics,” he said.