Umno leaders under their captain Ahmad Zahid Hamidi appear to be reorganising their war generals following the move to sack Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman as a member of the party’s Supreme Council, analysts say.
A letter which went viral on social media yesterday said Tajuddin’s removal from the council was due to his appointment as Malaysia’s ambassador to Indonesia.
But political analyst Mazlan Ali said this might not be the only reason.
Speaking to MalaysiaNow, he gave the example of the late Jamaluddin Jarjis who had been maintained as a member of the Supreme Council even after his appointment as ambassador to the US in 2009.
“Zahid wants to demonstrate what happens to senior Umno leaders who are not in sync with his leadership,” Mazlan, of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, said.
“Those who don’t toe the line are axed.”
He said Tajuddin’s removal was also a warning to other senior leaders including Ketereh MP Annuar Musa and Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin.
But the move to drop Tajuddin was a bold one, he said, adding that it would have a lasting effect on the party’s politics.
According to the Umno constitution, the president is empowered to appoint a maximum of 13 members to the Supreme Council.
Kartini Aboo Talib of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said Tajuddin’s removal from the Supreme Council was a timely move on Umno’s part.
“He is seen as a troublemaker in Umno, from the LRT issue and Prasarana Malaysia to criticism over his appointment as Malaysia’s ambassador to Indonesia,” she said.
“He is also seen as out of step with the views of many Supreme Council members about a number of issues including the date of the election.”
Tajuddin and Umno deputy president Mohamad Hassan had previously argued over the date of the 15th general election.
Mazlan said Umno could be expected to make a “big political move” within the next one or two months.
“Will the prime minister be forced to dissolve Parliament? It’s not impossible,” he said.
“Anyone who crosses swords with the Umno general assembly and the Supreme Council could be subject to disciplinary action, even the prime minister, if he does not wish to hold an election.”
Talk of an election this year was recently fanned by announcements by some that they had been called to attend a course on being election officers organised by the Election Commission.
But Mazlan said Umno would face the wrath of the people if an election is held in the near future, as issues like the cost of living and the rising price of goods were still foremost on their minds.
Kartini meanwhile said that many expect GE15 to be held in September or October this year.
“Umno leaders want to hold it quickly because they feel that this will allow them to leverage the party’s success at the Melaka and Johor state elections,” she said.
“Pakatan Harapan wants it to be held early too because its leaders are looking to make a comeback from their fall two years ago.”
But in any event, she added, the real indicator of an election would be the dissolution of Parliament by the Cabinet with the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“As long as this does not happen, people can only speculate.”