pic by BERNAMA
THOUGH Umno has been widely maligned in the past few years, and much of it are self-inflicted, there are those on the sidelines who wish it would turn the corner, the sooner the better.
Unfortunately, at every corner, it seems to sink lower and its current batch of leaders is viewed to be weak and self-indulgent, while those saddled with court cases are holding on to their positions, hoping that would somehow be their “get out of jail” card.
For a party in crisis, the Umno leadership is unimaginative and lacking credibility and whenever they open their mouth, they spew nonsensical views and ideas that insult the intelligence of any thinking person.
Take the recent “revelation” by Umno secretary general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan who claimed that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had asked Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to dissolve Umno and join Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
However, Ahmad further revealed that Ahmad Zahid had rejected Dr Mahathir’s request and 10 days later, he was charged in court.
All these occurred in 2018 after the May General Election and when Dr Mahathir was the prime minister (PM).
Ahmad Zahid too had, prior to Ahmad’s narrative, made similar claims that he is currently in trouble because he had refused to dissolve Umno. Ahmad Zahid faces more than 40 charges relating to abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering.
Ahmad, too, is facing a corruption case linked to the 1MDB scandal.
It may seem to be a cunning move on their part, as in one swipe, they had portrayed themselves to be victims of political persecutions and effectively claiming to be innocent.
If Dr Mahathir and Pakatan Harapan (PH) were still leading the government, some people may have bought it.
However, they are in the Opposition and the Government is led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, and Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Umno are part of it with a significant portion of the Cabinet seats being occupied by Umno leaders.
Furthermore, since the backdoor government was formed, the attorney general (AG) was replaced by someone chosen by the eighth PM.
Since this AG’s appointment, the nation’s top legal advisor has made several decisions to withdraw cases against some of Umno’s political leaders albeit drawing widespread criticisms and suspicions being cast that these decisions were made on political, and not legal, considerations.
In that context, now that the situation has flipped, shouldn’t Ahmad and Ahmad Zahid, and those who bought into the narrative that they are political victims, have to now accept that the current government, PM and AG are of the opinion that the cases against the duo have a basis to be pursued in the courts of law?
Ahmad and Ahmad Zahid, in attempting to play victim, should realise that except for some captive Umno audience, the rest of the nation want their cases to be heard in the courts so as to be able to form their opinions on whether they are guilty or otherwise.
Of course, the public is also aware of Umno’s recent general threats of withdrawing their support for the PN government and the stipulated August deadline.
Coming from a party of pedigree, making empty threats and not pursuing it immediately further erode the diminished stature it had suffered.
Worst, it is perceived that Ahmad Zahid and Ahmad are still hoping of using the party to bargain for the court cases.
Simply put, there are opinions that the Umno leaders may still, or are hoping, to be able to sway Muhyiddin, who seemed to have lost his majority before the emergency was proclaimed and had not been able to regain it despite crossovers from PKR.
While the duo are still trying to pin their misery on Dr Mahathir and the PH government but not yet prepared to pin it on the PN, their fellow Umno leaders, in particular the ones with positions in the administration, seem quite content to stay put.
That adds to Umno’s tragedy — while one faction is prepared to use the party to exonerate themselves, another is prepared to turn their back on the colleagues and preferring friends with benefits.
As if the dozens of cases staring at him are not sufficient, Murphy’s law too seems to stalk Ahmad Zahid, and the widely distributed purported telephone recording between him and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is the last thing both the former and Umno need at this stage.
Emerging from the recently concluded Umno general assembly when Ahmad Zahid at the closing delivered a fiery closing speech which included an affirmation of rejecting any cooperation with PH in particular the DAP and Anwar, the recording is very damning and puts him across as a liar and a hypocrite.
He had denied the authenticity of the recording, but his detractors in Umno are calling for him to resign.
For his main nemesis in Umno, Tan Sri Annuar Musa had insisted that the recording is authentic and this basically pushes Ahmad Zahid to a corner as to whether he would act against Annuar for perpetuating something false or suffer the suspicions that his denial was merely lip service.
The drama is panning out, with many from Umno hoping that is a conclusion. Even if he managed to sort things out, the wound from the in-fighting which had been allowed to fester for three years has become gangrenous. Yet, they herald the one who brought the disease.
And they continue blaming the doctor who had diagnosed it correctly.
Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.