Calls for Ahmad Zahid’s resignation grow louder

CALLS are mounting for Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s resignation as Umno president and Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman following the coalition’s dismal performance in the 15th General Election (GE15).

Several Umno leaders now want Ahmad Zahid to take responsibility for the coalition’s failure in the polls and to put the party’s interests first, as his predecessor Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak did in 2018.

Former National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique, Umno Youth vice-head Shahril Sufian Hamdan, Johor BN election operations director Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, Kulai BN deputy chairman Datuk Mohd Jafni Md Shukor and Umno Youth exco member Datuk Muhamad Muqharabbin Mokhtarrudin were among those who openly called the former deputy prime minister to step down honourably.

Halimah, in a statement on Instagram, said Umno can no longer bear the responsibilities of individuals in the party who only prioritise personal interests.

“Don’t smear the sanctity of Umno again with shallow, unfounded and unprincipled thoughts just for personal gain.

“Return to Umno’s original struggles. The party’s struggles and priorities should be focused on the grassroots who yearn for an institution capable of championing their plight,” she said.

Shahril, in a statement on Facebook, said Umno leaders must advocate the concept of collective responsibility in the face of failure, and Ahmad Zahid must set an example of this by leading the process of taking responsibility for the defeat.

He said the Umno president must also give all opportunities possible for other party leaders to make major decisions for Umno.

Onn Hafiz, who is also Johor Mentri Besar, said Ahmad Zahid must be magnanimous enough to vacate his position just like Najib.

“We all are aware that a Malay political tsunami has happened where the Malays have rejected Umno. Umno has fallen.

“Although it is a bitter pill to swallow, Umno leaders, including myself, need to again listen to the voices of the people, which has been translated through their votes in yesterday’s polls,” he said, adding that Umno and BN only won nine parliamentary seats in Johor and lost all the parliamentary seats contested in Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Melaka, Kelantan and Terengganu.

Mohd Jafni said in a media statement today that the coalition’s defeat in GE15 meant that BN and Umno are no longer the people’s choices.

He said  Ahmad Zahid’s resignation would mean early measures are being taken to revive Umno.

Muhamad Muqharabbin said the people’s dislike for the president had been shown through the votes.

“BN fell because of its arrogance by going solo and not wanting to change as well as not listening to the views of the grassroots and the people. This is actually its weakness,” he said.

As such, it is only appropriate that Ahmad Zahid step down and the party holds elections immediately to give the new Umno leadership the mandate to bring actual changes,” he said.

In yesterday’s GE15, BN performed dismally after winning just 30 out of the 178 parliamentary seats the coalition contested.

This is far worse compared to GE14 when it secured 54 parliamentary seats.

Meanwhile, several Umno Division chiefs in Johor have voiced their support for the statement by Onn Hafiz calling for Ahmad Zahid to take responsibility for the coalition’s dismal performance by resigning.

Pagoh Umno Division chief Ismail Mohamed said the Umno president should accept responsibility and resign from his post for the sake of the party’s future because the GE15 results clearly showed that the grassroots, especially youngsters, want changes in the party leadership.

Sekijang Umno Division chief Datuk Dr Haharum Mohamed concurred, saying that not only Ahmad Zahid, but the Umno Top 5 involved in the selection of BN candidates for the GE15 should also step down.

Segamat Division Umno chief Datuk Zahari Sarip, who supported the call by Onn Hafiz, said he was also waiting for Datuk Seri Hasni Mohammad, who is the Johor Umno chief and liaison committee chairman, to issue a statement on the matter. — BERNAMA