Politics

Umno members want leadership to quickly stop more departures

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR – September 19, 2018: Concerned with the fate of their party following the exit of two former ministers in the past 24 hours, several grassroots Umno members want their leaders to act and try to stop the exodus but no one has offered any practical way how this can be done.

They are of the view that the departure of Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anifah Aman will only create unrest among party members, especially because of the defeat of Barisan Nasional in the general elections on May 9.

“We’re left in the dark. Tok Pa (Mustapa) and Anifah’s exit caught most of us by surprise. The party president (Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) needs to act fast, otherwise many more will desert the party,” said Abdul Majid Ahmadiah from Kuala Ketil, Kedah.

While Mustapa said his exit was due to the party’s shift in ideology, Anifah has yet to air his reasons. It is believed that Mustapa was against Umno’s recent decision to cooperate with PAS.

“I’m also not convinced that a PAS-Umno cooperation is good for the party but what’s done is done. The president now needs to plan on how to convince us to remain loyal to the party, especially the less knowledgeable members,” said Shahila Zahari of Kubu Gajah, Perak.

Speculation is now rife that at least 18 more Umno MPs are going to quit.

“I felt down when good people like Tok Pa and Anifah decided to leave. Tok Pa has served Umno for 40 years through it’s ups and downs. What made him leave? I think that should be a cause for concern,” said Zahudi Shaari of Tampin.

Following the duo’s exit, Umno now has 51 Parliamentary seats. The other Umno parliamentarian who quit was former Puteri chief Datuk Mas Ermieyati Shamsuddin.

Some Umno leaders have aired their opinions on the decision by Tok Pa and Anifa, with former Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin blaming Zahid.

“Now, we have lost a leading light of our party. A brilliant and good man. This is on you, Mr. President,” read Khairy’s tweet yesterday after Mustapa’s resignation.

Khairy’s successor, Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, however has taken a different stance, saying that he, while disappointed, respected Tok Pa’s decision.

“He is my mentor in politics. There are other reasons which he finds difficult to explain now. I call for all Umno members to calm down and respect Tok Pa’s decision and to not ridicule him,” read Asyraf’s Instagram post, yesterday.

“Maybe there’s a silver lining to this predicament. I ask all Umno members to stay united through thick and thin,” said Puteri Umno leader Datuk Zahida Zarik Khan in a statement yesterday.

Supreme council member Datuk Suraya Yaacob said Zahid has already called for a meeting with all Umno parliamentarians and some divisional leaders tonight.

Earlier today, Zahid issued a statement, insisting that Umno won’t be weakened by this.

“Umno needs loyalists to survive. Because with them, the party will have an easier time administering its plans. The party however respects their decision and wish them good luck.”


Additional reporting by Ahirul Ahiruddin

 

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Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at zaidiazmi91@gmail.com.