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KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — There are ongoing efforts to oust Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Umno’s advisory board chairman Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah confirmed today.
However, the Umno veteran said this is unsurprising and common for anyone holding the highest post in the Malay-centric party.
“I have heard of such things, going on all the time. These are Malays. Whoever goes up must pull them down. I am not involved in such matters. If I wanted to fight, I’ll fight openly,” he was quoted as saying by Sinar Harian in an interview.
However, the Gua Musang MP, commonly known as Ku Li, said ousting Zahid to enable Umno to return to the Perikatan Nasional fold will not succeed as the grassroots have made their intentions known.
“Impossible, impossible…maybe one or two are willing to support but people have expressed their refusal because of 191 divisions, 147 have passed motions to not have cooperation with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
“This is no small number. 147 divisions nationwide rejected the cooperation. If he wants to go against that sentiment, I think it would be difficult,” he said.
Ku Li also stressed that Umno has its own strength as a party rooted in the country and should not bow down to a splinter party.
“I think Umno is difficult to reform. PAS has already tried to do that. PAS is also a fragment of Umno. All these are fragments of Umno.
“PAS quit Umno in 1951 and Bersatu is just two and a half years old. Several quit the party and after the general election won 13 seats.
“But 15 of Umno MPs switched allegations to Bersatu. That is the strength they possessed yet having non-existent grassroots support,” he said.
Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz has called for Zahid’s resignation, which he said would allow the party to move forward, going so far as to openly propose that deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan take over.
Others, such as Khairy Jamaluddin and Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, have pushed for the party election to be held as soon as possible and ahead of any general election.
Zahid has been slammed for losing control of Umno as he goes on the defensive, with his claims that the party has been “bullied and used” by Bersatu largely seen as a smokescreen for his personal problems.
Umno agreed to support the Bersatu-led government in March last year to retain the Malay-dominant government and will part ways when Parliament is dissolved.