Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman has claimed that the majority of Umno division chiefs wanted party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to step down from his post in 2020.
At a press conference, the former Umno Supreme Council member said there was even a movement to pressure Zahid to step down involving 130 division chiefs. There are 191 Umno divisions.
Tajuddin said Zahid had been running the party like a one-man show, with decisions by the Umno Supreme Council heavily influenced by the president and council meetings held just “for show”.
As such, this led to a movement within the party to submit a memorandum to Zahid – who Tajuddin described as a “liability to Umno” – for him to step down as president.
He alleged that the movement was led by Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan. Tajuddin also named former prime minister Najib Razak, Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki and Umno vice-president Khaled Nordin as others involved in the movement. He claimed the Umno leaders had a meeting at his home to discuss the matter.
He added, however, that the push for Zahid’s resignation failed as Mohamad, also known as Tok Mat, backtracked on his intention to hand over the memorandum to the Umno president.
Earlier, Tajuddin urged Zahid to resign as Umno president “for the sake of the party” and claimed the Bagan Datuk MP was unhappy that he could not become prime minister last August, with Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob getting Umno’s mandate instead.
Tajuddin also accused Zahid of only wanting to hold on to power.
“I suggest that Zahid just focuses on his court cases. He cannot take care of Umno,” he said.
Tajuddin also called Zahid a liability to Umno, saying he would lead the party to defeat if he was at the helm in the next general election (GE15).
He then claimed that the Umno president had threatened members against speaking up, warning them that “they will not get the letters of candidacy (surat watikah)” to contest in GE15 if they did.
On his removal as Supreme Council member last week, Tajuddin said that Zahid as president had “absolute power” to make the decision.
“There is no issue there. That is his right and it is alright with me. I accept it,” he said.
He added, however, that his termination letter did not state any reason for his removal.
“This means there was no issue or offence committed. But when speaking to the media, it’s a different story,” Tajuddin added.
He was referring to news reports quoting Zahid as saying that Tajuddin was dropped from the Supreme Council for being critical of the party.