KUALA LUMPUR: United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Tuesday (Dec 18) announced that his deputy Mohamad Hasan will be assuming the duties of the president in the wake of the crisis that has befallen the party.
He said that he hoped all polemics on the leadership of the party will cease and asked leaders at the grassroots level to focus on efforts to strengthen UMNO.
In recent months, a number of UMNO elected representatives from Sabah and the peninsula have ditched the party and openly voiced their support for the ruling Pakatan Harapan government.
"In the wake of the crisis faced by the party, I am taking the decision to place the trust in the deputy president to assume the duties of the president," Ahmad Zahid said in a statement.
He also called for no more crossovers by UMNO MPs and assemblymen after his handing over of powers.
He added that the grassroots were hoping for UMNO leaders to close ranks in the spirit of the party’s new slogan "UMNO Bangkit" (UMNO Rises Again).
Ahmad Zahid, who is facing more than 40 charges of corruption and money laundering, insisted he has not yet quit as UMNO president.
He also explained in a Facebook live-stream that there were currently five camps in UMNO, one of which was comprised of hardcore supporters who did not want the Malay party to ally with any other party.
Of the other four, he said one wanted UMNO to ally with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), another for the party to forge a collaboration with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). There were also a pro-Parti Islam Se Malaysia (PAS) camp and an anti-Democratic Action Party (DAP) camp.
“In this respect, towards winning the 15th general election, I accede to the resolution adopted by the heads of UMNO’s wings and divisional leaders at their retreat for UMNO not to join any party.
“We must play the role of opposition, rebuild our strength and regain our solidarity. As for working with the DAP, we reject it 100 per cent,” he said.