Pressure For Ge15 At Your Own Peril Zahid Warned
Any move by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to push for early polls could boomerang on him, says academic Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid.PETALING JAYA: An academic has cautioned Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi against pushing Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to call for a general election before the year’s end.
Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid of Universiti Sains Malaysia said any move Zahid made to push for early polls could boomerang on him, especially with Najib Razak now incarcerated.
“Further incessant pressure on Ismail will leave a bad impression that Zahid is out to save his own skin,” he told FMT in reference to ongoing court cases.
Najib was sent to Kajang Prison on Tuesday after the Federal Court upheld his conviction and sentence of 12 years’ jail and a RM210 million fine in the SRC International case.
Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid.Zahid is standing trial on 47 charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust involving millions from Yayasan Akalbudi and accepting bribes for various projects during his tenure as the home minister.
Fauzi said Umno leaders calling for early polls would not be able to shake off the perception that the party was seeking power in order to interfere with the judiciary. He said this would repel votes from non-Umno supporters.
“These votes are crucial for an Umno victory in an era when the party no longer has hegemonic influence,” he said. “Umno’s display of respect for the rule of law is of paramount importance for it to make a comeback.”
Last Monday, an emergency meeting of all Umno division leaders was held at Menara Dato Onn to discuss candidate selection for the coming general election (GE15).
According to Sungai Besar Umno chief Jamal Yunos, 158 division leaders had called for GE15 to be held immediately. He said Zahid would relay the message to Ismail at the next Supreme Council meeting.
Wong Chin Huat.Political scientist Wong Chin Huat said Zahid would try to force an early election as an Umno-Barisan Nasional victory would strengthen his chance of getting off the hook from his legal troubles.
However, he said, Zahid’s position was “clearly weaker” with Najib’s jailing.
“Having GE15 now could pose a high risk to Umno as Najib’s conviction revives memories of 1MDB,” he said. “But delaying the polls and carrying out more reforms would increase Umno’s chances of retaining its base and winning over the middle ground.”
GE15 has to be held by September next year, but some Umno leaders have pressed for it to be called this year following convincing BN victories in recent state elections. - FMT
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