Focus will be on Zahid's speech at opening of this weekend's Umno AGM

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

COMMENTARY, Jan 10 — Umno members and delegates from around the country will be all ears when Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi makes his speech at the opening of the party's general assembly (AGM) this weekend.

At the top of everybody's mind will be the following: where is Umno heading and how will the party benefit in the long run supporting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) and can Umno return to its position pre-general election where it won two state elections handsomely?

The Umno president, who is one of two deputy prime ministers in the current administration, has already been criticised for the party’s dismal performance in the November general election.

Umno is at present considered directionless and hanging on to PH's coat tails although it was Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) support that made it possible for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s to form the unity government.

In the recent general elections, BN only won 30 seats and was roundly bashed by Parti Pribumi Bersatu (Bersatu) and PAS in most Malay-majority seats it contested.

Umno was riding high in Sabah, Melaka and Johor state elections but apparently the sentiments of voters and even party members turned after former party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak was jailed.

In June and July, Umno had called for the dissolution of parliament when support for the coalition was high but then Prime Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri did not do so.

Internal personality conflicts, personal interests, and plans to contest in the upcoming party election destroyed party solidarity and unity which affected its performance in the general election.

Zahid’s upcoming speech should be all encompassing and chart the party’s next course of action as it will determine whether there will be contests for the party’s top five positions: president, deputy presidents and the three vice-presidents.

The party election will be held sometime in May where nominations at branches and divisions levels will be held immediately after this weekend’s assembly.

Thus this weekend will be a real test of Zahid’s leadership capabilities and charisma.