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Commentary: UMNO president Ahmad Zahid is a formidable but flawed political operator

In September and October, Zahid decisively moved in opposition to his opponents. Properly-known supporters of Ismail Sabri like Shahidan Kassim and Annuar Musa have been dropped as parliamentary candidates and potential rivals similar to then minister of well being Khairy Jamaluddin have been parachuted into hostile constituencies. Zahid bought a further increase when he was acquitted of 1 set of corruption fees.

In December, Zahid’s pact with Anwar resulted in a very good haul of ministries for UMNO. He secured the deputy prime ministership and rural improvement portfolio, Mohamad Hasan was appointed to defence, and the vice chairman most allied to him, Khaled Nordin, bought greater training. Senior figures similar to Ismail Sabri and Hishammuddin Hussein have been bypassed; the remaining Cupboard members should not various centres of energy.

In January, the UMNO common meeting resolved to exempt the highest two positions (president and deputy president) from being contested. Instantly after, a bunch of senior UMNO leaders have been purged or side-lined. Khairy Jamaluddin and former Selangor UMNO chief Noh Omar have been sacked whereas a number of others, together with Hishammuddin and former info chief Shahril Hamdan, have been suspended.

UMNO’s social gathering elections have been held this month and Zahid’s management is sort of absolute. Along with his deputy, Mohamad Hasan, two of the three vice presidents are allies. Khaled Nordin retained his place and newcomer Pahang Menteri Besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail can also be a Zahid affiliate. Supporters clinched the Youth and Puteri wings and a stable proportion of the incoming Supreme Council.


But, Zahid securing UMNO’s place in authorities and his grip on the social gathering has come at a price – the social gathering’s electability.

Zahid’s persistent pushing for elections has been out of sync with the general public zeitgeist. Lingering COVID-19 worries, inflation woes, and floods meant that electioneering was removed from individuals’s minds. Moreover, the argument that the social gathering wanted a convincing mandate when it was already in energy was unconvincing.

Zahid’s undercutting of rivals additionally dented UMNO’s electoral efficiency. For instance, after being dropped from the UMNO slate of candidates, Shahidan Kassim moved to PN. BN then was unprecedentedly routed from Perlis. Going ahead, the purging of Khairy and Shahril Hamdan might dent UMNO’s attraction in city areas.

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