COMMENT | Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s push for early elections is a desperate move to save himself from conviction on multiple charges of money laundering, criminal breach of trust, and accepting bribes which would immediately disqualify him as Umno president and to run in the elections.
The table (below) is a summary of 47 charges against Zahid - 12 for criminal breach of trust, eight for bribery and 27 for money laundering.
Under the Societies Act, Zahid immediately loses his Umno presidency upon conviction. Section 9A (1)(b) of the act says: “Subject to subsections (2) and (4), a person shall be disqualified from being, and shall not become or remain, an office bearer, adviser or employee of a registered society if he has been convicted of any offence under any other law and sentenced to a fine of not less than two thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year.”
That means with immediate effect upon conviction, he can’t be Umno president. His cases are quite far advanced and there is every likelihood that he would be found guilty given the nature of the offences and the money trail which is not disputed in many cases. His only defence to many of the charges is that they were political donations.
Zahid has maintained in court that he and some 20 other Umno politicians, including former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan, and former federal territories minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, were selectively prosecuted by the Pakatan Harapan government.
Zahid has been very strongly pushing for the 15th general elections to be called, much too strongly. He said that the Umno/BN coalition is willing to wade through flood waters to campaign, in an irrational outburst for polls to be called early, even during the monsoon period...