A former Umno minister today warned that Johor Umno Youth vice chief Khairul Anwar Rahmat's move to quit all party posts may not bode well for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
Former information minister Zainuddin Maidin said Khairul may have attributed his resignation to personal reasons, but claimed circumstances leading to the move showed there was a deeper reason.
"His surprise resignation from all positions in Johor Umno will surely invite more questions.
"There is also a possibility that more resignations may follow in the state as he (Khairul) is an influential figure and is respected among Umno Youths members in Johor," said Zainuddin in a blog posting today.
Khairul, who leads the NGO Malaysia Volunteer Lawyers Association (Sukaguam), was responsible for organising the infamous 'Nothing2Hide' dialogue on 1MDB for Najib earlier this month.
However, Najib did not turn up at the eleventh hour, prompting his fiercest critic former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was present, to take over the event and deliver a speech denouncing the prime minister.
Khairul had blamed an unnamed aide of Najib's for blocking the prime minister from attending, resulting in the event turning into a public relations disaster for the premier.
The Umno youth leader had said a meeting between Najib and Mahathir during the event, even behind closed doors, would have defused the animosity between them.
Najib's woes piling up
Under these circumstances, Khairul's resignation only adds to Najib's woes, said Zainuddin.
The Johor Youth leader's resignation came less than 24 hours after Najib announced that Umno's party elections will be postponed by 18 months, thereby fending off any challenge to his presidency during this rocky period.
Najib is attempting to consolidate his position amid attacks against him over his handling of the scandal surrounding debt-ridden 1MDB, which is owned by the Finance Ministry that he also heads.
1MDB has to date accumulated a total of RM41.8 billion debt that it is struggling to repay.