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Umno leadership to discuss what's next after Zahid steps aside

Published:  |  Modified:

The Umno supreme council will meet tomorrow to discuss matters which have arisen after Ahmad Zahid Hamidi decided to take leave from the party's presidency, according to Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.

“We will discuss Datuk Seri Zahid’s decision to go on leave, and what the focus should be for Umno following the decision,” he was quoted as saying by The Star.

“The matter will be among the main topics at the party's supreme council meeting that will be held tomorrow," he said.

On Dec 18, Zahid caved in to pressure and announced that he would step aside as Umno president following an exodus of lawmakers and leaders from the party.

The party, which won 54 parliamentary seats in the 14th general election, is currently left with 38 seats following the departure of 16 MPs.

Zahid, however, stressed that he was not resigning, but only going on leave so that his deputy Mohamad Hasan could run the show.

Party officials reportedly confirmed with The Star that Zahid had merely taken leave from carrying out his duties as president and he would remain as the opposition leader.

“He is on leave, which means he no longer makes decisions or gets involved in the decision-making process of the party leadership,” Asyraf was quoted as saying.

Zahid did not specify how long he would be on leave, he said.

BN whip Ismail Sabri Yaakob had also told The Star that Zahid would remain as opposition leader in the Dewan Rakyat.

“No change at this point as it’s still too early to decide, with the Dewan Rakyat only meeting again in March next year.

“The position of the opposition leader is also something that needs to be discussed with other opposition parties and not just among Barisan,” said Ismail Sabri, who is also Umno vice-president.

Ismail Sabri reportedly said Ahmad Zahid’s decision to step aside was unexpected.

“My take on this situation is that he knew it would be a hassle to hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to vote against him.

“That’s why he made this sacrifice to step aside and let the deputy president run the show,” Ismail Sabri was quoted as saying.

Some held Zahid for responsible for the recent spate of resignations from Umno and called for his resignation.

The Star had also reportedly learnt that one of Umno’s three vice-presidents wrote to Zahid on Dec 17 listing reasons why the president should resign.

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