JOHOR BARU: In light of Barisan Nasional’s performance in the 15th General Election (GE15), Johor Umno leaders have made a strong call for Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to resign immediately as the coalition chairman.
Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, who is Johor Barisan election operations director, said Ahmad Zahid should follow in former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s footsteps in 2018 and also resign as Umno president.
“This noble move will help us in our first step to recovery and regain the strength of our beloved party Umno.
“Though a bitter pill to swallow, Umno leaders, including myself, should return to the people and listen to their voices that have been translated through their votes in GE15.
“Many leaders with potential and calibre in Umno, MCA and MIC were sacrificed because we did not listen to the grassroots.
“We should all have the courage to change the course of the party’s future,” he said in a statement yesterday, a day after polling.
Onn Hafiz noted that Umno had “collapsed” under the Malay political tsunami where the community “rejected Umno”.
“Barisan, including Umno, won only nine parliamentary seats in Johor while none of the parliamentary seats in Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Melaka, Kelantan and Terengganu went to us,” he added.
There are 26 parliamentary seats in Johor.
Johor Umno treasurer Datuk Md Jais Sarday described the coalition’s dismal performance in the polls as the “sinking of the Titanic”.
“We sank because nobody is listening and it is being steered by the wrong person. It is time for the captain (Zahid) to go because if nothing is done, Barisan will sit at the bottom of the ocean for a long time,” said Jais, who is also the Kluang Umno division chief.
He stressed that Umno should not join with anyone as it would continue to be a minority government which would be bullied.
“We should be a good opposition and focus on improving and restructuring the party with renewed leadership,” he said.
Johor Umno secretary Datuk Samsolbari Jamali said the party needed to be honest and not be trapped in a “denial syndrome”.
“Barisan and Umno are still the biggest party in terms of structure, organisation, supporters and machinery. However, it still fails to gain the trust of the majority of voters.
“I believe that Umno must be grateful for the support that it has from existing members. The most important thing is for Umno to prioritise protecting the welfare of the ummah (Muslims) above party or individual interest.
“At the same time, there is also a need for the party to be retrospective about its strengths, weaknesses, potential and real challenges. It must be honest and not be trapped in a denial syndrome,” he said.
Pagoh Umno division Youth chief Mohamad Fazli Mohamad Salleh, also the state works, transportation and infrastructure committee chairman, said Ahmad Zahid’s resignation would be a good first step in that direction.
“The GE15 results reflect that Barisan and Umno no longer have the support of the Malays and Malaysians.
“Barisan and Umno are not short of capable leaders who can take on the present challenges and bring the party forward,” he added.
Kulai Umno deputy division chief Mohd Jafni Md Shukor said Ahmad Zahid’s resignation would mean early measures are being taken to revive Umno.
“We need to be brave and make drastic changes for the people and the party.
“Many Umno, MCA and MIC leaders who won in GE14 were sacrificed because of the ego of not listening to the grassroots.
“With all due respect, I urge Umno president Ahmad Zahid to resign immediately as what Datuk Seri Najib Razak did in 2018,” said Mohd Jafni, who is also state housing and local government committee chairman.
Former national unity minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique, in a strongly worded statement on Instagram, said Umno could no longer bear the responsibilities of individuals in the party who only prioritise personal interests.
“Don’t smear the sanctity of Umno again with shallow, unfounded and unprincipled thoughts just for personal gain.
“Return to Umno’s original struggles. The party’s struggles and priorities should be focused on the grassroots who yearn for an institution capable of championing their plight,” she said.
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