As calls for Najib to step down as Umno chief intensify, is Khairy taking over?

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak attends Umno 72th anniversary celebrations in Kuala Lumpur May 11, 2018. — Reuters pic
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak attends Umno 72th anniversary celebrations in Kuala Lumpur May 11, 2018. — Reuters pic

PETALING JAYA, May 11 — Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin is allegedly muscling his way to the party’s top leadership post through the wing’s state heads, according to party insiders.

Sources told Malay Mail that the plan initiated by Khairy’s camp was to call for Najib to step down, as the Youth wing insists on its choices of young guns to take over in the face of Barisan Nasional’s (BN) defeat, with blame mainly going to president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“There is talk to call for Najib to step down, failing which action will be initiated to remove him by other means,” said a grassroots leader.

“Many realise that Najib cannot be in the picture anymore, and he has become too much of a liability to the party and the coalition, and the results of the general election are proof of that.”

The source added the plan included pushing Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein for party presidency, with Khairy taking a spot as a vice-president.

Word also was that the main goal was for Khairy to transition and lead the party eventually, or immediately step in if Hishammuddin were to refuse the responsibility.

“The rationale is that it is the only way to save Umno, by having fresh, young faces as part of its comeback,” the source added.

Khairy had issued a rallying call on Facebook earlier today to save the party as it celebrated its 72nd anniversary.

“I ask you, my friends, who wish to rebuild Umno from the collapse we see today, to join me as this change has to begin immediately. We cannot delay this any longer,” read Khairy’s post.

And the purported plans to hijack the party from jaded leaders appear to be in motion as the Youth faction immediately became more vocal in urging Najib to step down.

An Umno Youth exco member, Arman Azha Abu Hanifah, openly called for Najib to resign willingly, “so a transformation of Umno can take place.”

“We demand Najib resign immediately. We believe Najib has to be responsible for BN’s defeat in the 14th general election. We don’t hate Najib, but we prioritise the party’s interests to ensure its survival.”

The Federal Territories and Selangor Umno Youth wings have also joined calls from their Penang, Kedah and Terengganu counterparts in calling for Najib to step down.

Federal Territories Umno Youth chief Razlan Rafii had reportedly asked the party’s top leadership to take full responsibility for the disaster and “step down and make way for new faces to lead this party.”

Berita Harian also reported Jelebu Umno division chief Jalaluddin Alias as calling for the resignations of Najib and Negri Sembilan Umno chief Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.

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