As Zahid returns, Hishammuddin cautions against new split in Umno

Hishammuddnin urged Umno not to let Zahid's return undo the work to rebuild the party over the last year. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Hishammuddnin urged Umno not to let Zahid's return undo the work to rebuild the party over the last year. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — Umno should not allow Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s return as party president to cause renewed conflict within the party, said former vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

He said Umno members should instead focus on restoring the party’s position and unity.

“According to party constitution, Zahid has the right to return as the party leader. The decision has been made... the latest development should not open up the space for the party to bicker among ourselves.

“I want to see the party be solid. We are in a good position right now compared to last year,” he told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby here today.

While acknowledging that he was no longer a senior party official, he urged Umno not to let the matter undo the work to rebuild the party over the last year.

When asked if Zahid would also return as the federal Opposition leader, the Sembrong MP said there was a system in place to determine this among the leaders of the Opposition parties.

The position is currently held by Umno’s Bera MP, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri, who assumed the role after Zahid gave up all his official posts last year.

Hishammuddin said he would give his views to the party if consulted, but stressed that the Opposition should try to keep the matter within itself.

He also said more focus should be given on reviving the country’s fortunes.

“We have so much potential in Malaysia, our economy... if we stop all the haggling and all the politicking, people will have confidence and FDI will increase, foreign investors will come in.”

Zahid announced yesterday his return as the Ummo president, which puts an end to his garden leave that lasted six months.

The move was not universally welcome, however, with former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin saying that Zahid’s return should have been discussed in the party’s supreme council first.

Khairy lost to Zahid in the race to succeed Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Umno president last year.