KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Umno is now ready for the next general election after a visit from his predecessor Datuk Seri Najib Razak last night.
Ahmad Zahid posted several photos of the visit on his Facebook and Twitter accounts this morning amid speculation about a possible change of government and rift in Umno’s own leadership.
In each post, he talked about his readiness for the 15th general election (GE15).
“Last night, I received a visit from Dato (Datuk) Sri (Seri) Najib and his entourage to my house. Thank you
“We are ready for PRU15 (GE15)
“Are you all ready to be with us?” he posted.
Over the past few weeks, there have been signs of cracks in Ahmad Zahid’s leadership following reports of Umno leaders jostling for the party’s top job, mere months after Umno returned to power with Perikatan Nasional (PN) in February.
Ahmad Zahid, who took the reins after Najib stepped down in 2018, is said to be in a face-off with several top leaders, including Najib himself, as some grassroots members have lobbied for the former prime minister to be reinstated to his old post.
There is also talk of several other factions in the party led by personalities such as deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, former vice president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as well as Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
In his speech marking Umno’s 74th anniversary on March 11, Ahmad Zahid called on party members to unite and strengthen its position in the country, adding that the party was only part of the PN coalition to overthrow the previous government.
His remarks came a few days after Umno leaders from Sabah demanded Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to put Ahmad Zahid in the Cabinet, which the latter claims he rejected to focus on GE15.
As with Najib, Ahmad Zahid is also facing multiple bribery and money-laundering charges involving millions of ringgit of Yayasan Akalbudi funds.
His trial will resume on June 15.
The past few weeks has also seen a psywar waged by Pakatan Harapan (PH) supporters on social media as rumours swirl that both Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim are consolidating MP numbers in Dewan Rakyat.
Anwar even admitted to a number, allegedly 129 or 130 MPs, but refused to divulge further.
“Regarding the 129 MPs, or 130, we (PKR) did not discuss this (yesterday) because it is still in the process, it’s not final. We are discussing this diligently,” he said in a Facebook Live session last week.
It is said that PH (plus Mahathir) has yet to consolidate its prime ministerial candidate.
In the same Facebook Live session, Anwar also said PH should not make the “old mistake” on choosing the prime minister, which some saw as an apparent dig at Dr Mahathir.
Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir is currently fighting Muhyiddin in Bersatu after he and four other MPs, including his son, deputy president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, had their memberships annulled.