Umno president Zahid Hamidi is widely reported to be persistently adamant about having his demand for an early general election met.
Social media is rife with shock and condemnation, and it is justified.
His call for an early election – despite the anticipated monsoon and given the climate crisis looming – has also set tongues wagging.
People are asking how could a party president be so insensitive to the welfare, circumstances and uncertainties that the monsoon will ravage across the country.
Many speculate that Zahid’s hurry could have everything to do with his ongoing corruption trial.
The Umno president reportedly said that Barisan Nasional is willing to wade through flood waters to campaign for the general election if it is held during the monsoon season.
Abrasively, he added that the opposition is against holding the next general election during the upcoming monsoon season as it is afraid it will lose.
Whatever the reasons for Zahid’s ludicrous, couldn’t-care-less demand, it has entrenched a widely held belief that the 47 charges he is battling in court are more important to him than the wading through flood waters and the untold challenges and losses that people will have to face during the monsoon.
The fact is Zahid’s entire political career is at stake should he be found guilty of the charges levelled against him – hence, the public perception that his hurried insistence for an early election is an attempt to save himself.
In the first place, he should, like a responsible leader, vacate his political position while his case is being tried in court.
But his failure to do the most principled thing and his adamant reluctance to vacate his position as party president – despite being saddled with 47 criminal charges – will not be dismissed by principled people.
Should the prime minister call for an early election to be held during the monsoon season, the public should not be condemned for believing that the PM is also party to this deceitful, desperate agenda.
Zahid must take a lesson from BN’s loss in the 2018 general election. The coalition suffered an unprecedented defeat owing to the 1 MDB scandal and Najib Razak’s leadership of Umno at the time.
This time around we have a replacement party president, Zahid, jeopardising BN’s future as his integrity and trustworthiness as a leader is being seriously questioned by the people – both within and outside his party.
Further, the question that needs to be asked is, how sure is Zahid that BN will win if the election is held during the monsoon season.
If there is a poor voter turnout, would it not be a crippling disadvantage for BN supporters as well?
Does Zahid also want to be totally indifferent to the fact that it will be a logistical nightmare for the Election Commission to conduct the election during the floods?
The country has had 14 general elections and, looking back, it has not yet had an election conducted during the ravaging monsoon seasons that frequently bring massive floods all over the country.
Patriot urges the prime minister to totally reject Zahid’s call for a general election to be held during the upcoming monsoon season, as this will jeopardise the people’s right to vote.
The PM should instead marshal all available agencies and resources now to be prepared for the expected flood relief operations.
Retired Brigadier General Dato’ Mohd Arshad Raji is president of the National Patriots Association (Patriot)