Election 2022: Zahid could lead Umno into the political wilderness

If he falls, Umno might also suffer the same fate

Zahid Hamidi - WIKIPEDIA

By Phlip Rodrigues

Umno is spearheading the Barisan Nasional campaign to recapture Putrajaya, but the ‘general’ in charge of the mixed brigade should not be the one to undertake the task.

Zahid Hamidi is already politically weak and leading the party as its president could further erode the strength of the party, which received a mauling in the historic 2018 general election.

But Zahid refuses to ride off to the sunset in the belief that he can still redeem Umno – and himself to boot – in this battle for the soul of the nation.

Somehow, he thinks he can regain the trust of the people ahead of polling day on 19 November.

And so Zahid tries to stamp his authority on Umno by naming new candidates and dropping others whom he suspects are in the camp of Umno vice-president and caretaker Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Zahid reshuffles his political cards to show he can win in his gamble for political power – but does he not realise that he is calling the shots from a position of weakness?

In the hurly burly of the election season, it seems that Zahid is not worried about being a member of the “court cluster”, with all its unpleasant connotations. When on the stumps, he would probably play down his current trials and tribulations.

But the Barisan Nasional chairman cannot run away from the black mark on his public service record. His grip on the party might not be as firm as he would wish it to be.

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A leader of a political party must be able to command the respect and loyalty of all its members, based on an unblemished political career and solid achievements.

A flawed character would only cause division and dissent among the party ranks. When a leader’s credibility is called so publicly into question, he can no longer hold the moral high ground

Already, Umno is split, made worse by Zahid’s stubborn resistance to a change in leadership. He himself does not want to step down, although he has brought in new faces to contest in the upcoming general election.

The waters may be calm on the surface, but the undercurrents of discontent against Zahid may be deep and widespread. Umno will try to put up a brave front to paper over the rift in the party leadership in a last-ditched effort to regain the trophy it lost in 2018.

But it is an open secret that Zahid is more concerned about staying politically alive than seeing his party undergo a much-needed process of renewal. The popular consensus is that he is a tainted leader, who might be writing Umno’s political obituary.

When he is vulnerable, Umno will be open to easy attacks from enemy fire. When he is weak, Umno will also be weak. When he falls, Umno might also suffer the same fate.

Zahid’s allies are understandably keeping mum because they believe in the scented narrative that Umno is on the upswing.

But deep down in their hearts and minds, they must surely harbour great uneasiness about a leader who could be dragging the party down the path to long years of political wilderness.

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Phlip Rodrigues is a former journalist



AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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DR.SNMN
DR.SNMN
11 Nov 2022 2.28pm

SLM MSIA. AS CITIZENS,WE R SERIOUSLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE SOC-POLITICAL TRAJECTORY MSIA IS HEADED ON.WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO BRING REALLY POSITIVE CHANGE IN THIS ELECTIONS.MSNS WHO PRAY N THINK OF THE LARGER MSN PICTURE,CAN AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY, EDUCATE THE YOUNG N ADULTS, ON GOD’S TRUTH, INTERCULTURAL MSN DIVERSITY, MEANINGFUL PROSPERITY, FORWARD. WITHOUT BEING TOO CRITICAL, LET’S FOCUS ON HUMAN QUALITY OF CHARACTER. TEACH IT. NATION-BUILDING IS AN ARDUOUS PROCESS.UMNO, PAS N IN OTHER PARTIES, CORRUPTION NEED TO BE ROOTED OUT. A REALLY PUBLIC-SERVING NON-MALAY LIKE JEYAKUMAR, CAN BE THE NATION’S PM. GOOD IS STILL POSSIBLE FOR OUR BELOVED NATION.

Winston Lim
Winston Lim
8 Nov 2022 8.25am

It’s not Zahid’s strengths or weaknesses that matter in the coming months but the stupidity of the largest voting blocs which could hand him a victory.

Khoo Soo Hay
Khoo Soo Hay
8 Nov 2022 7.13am

Let us hope that the coming G.E., the youth, especially the Malays, will realize, open their eyes to see that no one can trust UMNO politicians who can only care for their pockets! The fact that their former number one man can be jailed for corruption speaks for itself. You cannot trust those who are corrupt and potentially corrupt when elected!