PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is facing increasing pressure to step down as Umno president.
He has insisted on staying put and that he will only go if two-thirds of delegates at the party’s extraordinary general assembly (EGM) vote against him, but two senior party figures have stepped into the picture to force the matter out in the open.
Former vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein urged the Umno leadership to immediately hold a supreme council meeting to discuss the crisis in Umno.
The meeting of Umno’s top decision-making body was supposed to be held yesterday but was postponed at the 11th hour, with no replacement date announced so far.
“In a situation which is full of uncertainty and worry, I urge the top leadership of Umno to immediately call for a meeting of the supreme council,” Hishammuddin tweeted.
He said party leaders must give assurance to the grassroots on measures and decisions to resolve the party’s problems.
A check on Umno’s Consitution under Article 8.5 shows that one of the three ways to trigger an EGM is via a written request by two-thirds of the supreme council members.
The other two methods are when the party president calls for an EGM and when at least 96 of the 191 party divisions request in writing for an EGM.
Vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, meanwhile, pointed out that Umno divisions can call for an EGM.
“Divisions can present a motion for an EGM,” Mohamed Khaled posted on Instagram along with a photo of the front page of a Bahasa Malaysia newspaper bearing the headline “Umno’s constitution determines Zahid’s fate”.
Contacted for his view on the current split in Umno that has led to 11 of its MPs quitting the party last week, Mohamed Khaled replied: “I remain (in Umno) and will only support Umno, full stop.”
Supreme council member Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman questioned those calling for an immediate supreme council meeting.
He said the reason they wanted the meeting to be held as soon as possible could be to call for Ahmad Zahid to step down as president.
“It’s not as if the general election will be held tomorrow,” he said, urging the party to remain united under Ahmad Zahid’s leadership.
Tajuddin reminded them that it was not an easy feat for the council to unseat the party president.
He said that even if the council succeeded in a vote of no confidence against Ahmad Zahid, their vote would only amount to a “political move”.
“They can ask the president to go but if the president decides not to, we must remember that his position as the party leader is still secure,” he said.
“This is because he can only be removed if two-thirds of delegates at an EGM vote for his removal.”
According to Article 9.12 of the party constitution, the president and all other members of the supreme council can be stripped of their position by a vote from no less than two-thirds of delegates at an EGM.
Tajuddin said that while Umno’s supreme council normally meets once every two months, the meeting was not a requirement by the Registrar of Societies.
“The secretary-general of Umno is the one who calls for the supreme council meeting, but in practice he will consult the party president to get an agreement,” he added.