Sources: Zahid received objections on announcement

PETALING JAYA: Despite Umno leaders warning Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that he was not following due process, the party president took action against several leaders at the supreme council meeting on Friday night, said a source.

The source said that five supreme council members objected to Ahmad Zahid’s decision while three agreed with him.

“Ahmad Zahid, in his opening remarks, made the announcement on the sacking of former Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin and listed (members who were) suspended from the party.

“Former Selangor Umno state chief Tan Sri Noh Omar immediately stood up and asked that he be sacked instead of being suspen- ded for six years. Ahmad Zahid then retorted, ‘if you want that, so be it’.

“When (the floor) was open (for questions), Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob stood up and argued that sacking and suspensions must be made in accordance with the law and due process.

“The Bera MP said that those on the list must first be given a show cause letter, the right to defend themselves before the disciplinary board, then an appeal to the management before the Umno Supreme Council makes a decision.

“Ismail Sabri said suspending and sacking Umno leaders and members without a show cause letter is unfair as they would not be able to defend themselves and they would also not know the reason they were axed.

“A few other supreme council members, including Datuk Seri Shabery Cheek, Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin and Datuk Arman Azha Abu Hanifah, also spoke up to state their disapproval of not following due process as stated in the Umno constitution.

“They argued that Umno would pay the price for not following due process, and this will in turn lead to a backlash against Umno during elections when the grassroots vote in protest.

“Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican pleaded with Ahmad Zahid to show some mercy to Khairy,” said the source.

Another source said Ahmad Zahid “theoretically has the power to be autocratic under the Umno constitution”.

“It is just that as Umno leaders have always talked things out before coming to any major decision that affects the party, it came as a shock to many that he went ahead to announce it to the supreme council and then to the public,” said this source.

The five Umno members who were suspended are former vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, former Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan, former youth exco member Datuk Dr Fathul Bari Mat Jahya, former Johor state exco member and Tebrau Umno division chief Datuk Maulizan Bujang and former Jempol MP Datuk Seri Mohd Salim Mohd Shariff. They were all suspended for six years.

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