Anwar’s future as PM hinges on Zahid’s luck

A VERY well-placed source apparently told Asia Sentinel that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim may be willing to dump UMNO leader Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as deputy prime minister.

The source said Anwar’s future as PM hinges on whether he will back Zahid after the massive blowout against UMNO and its leader following the axing of former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin and the suspension of many top officials, including former defence minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein.

Zahid was instrumental in helping Anwar build the political architecture that put his coalition, Pakatan Harapan (PH) in power following November’s general election.

Now, the news site said many lawmakers believe Zahid won’t be as lucky and that his days are numbered after he imposed his wishes in the party.

We know Zahid is facing 47 charges of criminal breach of trust for allegedly looting RM31 mil belonging to the Yayasan Akalbudi charity foundation, which he founded.

That did not stop Anwar from nominating him as his DPM.  But now, Anwar is under immense pressure to interfere with the case, which so far he appears to have resisted despite a suspicious delay in Zahid’s case until May.

Anwar has insisted that he will not interfere with or help anyone who has a court case, whether they are in his Cabinet or not.

According to Asia Sentinel, aides said Anwar is determined to not use his political clout to obstruct the trial, and he has the backing of Zahid’s opponents within UMNO, especially MPs who have offered to support Anwar as prime minister for this term of Parliament.

However, it is clear that pressure is now on Zahid to resign as party chief and to most likely be replaced by Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, known as Tok Mat, his wingman.

Zahid’s sacking of Khairy has turned Khairy into a hero, although he has enemies in the party, while Tan Sri Noh Omar’s sacking has turned much of Selangor’s UMNO party organisation against Zahid, according to the Asia Sentinel.

It also says that Hishammuddin’s electoral stature has also been enhanced by his suspension.

“This may all backfire on Zahid. The decision to replace Zahid would be popular with voters and allow those opposing him to make some real party reforms, which Khairy had been attempting.

“If done before state elections due by September, such a move could bolster Pakatan Harapan and UMNO’s electoral chances. The next move is now up to Anwar, who owes Zahid a great debt, not only for the role Zahid played in engineering the current ruling coalition,” it said.

According to a reliable source, UMNO president disregarded warnings from other leaders and proceeded to dismiss several leaders at the recent party supreme council meeting.

The source claims that during the meeting, Zahid announced the dismissal of former Rembau MP and a list of those who were suspended from the party.

Despite objections from several supreme council members, who argued that suspensions and dismissals should be made in accordance with party laws and due process, Zahid refused to change his decisions.

The individuals who were dismissed or suspended were punished for criticizing the party president and collaborating with opposition parties during the last general election.

By law, collaborating with opposing parties during a general election means a party member or leader has to be punished. — Jan 29, 2023

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