POLITICAL analysts have disagreed with the observation that there is a growing discontent in Umno towards its president, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim over Najib Razak’s conviction in the SRC International case.
This is despite the fact that Zahid received brickbats from some Facebook users after posting photos of him attending the premiere for the movie “Anwar, the Untold Story” on Monday.
Last month, sacked Umno leader Khairy Jamaluddin and suspended information chief Shahril Hamdan had also warned in their podcast of unhappiness from Najib’s faction over the conviction and the fact that the Pardons Board did not go through Najib’s application.
However, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Kartini Aboo Talib rubbished the claims, saying Najib’s supporters still needed Zahid for their boss’ freedom.
“Najib’s supporters may be unhappy with the current situation but not to the extent of sabotaging Zahid or Umno in the state elections.
“More than 150 Umno divisions are with Zahid. So, he is the alpha, for now,” Kartini told FMT.
She pointed out that Najib’s supporters in Umno were party loyalists, while those against Najib were disposed of earlier or voluntarily withdrew to join Bersatu or PAS.
The academic stressed that Zahid might be firm in steering the party but he was not a “mafia”.
“Umno members may have limited choice to go against him, provided that Zahid is allied to the prime minister and they form the present government. In politics, it is about power. Those who have the gold rule,” said Kartini.
Oh said Najib’s supporters would only back Perikatan Nasional (PN) in the state elections if the federal opposition championed their leader’s pardon and release.
“I am not so sure that Zahid and Najib maintain distinctly separate factions in Umno. I thought they co-lead the same faction, as both Zahid and Najib are at least bound together by both being slapped with criminal complaints, albeit Najib has by now exhausted his appeals for his (SRC International) conviction.
“Unless PN is rooting for Najib’s release, I don’t think Najib will rally his supporters to back PN or sabotage Umno in the state elections.”
Furthermore, despite Najib’s conviction and the Pardons Board not going through his application for a royal pardon, Oh believed the pardon would be granted in the near future. – FMT