Caution when reinstating sacked members

A POLITICAL analyst has advised Umno to exercise caution when readmitting expelled and suspended members, warning those who return may turn out to be “Trojan horses”.

Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said Umno’s supreme council should avoid reinstating individuals who criticise the leadership either openly or discreetly, as their return may undermine harmony in the party.

Citing Lokman Adam as an example, he said the party should only readmit individuals who adopt a “non-confrontational approach”.

“So, I don’t think Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s statement (on Saturday) would apply to former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin, former vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein and former information chief Shahril Hamdan,” he told FMT.

Khairy was among those who were sacked, whereas Hishammudin and Shahril were suspended for six years. The trio had been outspoken in their criticism of Zahid on various issues.

On Saturday, Zahid said the party’s supreme council was open to reinstating sacked and suspended members.

He said Umno’s disciplinary board would evaluate the appeals of these members before it is brought to the party’s supreme council for deliberation.

Earlier, Umno Youth delegate Mohd Kurniawan Naim Moktar called for the party’s top brass to welcome back members who were sacked or suspended recently, saying they were still loyal to Umno.

Meanwhile, Syaza Shukri of International Islamic University Malaysia said Zahid’s statement signifies his responsiveness to demands from the grassroots.

“I think he (Zahid) also realises that Umno needs all hands on deck for the state elections, including those who disagreed with the party’s decision to form the unity government,” she said.

She said Zahid’s initial decision to expel or suspend these members was a demonstration of the power he could wield as president.

“Now the message has been sent loud and clear that he’s in power, he’s more open to negotiating their return,” she said.