Khalid denies plot to amend Umno constitution (Updated)

30 May 2019 / 11:15 H.

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi can rest assured, at least for now, that his position as Umno president is secure.

Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin has refuted a report that plans were already in place to bar anyone facing criminal charges from holding senior positions in the party.

The move was said to be led by current deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, who is performing the duties of president in the absence of Ahmad Zahid, who is on garden leave to prepare his defence in his criminal trial.

Khaled described the report on news portal as “untrue and malicious”, adding that he wants the report taken down immediately.

Malaysiakini’s report was based on another report in Singapore daily The Straits Times that the party will amend Article 9.9 of its constitution to disallow anyone who was facing criminal charges or has a conviction from holding senior positions.

Despite Khaled’s denial, several party officials insist that the report is true.

However, they also pointed out that a two-thirds majority is required to see the amendment through.

Observers see the move as an attempt by Mohamad, known popularly as Tok Mat, to rejuvenate the party by replacing the old guards.

If the amendment is tabled and passed, it will have a major impact on the party’s existing leaders.

Apart from Ahmad Zahid, former party president Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak is also facing criminal charges related to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal.

Political observers see this as a move by Mohamad and Khaled to consolidate their position in the party in the run-up to the party general assembly in November.

Ahmad Zahid won the contest for party president at last year’s general assembly after Najib, who was the incumbent president, decided to step down.

There will be no party election this year but a resolution for the proposed amendment can be tabled for the delegates to vote on.

If such an amendment is tabled and passed, it will see the exit of at least seven senior members.

Apart from Najib and Ahmad Zahid, also facing charges for corruption or criminal breach of trust are former secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, former Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Musa Aman, former Negri Sembilan mentri besar Tan Sri Isa Samad, Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and current Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Bung Mokhtar Radin.

In an immediate response, political analyst Prof Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said the proposal was a move to “clean up” a party that has already been “tainted by corruption”.

“It is a good move. It shows that Umno is doing something to clean up its act,“ he said, adding that there is a need for Umno to rebrand to clean up its image.

“It will also ensure that those who join the party in future will be clean.”

Mohd Azizuddin is of the view that Mohamad will be a more liberal party president and more open to (working with) non-Malays.

However, he said Mohamad also needs to prove himself as a national leader.

“He needs to win over the grassroots but if Umno returns to power, it will be an advantage for Mohamad.”

But it will mean that Umno is prepared to shield corrupt officials if the amendment does not see the light of day, Mohd Azizuddin added.

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