Tajuddin's revelations mere allegations, Umno to buck up to face GE15 - Experts

28 Jun 2022 09:34pm
Tajuddin (left), Zahid
Tajuddin (left), Zahid

SHAH ALAM - The dismissal of Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman from Umno Supreme Council is the most recent indication of a rift inside Umno, albeit it is not apparent how severe it is.

Political observers differ on whether the dismissal signals a growing rift within Umno or is merely an effort by the party to separate itself from the contentious Pasir Salak member of parliament.

Tajuddin's claims against Umno and its president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, according to National Council of Professors Senior fellow Prof Dr Jeniri Amir would only damage the former’s own reputation.

He said that this was because Tajuddin already had a poor reputation among the public, who would only view his assertions as a response to his expulsion from the party's highest council.

"Most likely, people would conclude that he was extremely disturbed and outraged over being kicked out of the supreme council.

"People won't believe his most recent charges at all and it's improper for a newly appointed ambassador to criticise internal party disputes in public,” he said.

Azmi also stated that Umno and Zahid would not be harmed by the accusations, adding that "it will come to nothing."

"Whether it is true or not, his assertion that more than 100 Umno divisions want Zahid to resign must be confirmed," he added.

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The analyst went on to say that Umno should strategically choose not to reply to Tajuddin's accusations and instead let the party's leaders speak out in support of the party.

Another political expert Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian echoed Dr Jeniri’s statement and stated that Umno must establish a unifying principle so that the allegations won't derail the party's plans for the 15th General Election.

The majority of the allegations made by Tajuddin, he said, were not new, particularly those relating to the factionalism inside the party.

The party’s leadership might have previously anticipated Tajuddin's likely response, which might harm the party's reputation.

"What is vital for Umno right now is for them to find the unifying cause so that the problem won't drag on and undermine their preparation for the general election.

"Umno must maintain its unity to prevent the emergence of new groups," he stated.

Despite Tajuddin's generally unfavourable reputation, according to Dr Sivamurugan, what he had revealed likely contained some facts that could have an impact on the party's standing.

However, he warned that the expelled Umno supreme council member would face criticism from the public for his timing in disclosing the information.

"He may be telling the truth, but why now? Why not sooner?" he questioned.

He stated that Umno's prompt response to the "damage" Tajuddin had created would now determine the party's credibility.

Tajuddin was against the Umno Supreme Council's demand for early elections and its combative stance against Bersatu, according to Dr Azmi Hassan, a senior fellow at the Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research.

"Senior Umno members often don't support the party leader.

“Tajuddin, however, is a soft target in contrast to them. There won't be another presidential purge, in my opinion," said Azmi.

Many people believed Tajuddin to be connected to Ismail Sabri and eager to work with Bersatu.

Tajuddin, as a political figure, was a liability to Umno because of all of his gaffes and misstatements that did not sit well with the party, particularly during his time as chairman of Prasarana Malaysia Bhd.

"Umno is utilising this chance to remove Tajuddin to separate the party from the MP.

Tajuddin was fired as Prasarana chairman in May of last year, following a backlash to his news conference comments regarding a light rail transit train crash, which were deemed disrespectful to the victims.

After Tajuddin, Dr Azmi opined that it was unlikely that any other Umno leaders, particularly those who did not support Zahid, would be expelled from the party's Supreme Council.

On June 21, Tajuddin was removed as Umno supreme council member.

Zahid had said the sudden termination of Tajuddin as a supreme council member wasn't surprising as the Pasir Salak MP himself should know the reasons for his removal.

Former Selangor Barisan information chief Isham Jalil was appointed on June 24 to replace Tajuddin.

Yesterday, Tajuddin in a tell-all press conference claimed that Zahid was not qualified to lead Umno and he needed to step down respectfully.

He also alleged that all of the decisions reached in the Supreme Council meetings so far were not what the members wanted but it was what Zahid had wanted.