Of fiery salvos and heated secret debates

13 Jan 2023 06:24pm
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KUALA LUMPUR - He said it yesterday and today he said it again that he forgives but does not forget.

And true enough, in his policy speech Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi did just that.

One by one, he needled on those who spouted dissent against him with the first being a low-key potshot at Khairy Jamaluddin.

But of course, being a typical Malaysian politician, no names were mentioned. Just enough bits and bobs for people to connect the dots.

Next on the hit-list were the traitorous ten who initially backed Perikatan Nasional (PN) in the first half of last year’s post national poll deadlock.

Again, no names were mentioned.

But the subsequent thank-you note for forgiving the ten by former vice president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein demystified any lingering suspicions.

It was a typical case of only those who bit the chilli will feel the pang.

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Speaking of feeling the heat, the party’s closed-door debate today was ostensibly a sweltering ordeal.

Apparently, the groundswell calling for every single post to be opened for contest in the coming party polls was rather significant.

“While most of the division chiefs do not want to open the top two posts for contest, the majority of the grassroots begged to differ,” claimed a party insider.

Earlier today, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that he left it to the members to decide over such matters.

“I am confident that Umno members can tell apart diamond and glass. Who is original and who is fake. I leave it to them,” said Zahid.

On the outset this looked democratic – power to the people – but another source remarked that the handover was peculiar.

“The party’s constitution is silent on the matter. Normally, if there are at least two nominations for any post, then that particular post must be opened for contest.

“The only way to give delegates the total discretion to decide which post should be opened for contest is to have the party’s constitution amended,” remarked the source who requested anonymity.

But if that happens then Zahid’s grip on Umno would be even tighter.

Then again for Umno to not have a presidential election is hardly surprising as since its inception in 1946, the party only did so four times: in 1951, 1978, 1987 and 2018.

Perhaps to not rock the boat is indeed normal for the Malay party.