KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 – Umno’s Council of Advisors will discuss Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s position as party president, among other matters, at their next meeting.
Council president Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said pressure has been building in the party on Zahid’s corruption investigation, with some members even calling for him to go on leave.
“I read in the papers and blogs that there are some asking for him to take leave until the probe is over; and there are others who want him to quit now.
“Some prominent people are making noise – but I’ve not heard from the grassroots.
“(But) I’m not saying it,” Razaleigh said after the book launch of The End of Umno? Post GE14 Edition here today.
The Kelantan prince also said that the party constitution is silent on the position of leaders who are tried for crimes.
However, he said that convention dictates that a party leader must go on leave if he or she is charged with an offense.
Razaleigh, who is also known as Ku Li, said that this was the case with several former Umno leaders who were slapped with criminal charges.
“If Zahid does step aside, there should be a re-election,” he said, adding that he would sit the hypothetical election out.
Razaleigh, who was defeated by Zahid in the presidential race in June, added that he is serving his final term as Gua Musang MP and will retire thereafter, as he is now 82.
Zahid, who took over the party presidency from Datuk Seri Najib Razak after Umno’s GE14 defeat, faces 45 charges.
The Umno president allegedly committed 10 acts of criminal breach of trust and eight corruption offences involving over RM42 million; and 27 money laundering offences involving over RM72 million.
He pleaded not guilty to all 45 charges and is out on RM2 million bail.