Is Zahid also back as Parliamentary Opposition Leader?

In a most dramatic fashion, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced yesterday his return from garden leave to resume the mantle of UMNO president.

But will he resume the role of Parliamentary Opposition Leader or will he concede that the UMNO President need not be the UMNO leader in Parliament?

Three things are noteworthy about Zahid’s return from his garden leave, viz

  • firstly, it was a few days after Zahid was slapped with new corruption charges making him create history in the Malaysian courthouse with a total of 87 criminal charges related to corruption;
  • secondly, opposition of UMNO leaders to Zahid’s unilateral ending of his garden leave, like former UMNO Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin who said Zahid should first seek the opinion of the UMNO supreme council; and
  • thirdly, intervention by the former UMNO president Datuk Seri Najib Razak overriding such opposition and paving the way for Zahid’s return by insisting that Zahid does not require consent from the party's supreme council to make his return as UMNO President as it was a decision up to Zahid alone to decide.

It is interesting to note the circumstances leading to Zahid’s taking garden leave as UMNO President six months ago.

Zahid had referred to “punishing” conditions imposed on UMNO and the humiliation it suffered in a number of meetings he attended, where he not only faced rejection and insults, but even “humiliation, as if Umno was as unclean as the faeces of animals deemed haram”.

He said: “If we accepted that humiliation, there were two requests. Firstly, Umno must be dissolved. (Secondly) Umno members must jump to a new party.

“That means Umno’s seven decades of history would be erased, supposedly because people hated Umno so much.”

As a result, he had to pay a heavy price for his insistence that the party would not be dissolved.

Has Zahid now realise that all these indignities and humiliations were brought about by the UMNO leaders themselves, when they failed UMNO and Malaysia and aided and abetted former Prime Minister and former UMNO President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the monstrous 1MDB corruption money-laundering scandal and other corruption scandals in Tabung Haji, Felda, Felcra and MARA, which brought shame and infamy to Malaysia by being condemned worldwide as a global kleptocracy?

Will he now lead UMNO to demonstrate remorse, contrition or repentance among UMNO leaders for this great act of disservice, even treason, to the country!

Or his Zahid’s return from his garden leave merely to ensure that UMNO is nothing but a “Bossku” outfit with him playing the role of “Bossku” proxy, as Najib sense that he might lose control of UMNO?

In a few hours, Malaysians will know whether Zahid is back as Parliamentary Opposition Leader and the new opposition configuration in Parliament!

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri