Zahid’s sacking of Zaharin from UMNO is the opening battle of the 15GE – battle between those who are for and against corruption and kleptocracy in Malaysia

UMNO President Zahid Hamid’s sacking of Zaharin Mohd Yasin from UMNO is the opening battle of the 15th General Election – a battle between those who are for and against corruption and kleptocracy in Malaysia.

Zaharin, a former secretary of Bandar Tun Razak Umno, said after his sacking: “I am now free to take on corrupt Umno leaders”.

I am not aware that Zaharin was against corrupt UMNO leaders, but there is no doubt that after August 23, 2022 when former Prime Minister, Najib Razak was sent to jail after his appeal against corruption charges were unanimously rejected by the five-member Federal Court, a new era has started in Malaysia.

August 23, 2022 would go down in Malaysian history when Malaysians can still hope again that the changes and reforms Malaysians had voted for in the 14th General Election were not all in vain, that there is still hope to bring about the institutional changes and reforms that Malaysians wanted and that Malaysians had not voted in vain on May 9, 2018 despite the sabotage after 22 months by the Sheraton Move political conspiracy.

But Malaysians must have the commitment, perseverance and the patience for a long struggle which will take decades and span a few general elections.

But two aspects are clear:

Firstly, there is no doubt that Najib Razak will not have to face 1MDB corruption charges in Malaysian Courts if there had not been a change of government in the 14th General Election; and

Secondly, Najib will not be sent to jail if the cloud on the important principle of the doctrine of the separation of powers among the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary had not dissipated to show that the Judiciary is capable to rising up to the occasion for a reset to return to the original nation-building principle and policies as embedded in the Constitution and the Rukun Negara.

UMNO Alor Star division head, Yusof Ismail, who was suspended from UMNO for six years, said that his suspension was a signal to the Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri, if he does not dissolve Parliament for the holding of the 15th General Election immediately.

Time will tell whether Yusuf is right.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri