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UMNO calls for general elections

KUALA LUMPUR (CNA) – United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (Bernama; pic below) said the party has the power to determine its direction as he called for Parliament to be dissolved.

“When the mood from the grassroots in the by-elections and state elections is in our favour, what are we waiting for?” he said delivering his policy speech at the party’s 2021 annual general meeting on Friday.

The Bagan Datuk MP acknowledged that the decision to dissolve Parliament is one to be made by the Cabinet, before it is presented to the king.

“We will not disturb this matter, but UMNO as a responsible party, we have the power to determine our party’s direction,” he told the delegates.

The UMNO president said the “beat of war drums” for Malaysia’s 15th general election (GE15) has become stronger, and that this general assembly should listen to grassroots voices calling for a new mandate to be obtained through the GE15.

“Do not let there be a lot of thunder and flash, but not one drop of rain falls to the ground.”

“As such, I hope we can return (the mandate) to the people, leave it up to them. Give a new mandate to UMNO,” he said.

UMNO, a main component in the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, has ruled the country since its independence until its shock defeat in the 2018 general election.

The coalition then allied with its rival Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) to regain control of the government following the defection of 11 MPs from Pakatan Harapan in February 2020.

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who took office on August 30 last year, is the first prime minister from UMNO who is not a party president. He is one of the vice presidents.

There has been talk of an earlier GE15 to capitalise on BN’s victories in the by-elections and state elections in Sabah, Melaka and most recently Johor.

In the Johor polls, BN clinched 40 out of the 56 state seats.

Onn Hafiz Ghazi, a descendant of Malaysia’s third prime minister Hussein Onn, was appointed to the position of chief minister, instead of incumbent Hasni Mohammad as promised by Ahmad Zahid earlier.

This has prompted Johor delegates to announce that they would refrain from participating in the debate during the convention.