130 Umno division chiefs back Zahid amid calls for him to step down

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KUALA LUMPUR – Some 130 Umno division chiefs want party president Zahid Hamidi to continue helming the party amid calls for his resignation.

The division chiefs from around Malaysia held a “Solidarity for President” gathering at the Riverside Cafe next to Umno’s headquarters at Menara Dato Onn in Kuala Lumpur at about 3pm on Thursday.

“We advise our friends who have doubts, concerns or are still deciding whether to support the president to return to the fold. We accept them with open arms. We want a united Umno, as we won only 26 seats,” Wangsa Maju division chief Mohd Shafei Abdullah told reporters.

“We will be facing a disastrous future if we do not unite,” he said.

Acting as spokesman for the group, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafei said 90 division chiefs attended the gathering, with 40 others expressing their support for Zahid.

There are a total of 191 divisions in Umno.

Mr Mohd Shafei also expressed regret that the MCA, MIC and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) have signed a no-confidence letter against Zahid as Barisan chairman.

Zahid arrived at about 3.45pm to meet the division chiefs before leaving about half an hour later without speaking to the media.

In the just-concluded general election, Barisan Nasional won 30 seats. Apart from Umno’s 26, the rest were from MCA (two seats) and one each from MIC and PBRS.

It was Barisan’s worst election performance, resulting in calls from a number of Umno leaders for Zahid’s resignation. They included former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Selangor Umno chairman Noh Omar, former Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan and Johor Menteri Besar Onn Hafiz Ghazi.

Meanwhile, a separate group calling themselves the “President Supporters” earlier gathered outside Menara Dato Onn at about noon.

The group, led by political and economic analyst Ramalan Yunus, said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has expressed his wish t...

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