UMNO open to taking back ousted members if they appeal, says party president Ahmad Zahid


Ahmad Zahid, who is also Malaysia’s deputy prime minister, said during his speech that he had recently met with former prime minister Najib Razak at the Kajang prison for one-and-a-half hours, where they had breakfast together.

He did not reveal what was discussed at the meeting but said that the party’s supreme council was committed to ensuring justice for Najib.

Najib became the first Malaysian premier to be imprisoned after Malaysia’s Federal Court in August last year upheld a guilty verdict and a 12-year prison sentence handed down to him by a lower court.

Najib, 69, can no longer challenge the conviction in court, but he has applied for a royal pardon which if successful could see him released without serving the full 12-year prison term.

Ahmad Zahid also said that after Najib’s imprisonment, three of his children had shown up at the UMNO general assembly. 

“God-willing, there will be more ‘Najibs’ who will be present on stage in the future to continue his struggles,” said Ahmad Zahid.

On the upcoming state elections in six states, Ahmad Zahid said that seat negotiations are in their final stages.

He said that once parties in the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition finalise their seat negotiations among themselves, they would meet with Pakatan Harapan (PH). 

UMNO is part of the BN coalition which won 30 of the 178 seats they contested during the elections. UMNO has 26 seats. 

“There will be no negotiations among parties but between coalitions. It should be done by the end of this month, depending on the availability of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim,” said Ahmad Zahid.

After the last general election resulted in a hung parliament, Barisan Nasional became part of the unity government led by PH, together with Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) and Parti Warisan.

PH chairman Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as prime minister on Nov 24 last year.

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