Issue of ex-Malaysia DPM Zahid Hamidi taking leave not discussed by Umno supreme council

Malaysia's former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is the first serving Umno president to be hauled to court to face criminal charges. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The supreme council meeting of former ruling party Umno on Friday (Nov 9) did not discuss whether Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who faces criminal charges, should take leave from his position as party president.

"There were no discussions (on that matter). There were opinions and we celebrate those opinions," said Zahid, who was formerly Malaysia's deputy prime minister.

"But there wasn't a single person from the supreme council or the youth wing who asked me to take leave," Zahid told reporters after chairing the monthly meeting on Friday.

"However, the youth (wing) pointed out that in its previous youth exco meeting, it only gave a suggestion to be considered by the supreme council, especially the president himself," he added.

Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki previously said it would be unfair for Zahid to be "burdened" with the many duties as party president while facing court cases in the current political climate.

This is the first time that a serving Umno president has been hauled to court to face criminal charges.

In October, Zahid claimed trial to 45 charges of money laundering involving RM72 million (S$24 million) and criminal breach of trust and accepting bribes involving RM42 million.

Talk was rife that Zahid's position would be discussed in the Umno supreme council meeting on Friday.

The Star had, quoting sources, earlier reported that the Umno supreme council is unlikely to demand that Zahid go on leave.

Meanwhile, Zahid said that it is important for Umno to move forward as a political party, adding that its lawmakers are the party's strongest asset.

"We must maintain unity and we are confident that all lawmakers are still together and any decisions must be made en bloc."

"And they (lawmakers) don't want to leave Umno. They want to remain as Umno and Barisan Nasional lawmakers," he said, referring to the opposition coalition led by Umno.

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