KUALA LUMPUR – The open declaration by Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak that no one can come between him and vice president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, serves to remind party members on the importance of solidarity.
Moreover, political analyst Universiti Sains Malaysia Professor Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said Najib’s public defence of Zahid against attacks by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently, was a message for Umno members to be there for one another through thick and thin.
Sivamurugan said in the declaration would also prevent possibilities of internal crises.
“What is more important than Dr Mahathir’s remark was for Umno to strengthen the party’s unity by ensuring that no members are influenced by Dr Mahathir’s stand on the Najib-Zahid relations. Open declaration is important to avoid being involved in internal crises.”
The Pakatan Harapan pro-tem chairman had claimed to have met Zahid to help in toppling Najib, when the home minister was appointed as deputy prime minister in 2015.
Sivamurugan said failure to create an effective dissension in Umno would be a blow to Dr Mahathir’s efforts to rock the party.
“If they fail to influence the members, then it is a blow on Dr Mahathir attempt (to overthrow Najib).”
Universiti Malaya political analyst Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said now it would be difficult for the opposition to attack Najib, with Zahid standing to be his boss’ staunchest loyalist.
“As long as Zahid is still the deputy prime minister and a supporter of Najib, it will be hard for the opposition to defeat Umno in the General Election.
“This is a huge blow to Dr Mahathir who failed to frame Zahid as a traitor in the party.”
Awang said any attempt by the opposition to break the good ties between Najib and Zahid had been proven futile so far.
“The opposition are now running out of ideas on how to break the level of trust they have for one another.”
Yesterday in Shah Alam, Najib had said that Dr Mahathir failed to understand that he and Zahid were close and had gone through “thick and thin”.