THE leaked audio clip that supposedly featured Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Anwar Ibrahim talking political moves ahead of the next general election is a plot to split Umno, said party leaders.
They said Zahid must take immediate steps to clear his name for his own sake and the party’s.
They added that apart from lodging a police report, Zahid should also take a “sumpah laknat” (Muslim oath to God) to clear his name.
Tanjung Piai Umno chief Jeffridin Atan said the matter should be considered closed as Zahid has denied that it is him in the recording.
“The conversation is normal, like between old friends. Zahid and Anwar are old friends. For me, there is no harm in friends praising each other’s party. It is nothing outrageous for people to be shocked about.
“He is free to talk to anyone. This is not about faith, renouncing a religion. We cannot punish people like this.
“I feel there are efforts to divide Umno members. In the current situation, everyone wants to split up Umno,” he told The Malaysian Insight.
Kuala Nerus Umno chief Apli Yusoff, however, said if the conversation did take place, it means Zahid has gone against the party’s decision.
If the clip is fake, then it is clear there are some who wish to break up the party. “They would be trying to split the central leadership,” he said.
He said the grassroots had at first believed that the audio was an authentic recording of the two leaders talking.
“We did a survey and (we found that) many believed (this was so) but this is a time when anything is possible.
“Thus we have to look at this from all angles and leave it to the police to investigate the audio clip. What is more important is that Zahid has denied it.”
The Umno leaders were referring to an audio clip which appeared to have been leaked online on Tuesday evening. It purports to be a recording of a conversation between Umno and PKR presidents.
In the clip, two people who sound like the two leaders discuss a scheme for the two parties to team up against against the wishes of the Umno members.
In the recent Umno general assembly, Zahid had promised the party leadership would not work with Bersatu, Anwar Ibrahim and DAP in the coming elections.
Zahid and Anwar have denied it is them in the audio clip.
Zahid said the audio clip was fake, released by people who wish to “undermine and destroy Umno”.
Anwar said the clip was leaked to make it appear as though Pakatan Harapan was split.
They have both filed separate police reports over the recording.
Illegal even if authentic
Zahid had previously come under fire for allegedly writing a letter of support for Anwar to show to the king.
Segamat Umno youth chief Bastieen Onn said the latest scandal will raise tensions within the party and annoy the grassroots.
“This is not the first time the question of working with Anwar has come up. Previously, there was a letter circulated and that has to be investigated so that those who are slandering others are arrested and the truth emerges,” he said.
He said Zahid should clear his name and protect Umno.
“People may lose faith in the president otherwise. We have to take care of the presidential institution. This is a major slander,” he said.
Political analyst Awang Azman Awang Pawi said the audio was leaked after the Umno annual general assembly.
He noted that it was released at nearly the same time as Najib Razak’s bankruptcy declaration.
He said there seems to be efforts to punish Zahid and Najib for wishing to cut ties with Bersatu.
He said this shows that there are those who wish to destroy Zahid and Najib’s political careers.
“This is dangerous because it can influence perception of the Perikatan Nasional government and its popularity.
“Moreover, if the audio is authentic, it is illegal as it is a breach of privacy,” he said.
He said the recording is bad news any way one looks at it, including for Zahid, Anwar and even PN, as it has raised doubt and distrust
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT