KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — A relatively unknown Umno member has offered to contest the party’s president’s post, claiming the party has zero leadership and is bankrupt of ideas on how to revamp the Barisan Nasional (BN) lynchpin party.
Entrepreneur and blogger Rahmat Azim Abdul Aziz, also known by his online moniker as “Mat Umno” is aiming straight for the top post — confident that he can breathe new life into the now-wavering party, which was defeated for the first time in its over 60-year rule by Pakatan Harapan (PH).
According to Rahmat, current acting Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is himself a blind follower, and not capable of leading the party back to its former glory.
“Zahid has been there for so long. He still doesn’t know what to do, because we had too many followers and right now, they have no leaders to follow,” Rahmat told Malay Mail in a recent interview.
“Now the follower has to become the leader, and he doesn’t know what to do. So what’s going to become of Umno?
“You must differentiate loyalty to a person and loyalty to party. Every one of Umno members must be loyal to party. You are responsible to your party, not your president,” the Kota Raja Umno member added.
Zahid recently announced his intention to contest the party’s presidency and is yet to see another contender for the post, with Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah yet to make a decision.
On his part, Rahmat has pretty much worked out his leadership plans for the party, and has also compiled a manifesto — which, among others, pledges to reform Umno’s party constitution and to establish a so-called “Umno University”.
He also wishes to form a council for “normal members”, to represent only the interests of party members who hold no position, and to restructure Umno at the state and division levels.
His arch-nemeses at the moment, however, seems to be former prime minister and ex-president Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Zahid — with the latter bearing the brunt of his criticism.
Mat Umno’s main peeve with Zahid? That the latter had visited Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, allegedly to seek advice on how to lead Umno. This, he said, was an insult to Umno itself.
“Zahid called Mahathir a ‘kutty’, and now you go and see him. You said this is the kutty’s son who wanted to destroy the nation, but you must remember it was this kutty’s son who elevated the country and the Malays and put them on the international stage,” he said.
In July last year, Zahid claimed that Dr Mahathir was of Indian descent, with the latter’s “real name” supposedly Mahathir a/l Iskandar Kutty.
“Which other Malay prime ministers have done that? You criticise him, and then you went to see him. That says a lot.
“Why does Zahid need to see Tun? He’s asking for advice. An acting president went and saw an Opposition leader for advice. What does it tell you? Umno has no leadership,” Rahmat added.
The 46-year-old claimed he is in a better position to lead the party, having seen its development and downfall, and recognising its weaknesses and strength.
But despite his eagerness, a massive barrier may face Rahmat and his ambition.
It is unclear if Rahmat’s application will even be accepted, as one of the rules to contest the president’s post requires its prospective candidate to be an Umno supreme council member for a minimum of one year.
Rahmat, however, has only been a grassroots member of the party.
Despite the somewhat dim prospects, Mat Umno still seemed rather upbeat for the party polls.
“The reason I offered myself to be a candidate is due to Umno only. I’m not interested in what the leaders did before. I’m interested in how to revamp Umno.
“My views might be very sarcastic, very different, but that is what the members see. You must understand, nobody wants to see Umno go down the drain,” he added.