UMNO has been suffering from exodus since GE-14. Recently, the party had a major blow in Sabah. In the state, nine of its 10 assemblymen, five of its six MPs and two senators left the party.
The reason for their departure is due to UMNO’s lack of direction after their defeat in GE-14. Switching its role from government to opposition for the first time caused a paradigm shift in the party. Plus, former UMNO president Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the 1MDB scandal further tarnished the party image.
As an outcome of UMNO Sabah exodus, Datuk Seri Bung Mokhtar Radin was elected as the new Sabah UMNO liaison chairman. Besides, UMNO members have been asking for the party current president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to step down as their leader. Contender for the UMNO presidency during the 2018 UMNO leadership election, Khairy Jamaluddin also voiced his support for Zahid’s resignation in Twitter.
However, Ahmad Zahid has yet to stepped down from his position in UMNO. Instead, he handed over his duty in the party to his deputy, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan.
In the media, Ahmad Zahid spoke the most when it comes to the “UMNO” topic with 647 statements. Whereas, PPBM chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad took the second place with 515 statements. Notably, he said that ex-UMNO members can join PPBM if they are clean and the practice of democracy allow politicians to switch parties.
On the other hand, there is a rumour stating that Pakatan Harapan component parties are recruiting UMNO members to consolidate power in the parliament.
Commonly labelled as the eight Malaysia Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim commented on the rumour, saying that it is a false accusation to strain his ties with Tun Mahathir. Besides, we can see that the amount of statements given by Anwar (3rd place) is half the amount when compared with Mahathir (2nd place).
Anyway, Khairy Jamaluddin who openly voiced his dissatisfaction towards Zahid’s leadership only gave 158 statements, falling behind Nazri Aziz who confirmed that he had a discussion with Anwar regarding UMNO’s fate in the future.
As we can see from the recent crisis in UMNO, it is most likely for the ex-UMNO members to join PPBM. Notable ex-UMNO who switched to PPBM are Mustapa Mohamed, Mas Ermieyati and Rahim Thamby Chik. Neverthelss, UMNO still have its loyalists that will remain in the party. Therefore, it is unlikely for UMNO to be deregistered, instead the party will exist in a smaller scale.