Ahmad Zahid made his comeback as UMNO president on June 30. According to him, he decided to return as the party president on the fateful day as it was the first-year anniversary of him being elected to the position.
The UMNO president went on a garden leave on December 18 last year amidst his graft charges and the mass exodus of UMNO Sabah.
His position was temporarily handed over to UMNO deputy president Mohamad Hasan for about six months, from 18 December 2018 to 30 July 2019. During Hasan’s leadership, UMNO attained victories in three by-elections – Cameron Highlands, Semenyih and Rantau.
Nevertheless, Zahid’s surprise comeback was not the news that brought him back into the public eye. On June 26 and 27, he was slapped with another seven and thirty-three charges respectively, by the Session Court.
It is also interesting to note that for the past one-week, the top media that wrote news articles on Zahid Hamidi were Sinar Harian (24 news articles) and Utusan (22 news articles). Whereas, other mainstream media like The Star, Berita Harian, New Straits Times and others produced less than 10 news articles each on the UMNO president.
News portals Malaysia Gazette and UMNO Online were the most active websites to provide coverage on Zahid, with 14 news articles each.
Zahid’s return as UMNO president after the new charges involving corruption and bribery seems to be defeating his initial purpose of stepping aside from the party, which was to avoid being a liability to UMNO.
On the other hand, he might lose his influence in UMNO if he were to be absent from the party for too long. Did Zahid make the right decision in making his comeback in June?