KUALA LUMPUR: Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will not be attending Kongres Maruah Melayu due to prior commitments, despite expectations for the top party leader to be present at the event.
Instead, Umno will send a delegation led by party secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa to the Sunday event in Shah Alam as a show of support for championing Malay-centric causes.
“I am already scheduled to open the Malacca Umno convention as well as the Umno Puteri retreat programme (on Sunday),” Zahid said.
Kongres Maruah Melayu will feature among others, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. It is expected to discuss various Malay issues, including the economy, implementation of affirmative action and the community’s future roadmap.
The congress is organised by Universiti Malaya, Universiti Teknologi Mara and Universiti Perguruan Sultan Idris. Umno and Pas had earlier received a formal invitation to the event. Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has confirmed his attendance.
There has been speculation among political observers over whether Umno would accept the invitation, following the scheduled presence of ruling party Dr Mahathir, who is also Pakatan Harapan chairman.
“We accept the invitation as it is organised by institutions of higher learning and Umno might be able to contribute on matters relating to the Malays.
“We will take an open approach when it comes to the development of Malays,” Zahid told a media conference today after chairing his party’s supreme council meeting.
On a separate matter, Zahid, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman has confirmed that the party would contest in the Tanjung Piai by-election but had yet to determine its candidate.
“We are carrying out a study (on fielding BN candidate). I have already met MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong on the matter.”
The Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election is taking place following the death of its incumbent representative Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik.
In the 14th General Election, BN’s candidate Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng lost by a mere 524 votes in a three-cornered fight against Md Farid and Pas’s Nordin Othman.
Several MCA leaders have urged for the party’s candidacy for the seat to be retained.