Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (right) leading the charge to unseat Koh Tsu Koon BN chairmanship. (Photo: Flickr/NajibRazak)

Umno is seeking the chairmanship of the Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) now held by Gerakan, saying it is necessary to strengthen the coalition’s position in the state.

Penang Umno Liaison Committee chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the request for the chairmanship was reasonable because Umno held all the seats won by the BN in the state in the last general election.

Umno holds 11 seats while the Pakatan pact of DAP, PKR and PAS, which forms the state government, holds the other 29 seats in the 40-seat state legislative assembly.

“Other (BN) component parties do not hold any (state) seat in Penang,” Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is an Umno vice-president, told reporters Friday night after chairing a meeting of the Penang Umno Liaison Committee, here.

The chairmanship of Penang BN has never been held by Umno. The post is now held by Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.

Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is the Defence Minister, said he hoped that Penang Umno’s desire to take over the chairmanship would be considered by the BN central leadership.

“We are desirous of working for the BN and cooperating with the other component parties to strengthen the BN, not to implement our respective party agendas.

“We are convinced that as a party, it is impossible for us to win (any election) without the support of the other component parties,” he said.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said the request for the chairmanship was not in the interest of any personality but for the sake of the party.

“It is not necessarily so that I, as the chairman of the Penang Umno Liaison committee, will be appointed as the state BN chairman. The post may be held by the state BN deputy chairman or the Opposition Leader,” he said.

On another matter, Dr Ahmad Zahid said he hoped that the post of president of the Penang Islamic Affairs Council (MAIPP) would not be given to a Pakatan representative.

He said a delegation of the Penang State Legislative Assembly would seek an audience with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin soon to convey the matter.

The term of the current MAIPP president, Shabudin Yahaya, ends on Dec 31. — BERNAMA