The dilemma within Umno over party elections

31 Dec 2022 11:30am
The proposed motion that the party's top two posts will not be contested is still being speculated - FILE PIX
The proposed motion that the party's top two posts will not be contested is still being speculated - FILE PIX
The polemic over whether the Umno president and deputy president posts should be contested or vice versa in next year's party election is escalating when several division heads differed in their views on the proposed motion.

Bachok Umno leader Datuk Mohd Zain Yasim said he agreed with the opinion that the two highest positions in the party should not be contested in the party's election.

He said this is considering that the most important aspect that needs to be defended by the grassroots and party leadership at the moment is the stability of Umno and the country's own politics.

Mohd Zain - FILE PIX
Mohd Zain - FILE PIX

"If there is a change in the party leadership, there is a strong possibility that we will again experience

political instability which loomed over the country after the 14th General Election (GE14).

"All Umno leaders and the grassroots need to realize that even though we are proven to be the king makers, determining the formation of a new coalition government, the fact that we are just a minority party cannot be disputed anymore.

"Enough episodes of power struggle and revenge.

"We need to correct the attitude of existing leaders, apologize to each other and pay a full attention to stabilise Umno because the effort to rise in GE16 must start from now," he stressed to Sinar Premium on Friday.

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Mohd Zain said this in commenting on the view of some Umno leaders who insisted that the two top posts in the party should not be contested in order to ensure party unity.

For the time being, no Umno division has made the decision other than a recommendation from Sungai Besar Umno leader, Datuk Seri Jamal Md Yunos.

However, a number of party grassroots are of the view that both positions should be contested in order to nourish democracy within the party.

On Monday, Umno secretary general, Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan informed that the party had not decided on the matter and it was only discussed in the Supreme Council (MKT) meeting.

However, three leaders of Umno divisions from Johor and Perak, have different views and see a legitimacy for the two highest positions of the party being contested for several different reasons.


For Segamat Umno leader, Datuk Zahari Sarip, no matter what the current situation is, the party should give the opportunity to whoever to compete for whatever position contested in order to strengthen the practice of democracy within the party.

Acknowledging that the move may have its pros and cons, Zahari said he was of the opinion that the best thing for Umno to do is to give the space and opportunity for its members to voice out their concerns and opinions and make a reformation within the party to drive Umno towards the better.

Zahari - FILE PIX
Zahari - FILE PIX

He also revealed that there is a high possibility that the proposal for the two highest positions of the party to not be contested, will not listed in the proposal that will be presented by the supreme council in an Extraordinary General Assembly (EGM).

It is understood that the EGM will be held before the Umno General Assembly (PAU) 2022 which will start on Jan 14 2023.

"I refuse to comment on the speculation that if the new leadership takes over the two main positions of Umno, a shift of Umno's support from the existing government will happen.

"What is important is the party has to nurture democratic practices, especially since Umno is still in its recovery process after only winning 26 parliamentary seats in GE15.

"Let the members decide, however it is not appropriate for democratic practices in the party to be blocked," he said.


Bagan Serai Umno head, Datuk Sham Mat Sahat said he felt that it was not such a big issue to hold elections for the top posts, or that it required a proposed motion by the party's supreme council.

Sham said Umno president, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has received solid support from more than 120 heads of divisions across the country before being appointed as deputy prime minister.

He said he was confident that the Bagan Datuk MP will win comfortably in the party election later.


"Umno already has a culture of not putting important party positions for contest before and it was broken when Ahmad Zahid won the Umno presidency in the 2018 election.

"I think it's fine if the position is contested because Ahmad Zahid has proven himself to still be relevant. Just let the selection process be carried out in a kind of family manner, there should be no personal attacks on certain parties.

"If the two highest positions of the party are not contested, the people will think that Umno is dictatorial and practices closed democracy.

"Perak Umno believes that Ahmad Zahid is a gentleman and will definitely get solid support from the grass roots of the party later," said Sham.

In the meantime, Tanjung Malim Umno acting head , Mohd Zaidi Aziz is of the view that the implementation of the party's election process involving all positions as usual will not destabilise Umno, and the Unity Government.

Mohd Zaidi - FILE PIX
Mohd Zaidi - FILE PIX

"I don't think there will be a shift of support of the 30 Barisan Nasional members of Parliament from the existing government if a new leadership takes over.

"I believe the grassroots will firmly support the Umno president in the next election because in GE15, we did not win all and lose all.

"If we stop the election process, it will be another problem, Umno needs to be honest and sensitive to the sentiments and perceptions of the people," Zaidi stressed.