10-cornered fight for Umno vice president candidates?

04 Feb 2023 08:00am
The fight for the Umno vice president post  is expected to involve 10 leaders this March - FILE PIC
The fight for the Umno vice president post is expected to involve 10 leaders this March - FILE PIC

SHAH ALAM - A heated battle is expected for candidates who have set their eyes on the Umno vice presidents posts, as Sinar got wind that a total of 10 leaders are vying for the golden seats, to climb ranks and sit among the upper echelons of the party.

Following the announcement after the party's supreme council last week which had decided for the nomination of the division and branch levels to be open from Feb 13 to Feb 26, the focus of over three million party members will definitely be directed to who will fill these coveted posts.

The 15th General Election (GE15) results which was not in favour of Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) will also see the position of three incumbent vice presidents namely the former prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin and former Rural Development Minister, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid as no longer safe

The massive purge of its notable members and leaders by Umno last week has already created two main factions, namely the 'PWTC camp' which is pro Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the camp which wants the two top posts to be contested according to party rules.

Among the three incumbents Mahdzir's position seems to be most fragile as compared to Khalid and Ismail who had both secured parllamentary seats in the 15th General Elections.

However, Mahdzir's defeat is not expected to prevent him from defending his position.

"For Tok Det (Mahdzir), unofficially I can say he will defend not only the position of Umno division leader, but even his Umno vice president seat ," said Umno Padang Terap division vice chief, Datuk Badrol Hisham Hashim.

Meanwhile, its been confirmed that Khaled will defend his position os one of the party's vice president in the party polls.

This is expected as he had managed to win the Kota Tinggi parliamentary seat in GE15 and was appointed as the Higher Education Minister in the the Unity Government.

His chances to win and to also retain his position in Umno seems bright according to some political analysts.

Moreover, the Umno Pasir Gudang division chief was trusted to be Umno Johor chairman by the party leadership to replace Simpang Renggam Member of Parliament (MP), Datuk Ir Hasni Mohammad who was suspended.

When contacted, Khalid refused to brag about his chances and considered all competing candidates in the party polls as having equal opportunities.

"The outcome of the election depends on the choice of the grassroots and I leave it entirely to them to determine it," he explained.

Apart from Ismail Sabri,Khaled and Mahdzir, seven other party leaders have their eyes set on the vice president post including Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, Federal Territory chairman Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani, outgoing Umno Youth Chief Datuk Seri Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki , Simpang Renggam MP Datuk Hasni Mohammad and BN Communications Director, Datuk Seri Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah.

Also expected to compete is BN secretary general, Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Parliament Affairs), Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

Meanwhile, Zambry when contacted insisted that he was still making an assessment as to whether it would be possible to run for the position of vice president or defend his position as a supreme council member.

"What is important is any position that is contested, should be contested as family and not lead to the division of party members.

"I am confident that all party members will give the best assessment and will vote qualified candidates to bring the party forward.

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"All parties should walk together to ensure that Umno can move forward with the current leadership," he said

Umno Pontian division youth chief, Helmi Buang revealed the grassroots of the party have not been informed about any wishes of its division leaders, namely Hasni and Ahmad that they are competing for the vice president post.

"If they want to compete, I think both are worthy and have their own credibility. We have to wait for an announcement from them," said Helmi.

As for the party's vocal and outspoken youth chief Asyraf, he said he was still contemplating and taking a wait-and-see stance before making a final decision.

“That's just a rumor. I haven't made a final decision yet (whether to compete vice president or MKT member)," he said.

Lastly, a source close to Shamsul Anuar confirmed that the Deputy Home Minister has given hints that he would be trying his luck to run for the vice president post.