Reezal Merican, Hasni, Johari best choice for Umno vice presidents - KJ

25 Feb 2023 11:16pm
Khairy Jamaluddin.
Khairy Jamaluddin.

SHAH ALAM - Former Umno youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar describes former Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, former Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Ir Hasni Mohammad and Federal Territories Umno liason committee chairman Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani as the best candidates for the vice-president positions in the party.

The former Health Minister said this amidst a rush of Umno leaders nominating themselves to contest for important positions in the party including three posts for vice-president.

Khairy who was sacked from Umno early last month together with former Umno Selangor Chairman Tan Sri Noh Omar, invited all his supporters and friends in the party to support the nomination of the three leaders.

Khairy's latest statement seems to give an implicit signal to Umno President Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that there was no easy path for leaders alligned to him to control important party positions.

"Reezal, Hasni and Johari Ghani are the best choices for Umno vice-president.

"I hope my friends can support them (at the Umno election this time)," said Khairy to Sinar Premium on Saturday when asked what are the characteristics of quality found in the three leaders to be appointed as the new Umno vice-presidents.

Khairy said it was better to choose a vice president candidate who has a clear stance and idealism.

The Umno vice president position is indeed the main focus of more than 3 million party grassroots following the Umno General Assembly (PAU) 2022 which decided the two main positions of the party, namely the President and the Deputy President to not be contested in the party elections this time.

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As of Saturday, a total of eight Umno leaders including two vice president incumbents have confirmed their candidacy for the three posts.

The two vice-president incumbents who have confirmed their defence of the positions earlier were Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin and former Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

This was followed by Johari who is also a member of the Umno Supreme Council, Reezal Merican, Hasni and Barisan Nasional (BN) secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

In addition, Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail caused a surprise when he volunteered to run for the position, however another vice president incumbent, former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has yet come to a decision.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said will run for the party's third highest position when she confirmed that she had sent nomination form at Umno headquarters in Menara Dato Onn on Saturday.

Azalina's decision sees her becoming the only female candidate who is competing for one of the three vice president's posts.

Umno sources informed Sinar Premium that the selection process this time was quite interesting and intense because of a clash between 'cai' supporters of Zahid and the camp that rejected Umno's cooperation with Pakatan Harapan (PH).

"Reezal Merican, Johari and Hasni are believed to represent 'team B', while Dr Zambry, Khaled, Wan Rosdy and Azalina were understood to have received Ahmad Zahid's blessing to represent 'team A' to compete for the vice-presidents position this time," revealed the Umno source.

On Friday, Umno election committee chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad explained that the nomination process for the party's election at the central level and all divisions was running smoothly and is expected to improve in terms of nominations by the registration deadline on Feb 26.

"Until yesterday (Thursday), a total of 11,369 candidates have already registered to compete at the central and also division level throughout the country.

"Of that number, 270 candidates for positions at the central level include members of the Supreme Council, Women's executive committee, Youth as well as Puteri Umno.

"On average we can see many new faces," he told reporters.