Analysts predict Azalina is about to create Umno history

17 Mar 2023 07:30am
The Umno election for the 2023/2026 session will witness a tight race between candidates eight candidates vying for the position of vice president of the party - BERNAMA
The Umno election for the 2023/2026 session will witness a tight race between candidates eight candidates vying for the position of vice president of the party - BERNAMA

SHAH ALAM - Although the election for the highest position in Umno, especially the vice president seat, will only take place this Saturday, political analysts predict that three leaders with great potential will be the main choice of representatives, namely Datuk Seri Azalina Othman, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, and Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani.

Deputy head (strategy) of UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Asia Office at Sunway University, Professor Wong Chin Huat said, Azalina's chances of winning one of the three Umno Vice President seats are bright because she is the only woman running for the position.

Chin Huat stressed that the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department also has her own privileges as the only female leader of the highest calibre,after the retirement of the former Umno Women's Chief, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.

"Azalina is also one of the most active ministers in the cabinet led by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Her cooperation with the Home Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, also led to the amendment of the Constitution to enable Malaysian female children born abroad to obtain citizenship.

"With Azalina's determination against Sulu relatives in defending Malaysia's sovereignty and assets, she has a work record that can win the hearts of both women voters and nationalist voters and restore Umno’s image as a competent party to govern the country," he told Sinar Premium.

The Umno election for the 2023–2026 has eight candidates vying for the position of vice president of the party.

Two of the candidates are the incumbent Mohamed Khaled and the former member Padang Terap MP, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

Apart from Azalina and Johari, the other four candidates are Kepala Batas MP, Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, Pahang Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail, former Johor Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Hasni Mohammad, and Mohd Yusof Musa@Jamaludin, who are members of Umno Iskandar Puteri Division.

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In the meantime, Chin Huat also did not deny that it will be a tight race between candidates such as Mohamed Khaled, Johari, and Hasni to in seizing the three positions of Umno Vice President, thus bringing a new narrative to the party.

Senior Fellow of the National Council of Professors, Dr Jeniri Amir, is of the view that, apart from Azalina, Mohamed Khaled's chances of winning are good because he is not just the incumbent but is seen as the right-hand man of Umno president, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Jeniri also predicted that the third Umno vice president seat would be filled by Johari because the Titiwangsa MP has his own influence in the party even though he is not considered a leader aligned to the Umno presidential camp.

Similarly, political analyst from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Dr Mazlan Ali, sees Azalina, Mohamed Khaled, and Johari as the likely candidates compete to fill the three vice president positions because they have their own influence and can help the Umno president restore the party's image after losing badly in the 15th general election.

Mazlan said the chance of Wan Rosdy and Hasni winning is difficult because their influence at the national level is far behind that of Mohamed Khaled, Azalina, and Johari.

"When the two highest positions of the party are not contested, then all members will fully focus on the election of the Umno vice president and the supreme council.

"Party members will look at the vice president candidates seriously because they are the replacements for the president when Ahmad Zahid steps down later," he said.