KUALA LUMPUR, January 11 – UMNO is expected to announce whether the party’s President and Deputy President positions will be contested or not, next week. The party’s internal sources, however, are of the view that it is difficult for the position of President currently held by Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to be challenged by any party. When Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid is now the Deputy Prime Minister and is the President, it is very difficult for any individual to fight him,” the source told Sinar Harian on Monday.
The source added that, in UMNO, it is very rare that the positions of President and Deputy are not contested. But rarely do people compete. When the time comes, not many people compete (President and Deputy positions). It used to be like that,” he said. He said that the President of UMNO had also ‘opened the court’ for the first and second highest positions of the party to be contested.
Previously, several parties voiced the view that the party’s two highest positions should be contested, among them the UMNO Youth Movement Exco, Datuk Muhamad Muqharabbin Mokhtarrudin who thought it should be done for the sake of the party’s dignity. Day by day, it is getting louder and louder that a special motion will be discussed and then approved in the assembly, namely that the positions of President and Deputy President are not contested in the next UMNO Election.
“If it is true that there is an effort to prevent the two positions from being contested, UMNO is seen to be losing its direction and identity in the struggle,” he said in a statement. However, Johor UMNO Deputy Chairman, Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed has the opposite view and wants the party’s highest office election not to be held. Nur Jazlan also informed that throughout the history of UMNO’s 70-year establishment.
Only four presidential elections took place involving Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and Ahmad Fuad Hassan (1951); Tun Hussien Onn and Sulaiman Ahmad (1978); Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tengku Razaleigh Tengku Mohd Hamzah (1987) and Ahmad Zahid and four challengers (2018). Ahmad Zahid later in his press conference was reported ready to be challenged by any candidate in the competition for UMNO’s number one position in the upcoming election.
The Member of Parliament for Bagan Datuk said that he had previously been challenged by two candidates, but the combination of votes of the two candidates was not able to compete with the votes he got.