UMNO is at the cross road junction where future leaders to carry the struggle and policies of the party, needed to be determined now. So much at stake at the moment for the nationalist party, now that it is almost the 2/3 majority and backbone for Barisan Nasional’s power base.
It is unlikely that the President and Deputy President posts be contested. Then again, so many party leaders wish that there would be no challenge to the top two posts.
Another ‘no challenge’ posts would probably be for the UMNO Youth Chief, since no one viable has been speculated to challenge incumbent Khairy Jamaluddin. It is currently a wide spread rumour that former Puteri UMNO Chief Azalina Othman would run against Wanita UMNO Chief Shahrizat A Jalil.
It is interesting to note the challenge for top UMNO seats in the coming party election in December has taken its usual life of its own. So far, it is expected that all incumbent Vice Presidents namely Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Dato’ Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein would be defending their seats.
FELDA Chairman and Former Menteri Besar Negeri Sembilan Tan Sri Mohd. Isa Samad and Former Melaka Chief Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Ali Rustam have recently announced their intention to vie for the Vice President seats as well.
More announcements are expected to come. So far some names have been rumoured, to contest for the very strategically placed political post within UMNO at the current internal political scenario.
The dates to remember is 14 September is where all of more than 22,000 UMNO Branches conclude their annual meeting. All the nomination papers are to be filed in by the candidates vying any of the Supreme Council seats on their own to UMNO HQ by 28 September. The qualification to run for any Supreme Council seat which include Vice President is the experience of being a committee member at Division level, at least for one term.
No more the system where these Supreme Council candidates go around and campaign to get nominations from Divisions.
All the UMNO branch delegates would convene for their Division level Annual General Meeting on 19 October and branch delegates attending these meetings in all 191 Divisions would then vote for all Supreme Council seats, simultaneously.
Since an ‘electoral college’ system has been adopted, each candidates must win simple majority at these Division level meetings and the winners are determined from the amount of electoral college votes they manage to get.
The contest for the Vice President is very interesting since the winners would eventually slide upwards as the Deputy President and slot oneself as the UMNO President not to far in the distant. This is based on the notion that many learned that UMNO Deputy President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd. Yasin has indirectly expressed his intention of probably not running for politics after the current parliamentary and UMNO term is over.
Thus, one of the Vice Presidents which UMNO delegates determined by 19 October would eventually take over Muhyiddin’s job.
This UMNO Supreme Council election is actually an opportunity for UMNO to reposition itself in the society, considering that the Malays gave overwhelming support for UMNO candidates in the recently concluded 13GE. UMNO managed to recapture Kedah and Perak state governments and increased its standing in the Dewan Rakyat, at the point where other BN components (with the exception of PBB) did not do well.
UMNO delegates have to strategically decide the right men for these Vice Presidential posts.
If the intention to vote new Vice Presidents in, as part of re-generation of UMNO top echelon, then a lot of consideration must be factored in. If it is even highly possible that Tan Sri Muhyiddin would be throwing in the towel within this parliamentary/UMNO MT term, then age factor should be top of the list or criteria
Muhyiddin is 66 years old. In four years time, he would be 70. Zahid, Shafie and Hishamuddin are now 60, 56 and 52 years old, respectively. Isa and Ali, who are going around nationwide campaigning at the moment, are actually 64 years old. They are actually three parliamentary-terms older than the youngest of the three incumbent VPs.
The two sixty-four blokes are undeniably political ‘has beens’. Ali didn’t even win in his own Parliamentary constituency on 5 May 2013 13GE, where he was humiliatingly defeated by Angkatan Muda KeAdilan Chief Shamsul Iskandar Md. Akin. With the might as the FELDA Chairman, Former Menteri Besar Isa only managed to get 8,614 majority against PAs candidate Wan Aishah in a traditional UMNO seat.
If Isa and Ali think that they would be placed as “One of viable options after Muhyiddin leaves”, then they should consider their own age factor. By then, they would be 68 years old and too remote out of official capacity in the executive branch of the government. Then again, what have Isa and Ali got to offer the Malays as a whole, besides just being popular within certain UMNO quarters.
Party delegates at branch level must be reminded that both of them have been reprimanded by UMNO disciplinary committee for breaching party rules and ethics for campaigning. That would not augur well with the more educated younger Malays, who aspire for leaders who are free from controversy.
‘Viable candidates’ to re-generate UMNO at Vice Presidential level to be slotted in, after Zahid, Shafie and Hishamuddin should be someone who is younger than them. Most importantly, with potential to carry on the struggle of UMNO without neglecting the aspirations of the younger Malaysians, especially the Malays who want to have more vibrant, energetic and strategic leaders.
One of the more active speculation is centred at Kedah Menteri Besar and UMNO Liaison Chairman Dato’ Paduka Mukhriz Mahathir. Six months ago, he was tasked by Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak as UMNO President and BN Chairman to strategise a campaign to take over Kedah from PAS.
Against the odds of challenging the incumbent government, he delivered. BN Kedah managed to form a new state government comprising the mixture of seasoned and newly elected ADUNs. BN Kedah also contributed 10MPs in the Dewan Rakyat, which is 11.4% of UMNO’s standing in Parliament.
However, he has yet to decide and make official announcement on the matter:
Mukhriz mulling MT seat
ALOR SETAR, Sept 4 (Bernama) — Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir said he will announce whether to contest the Umno Supreme Council (MT) seat or not at the right time.
“I have three options to consider. I have to think of my responsibility as the Menteri Besar to develop Kedah and also as Kedah Umno liaison chairman.
“Its a difficult decision to make as candidates have to offer themselves and no longer based on nomination,” he told reporters after chairing the State Executive Council meeting at Wisma Darul Aman here today.
Mukhriz also clarified that articles in blogs saying that he wished to contest for the MT seat did not come from him or his colleagues.
Probably Mukhriz has his reasons for being shy at the moment and using the two most important responsibility that he needed to pay attention at, as a deflection from the media focus on him offering himself.
Then again, he should see this opportunity as a calling for the Malays at national level, since Kedahans gave him so much hope and confidence as an upcoming new leader. The duty to re-generate UMNO and ensure it is politically viable for Malaysia, especially for the Malays and its sustainability to carry on the agenda and struggle of ensure the Malay interests are being looked at and followed through, is paramount.
There is already a precedence for UMNO being re-generated. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad paved the way for Mukhriz to emulate, for providing the hope of the Malays of his time 40 years ago.
After being brought back into UMNO from political wilderness, he offered himself as a Vice President candidate in the 1972 party elections as part of the ‘program to re-generate UMNO’ under the leadership of Tun Abdul Razak Hussein. This is despite not having any political position in any capacity since he lost the Kota Setar Selatan seat in the 10 May 1969 3GE. However, then ‘Dr UMNO’ did not succeed.
After the 1974 4GE, Tun Dr Mahathir won Kubang Pasu seat and appointed Minister of Education by then Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein. Now that he has been proven to earn the trust of the Prime Minister as part of his administration team in delivering a bold new socio-economic and development transformation plan for Malaysia, UMNO delegates voted him as a Vice President.
This should be the same message that how UMNO delegates should view Mukhriz’s strategic role as part of Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s team to move the nation, especially the Malays forward. He could be the leader that would carry on all the strategic agenda which started by Tun Razak, fortified and massively extended by Tun Dr. Mahathir and now continued by Prime Minister Najib’s program to transform and place the Malays in a better position, in line with the transformation plans for the nation.
It is a wise and firm UMNO re-generation succession plan. There is a lot to be offered, with the right man and right plan.