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Sunday September 22, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday September 22, 2013 MYT 11:34:31 AM
Getting ready: State Umno party workers arranging the nomination papers at the nomination centre at Politeknik Seberang Perai, Bukit Mertajam.
PETALING JAYA: The days of Umno division chiefs being returned unopposed seems to be over.
With the revamped party nomination process which makes it easier for just about any member to contest party posts, hundreds are joining the fray at divisional levels nationwide, except Sarawak.
Even the most influential of division leaders who have been unchallenged for over 30 years, including ministers, deputy ministers, members of Parliament and state assemblymen, are facing contests.
While most of these divisions will see either a straight fight or three-cornered fight, a few divisions will see up to six people contesting the top post.
Those who won their divisional posts uncontested include Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (Pekan), Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (Pagoh), Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Khaled Nordin (Pasir Gudang), Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein (Sembrong), Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob (Bentong) and Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir in Jerlun.
Influential figures who are facing challenges include long-term Gua Musang division Chief Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Johor Baru division chief Tan Sri Shahrir Samad. Both have until now never been challenged in their divisions.
Tengku Razaleigh, 76, who has held the post for 33 years, is being challenged by the division’s Youth chief, 33-year-old Datuk Bazlan Badaruddin who said he was contesting for broke as he wanted to make sure democracy was alive in Umno.
Shahrir who has been Johor Baru division chief for 31 years meanwhile, is facing two challengers, Jalan Utama Kampung Melayu branch chairman Zulkifli Ismail and Taman Suria branch leader Datuk Ahmad Kemin.
Other big names who would now have to work extra hard to defend their division posts are Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman in Sabah.
Shafie will be locked in a three-cornered fight with a former assemblyman, Datuk Harman Mohamad and ordinary member Nixon Abdul Haji for the Semporna chief’s post while Anifah is being challenged by Matli Ayub, a committee member in his Kimanis division.
Meanwhile, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who has held the post of Bera division head in Pahang since 2004, is being challenged by his former political secretary, Datuk Mohd Azizan Che Omar for the division head’s post.
In Negri Sembilan, Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamad Hasan is being challenged by former Chembong assemblyman Datuk Rais Zainuddin while former Rembau Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, who is also Youth and Sports Minister, won the post of deputy division head uncontested.
In Johor, 16 of the 26 divisions in the state will see contests for the top post while in Negri Sembilan, all divisions will see contests.
Kelantan will see 12 of its division chiefs having to defend their post while in Kedah, 11 of its 15 divisions will see contests.
In Penang, eight of the 13 divisions in the state will see contests for the top post, including in Bayan Baru where incumbent Datuk Abdul Rahim Saibu is being challenged by his deputy Mansor Musa.
In Sabah, 17 of its 25 divisions will see a contest for the number one post while in Perlis, the top post of all three divisions will be contested.
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Politics, division chiefs
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