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Monday October 14, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday October 14, 2013 MYT 11:37:09 AM
by mazwin nik anis AND razak ahmad
PETALING JAYA: The voting trend at the just concluded Umno wings’ election indicates that grassroots delegates are reluctant to vote for change in the top positions.
This suggests there is a strong possibility of a status quo being maintained for the vice-president’s line-up at the party’s supreme council election.
Party observers believe that the incumbents – Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein – would have the upper hand on Oct 19.
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and Wanita Umno head Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil sailed through to retain their posts despite fierce challenges and talk of unhappiness over their leadership at the wing’s election last Saturday.
Early results showed that Khairy and Shahrizat did not just win big in the electoral college system, but also the popular votes from almost all of the divisions that voted for them.
Observers had credited Khairy’s and Shahrizat’s victories to the power of their incumbencies.
Universiti Teknologi Mara political analyst Assoc Prof Shaharuddin Badaruddin said he expected the same trend to take place when delegates make their choice for their vice-presidents and supreme council members.
He said two categories of candidates would have an advantage this Saturday – the incumbents, especially in the race for vice-presidencies, and those who hold positions in the government such as ministers, deputy ministers and mentris besar.
The three vice-presidential posts are being challenged by Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, Datuk Paduka Mukhriz Tun Mahathir and Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam.
However, observers pointed out that the challengers were “no pushovers” as they too, were well known among the delegates.
Isa had served as the Negri Sembilan mentri besar for 22 years and is currently the Felda chairman while Mohd Ali’s 14 years service as Malacca chief minister has also made him a familiar name.
Mukhriz’s position as the Mentri Besar and Umno chief in Kedah has also given him a high profile.
“Those contesting for supreme council positions and who hold government positions also get more publicity, making them more well known compared to those without positions,” said Shaharuddin.
Of the 62 who are contesting for the supreme council’s 25 seats, 17 hold senior positions, either as mentris besar or chief minister, ministers or deputy ministers.
Umno veteran Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Rahman also agreed that the incumbents for the vice-presidents’ race would have an advantage, but said “a slight change was possible”.
Aziz is basing his observation on the fact that the challengers are themselves strong leaders.
He expects the results of the supreme council’s election to reflect the transformation efforts that party president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had put in place.
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Politics, umno election, Politics, Government, Umno polls
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