KUALA LUMPUR: The Umno supreme council has appointed 25 members to head newly created divisions in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah in a move that has also resulted in the reshuffling of the leadership of some of its existing 165 existing divisions.
The party also dropped four division chiefs from Kelantan to make way for new leaders “to strengthen its position ahead of the coming general election.”
In announcing the changes after chairing the party supreme council meeting at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday, Prime Minister and Umno acting president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the changes and appointments were made following a lengthy process that stretched back to the establishing of pro tem committees for its 190 divisions more than two months ago.
“We hope (Umno) members will not object (to the changes and appointments). We have not done this in a cincai-cincai (lackadaisical) manner.
“We have discussed this at length with the aim of ensuring the best for the party; not for any individual, group or gang,” he added.
The appointments, he said, would not have any bearing on the choice of candidates for the election.
Among the notable appointments are Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib (Kelana Jaya), Datuk Seri Mohamed Khir Toyo (Sungai Besar), Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakub (Indra Mahkota), Datuk Hishamuddin Tun Hussein (Semberong), Datuk Khaled Nordin (Tebrau) and Tan Sri Othman Aroff, who takes over from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Kubang Pasu.
The state liaison chiefs of Federal Territory, Pahang and Selangor have been asked to lead two divisions each.
Datuk Tengku Adnan Mansor (Federal Territory) will lead Putrajaya and Seputeh, Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakub in Bentong and Indra Mahkota, and Dr Mohamed Khir in Sungai Besar and Serdang.
Puteri Umno chief Datuk Azalina Othman Said has been appointed vice-chief of Pengerang.
Abdullah said the decision of the supreme council was final and members would not be able to appeal.
“It is final. We cannot please everyone but we must hold on to party unity and discipline,” he said, adding the decision would take effect immediately.
He said the party headquarters would send a list of the changes and appointments to all state Umno liaison committees soon.
Commenting on the supreme council’s decision to replace the division chiefs in Kubang Kerian, Kuala Krai, Bachok and Pasir Mas in Kelantan, Abdullah said minor adjustments were necessary because the opposition ruled the state.
“Should we not do anything? Or should we make some minor changes, or some drastic moves? We decided some minor adjustments are necessary,” he added.
He said the adjustments in Kelantan were proposed by state liaison committee chief Datuk Mustapa Mohamed and supreme council members from Kelantan, including Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Datuk Annuar Musa, agreed to the changes.
The four Kelantan leaders who are replaced are Datuk Ibrahium Ali (Pasir Mas), Datuk Shahbudin Mohd Noor (Bachok), Datuk Wan Zaid Wan Abdullah (Kuala Krai), Tuan Mohd Hashim Tuan Yaacob (Kubang Kerian). They are replaced by Datuk Romzi Abd Rahman (Kuala Krai), Datuk Dr Awang Adek Husin (Bachok), Datuk Ahmad Rosli Ibrahim (Kubang Kerian) and Datuk Rahim Abdul Rahman (Pasir Mas).
Mustapa said the Kelantan liaison committee appreciated the contributions of the four chiefs who were replaced.
“But the supreme council wanted to see a new partnership between the old and new. I hope they will accept the decision for the good of the party and continue to work for Kelantan,” he added, saying that the changes showed that Umno was determined to recapture Kelantan from PAS.
Abdullah, when asked why there were no changes in Terengganu, which is also held by the opposition, said state liaison committee chief Datuk Idris Jusoh felt it was not necessary to make any changes.
“We hope the leaders will accept the decision made by the leadership. It is not an act by the president, or the secretary-general but a collective decision by the supreme council. It is not a meeting where we bulldozed others’ view,” he said.
The other new appointments include Datuk Dr Ibrahim Saad (Batu Kawan), Datuk Omar Fauzar (Bukit Gelugur), Sharani Mohamed (Lenggong), Datuk Omar Osman (Cameron Highlands), Datuk Mohamed Aziz Jaafar (Kuala Krau), Datuk Mohamed Hajani Rahman (Bera), Datuk Noh Omar (Tanjung Karang), Datuk Mohd Arif Mohd Yusuf (Pandan),
Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed (Kota Raja), Datuk Zulhasnan Rafik (Setiawangsa), Hashim Rusdi (Rasah), Datuk Mohd Hassan (Rembau), Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusuf (Masjid Tanah), Yaakub Mohd Amin (Tanggal Batu), Datuk Wira Mohd Ali Rustam (Bukit Katil), Baharom Mohamed (Sikijang), Hamzah Ramli (Ayer Hitam), Datuk Abdul Hamid Rahman (Simpang Renggam),
Harun Abdullah (Pengerang), Datuk Mohd Ali Hassan (Pasir Gudang), Datuk Nasir Safar (Tanjung Piai), Adam Abdul Hamid (Kulai), Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia (Kota Merudu), Datuk Uzir Yahya (Sepanggar), Datuk Seri Paduka Yahya Hussin (Putatan), John Ambrosa (Penampang), Datuk Karim Bujang (Kimanis), Datuk Ghani Mohamed Yassin (Pensiangan), Shamsul Baharun Abdul Rahman (Silam) and Datuk Johar Mahiruddin (Sapi).