All positions in party should be contested, say Umno delegates

KUALA LUMPUR: Several Umno delegates have expressed hope that all positions in the party are contested during the party elections, which need to be held by May.

In the debate sessions during the Umno Youth and Wanita general assemblies today (Jan 12), the delegates urged for the election “platform” to be opened to everyone in the party and that it was a democratic practice that should continue.

Melaka Umno Youth spokesman Fairul Nizam Roslan said he was confident that Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was a leader with a “big heart” who would not block the practice of democracy in the country’s largest Malay party.

"I am sure the president has a big heart. We know who took care of our party when under pressure. The youth (wing) knows who has sacrificed a lot for the party.

"The youth knows who betrayed the party. Don't be upset and in doubt, open the platform (and) the youth will make the right choice," said the Asahan state assemblyman when debating the policy speech by Umno Youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.

Negri Sembilan Umno Youth spokesman Muhammad Sufian Maradzi said that no agenda should be set in having certain positions not to be contested in the next polls.

"We remain loyal to the party's struggle, and we are not running away. But let's not be ‘tied down’ so as not to hold an election (for certain posts) because we are confident that if our leadership has taken care of the party properly, God willing that leadership will continue to be elected by the delegates," he said.

Muhammad Sufian, who is also the Negri Sembilan Umno Youth vice-chief, said after the severe defeat suffered by Umno and Barisan Nasional in the 15th General Election (GE15), it was time for Umno to change its course in line with the wishes of the people.

"We are not being ‘naughty’, but this is our view. Let us nurture this democracy as we nurture parliamentary democracy in our country because outsiders including young people will be looking at what Umno’s struggles are after GE15," he said.

Pahang Wanita Umno spokesman Datuk Juhanis Abd Aziz, in debating the policy speech by Umno Wanita chief Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad, requested for all positions be contested in the Umno polls this time.

Jokingly, she said: "If you want to have a contest, don't have it ‘sekerat-sekerat’ (in bits and pieces), the lower (positions) ones are told to be contested, don't do it sekerat-sekerat, it's not nice," she said.

Prior to this, there have been proposals for two of the party’s highest positions - president and deputy president - not to be contested in the next election.

But Ahmad Zahid said he was open to being challenged by anyone for the number one position.

Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said the competition for the party's top post could, to some extent, cause internal divisions, but he was also open to accepting the challenge to defend his position.

At the Umno special general assembly on May 15 last year, the party amended its constitution to allow its elections to be held no later than six months after the general election. - Bernama

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