Questions over Mukhriz’s credentials for Umno VP

(MM) – Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir’s candidacy for an Umno vice-president’s post has come under scrutiny, with some questioning whether he is qualified since he is not a supreme council member.

Mukhriz has suddenly become the “centre of attention”, and is seen either as a threat to the “comfortability” of the incumbents or as a candidate who is able to unseat one of the three.

Incumbents — Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal — have welcomed the challenge, but at the same time, Ahmad Zahid said aspirants should seek party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s advice first.

The Kedah menteri besar’s candidacy may have the backing of the grassroots who want to see Umno sail into a new era — particularly as he is former party president Tun Dr Mahathir’s son — but there are also some who do not want him to displace the incumbents.

Curiosity has also knocked the minds of Opposition parties, particularly Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), with party secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail taking the trouble to ask if Mukhriz is qualified to contest.

“I have no ulterior motive in asking about Mukhriz’s eligibility as I just want to know what criteria are stipulated in Umno’s new ruling on candidacy,” Saifuddin said.

Mukhriz’s political secretary Datuk Azimi Daim, in an attempt to clear the doubts, took pains to find out and came out with a clear definition of the new ruling.

“He is qualified to contest in accordance with the new ruling, which requires an aspirant to hold a position of an office bearer in a division or the exco in one of the wings,” he said.

“Mukhriz is an Umno Youth exco member which already qualifies him to contest.”