Contest for top Umno post risks dividing party, says Nur Jazlan

Umno runs the risk of becoming divided should its two top positions be contested at the party polls, said a party leader.

(FMT) – Johor Umno deputy chief Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the instances of disunity that occurred within the party after past Umno elections should serve as a warning.

He asked if there was a need to contest the party presidency and deputy presidency at a time when Umno was rebuilding after its poor performance at the recent general election (GE15).

Umno suffered its worst defeat ever in the nationwide polls on Nov 19, winning only 26 parliamentary seats.

“Do we want Umno to split into factions or two teams again, as it did 40 years ago? Umno cannot have another major split, otherwise the party’s survival will be at stake,” Nur Jazlan said in a Facebook post.

In 1987, there was a split in Umno after Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah challenged Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the party presidency at the party elections.

Nur Jazlan urged party members to stop using Umno’s loss in GE15 as an excuse to change the party’s leadership, adding that the responsibility should not be shouldered solely by Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and deputy president Mohamad Hasan but by all members.

“Everyone from the state to division level should be reasonable and turn the defeat into a lesson on how to win back the voters’ hearts and hit back at (the party’s) opponents,” he said. “Remain devoted to the party, even if it means sacrificing yourself.”

The former Pulai MP asked who could become Umno’s new president if the post was up for grabs, and whether the party was willing to have a “coward” or “liberal” as its leader. He said it was easy to demand a change in leadership but that did not guarantee the new leadership would be better for Umno.

Last week, Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan said the Supreme Council had yet to decide on whether the posts of president and deputy president should be contested in the party elections. He said there was still time for the council to deliberate on the matter.

Sungai Besar Umno chief Jamal Yunos had previously proposed that a motion be tabled at the party’s general assembly, which will take place from Jan 11 to 14, barring anyone from contesting the presidency and deputy presidency.

Umno must hold its party polls within six months after the conclusion of GE15.