No-contest for all, if no vote for Umno’s top 2, says delegate

(FMT) – Johor Umno leader has slammed any move by the party not to contest the president and deputy president’s post at the upcoming party polls.

Iskandar Puteri Umno deputy chief Pandak Ahmad said the party should not rely on “party unity” or “party stability” as excuses to forgo contesting the top two posts.

“If Umno really wants unity and stability (within the party), why stop at (not contesting) the president and deputy president posts only?

“Why not extend this to the positions within the party’s branches and divisions? Only then can we safeguard the party’s unity and stability,” he said during his speech at the party’s general assembly at the World Trade Centre here.

Yesterday, Umno Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi told FMT that there was a motion proposed at the general assembly for the top two posts not to be contested at the party’s upcoming election, which must be held by May 19.

He said the motion was proposed by a delegate from Negeri Sembilan and supported by a delegate from Marang, with some delegates heard shouting “boo” when the proposal was made.

“However, there were no ‘boos’ when the delegates from Selangor, Penang and Wanita Umno spoke up in support of the motion,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bukit Bintang Umno division chief Zainal Abidin Rafique in his speech today warned that the public would view the party negatively if the top posts are not contested.

“If this issue is not taken seriously, not only will it impact the party but also the Malay voters out there who are watching us,” he said.

Sources in the know have also told FMT that both Pahang and Perak Umno are in support of the motion not to contest the president and deputy president’s post.

Many in Umno, including a group of division leaders claiming to represent 140 divisions, have spoken against having any challenge to the top two posts ahead of the six state elections which are set to be held this year.

Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan and Wanita Umno chief Noraini Ahmad have added to these calls.

In his speech on Wednesday, Mohamad warned that opening up the top two posts to challengers may cause a rift within the party, especially when the focus should be on rebuilding itself after its poor performance at the recent general election (GE15).