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KUALA LUMPUR: Umno needs dynamic
leaders so that the party is relevant in the eye of the public, in
particular the younger generation, says a political analyst.
Assoc. Prof Datuk Zainal Abidin
Borhan said the party should offer more credible faces to contest for
three vice-president posts, so that people would know that Umno is a
party that is ready to transform and be progressive and led by leaders
“This is not about popularity
anymore. Leaders who wish to contest for the vice-presidency should
remember that the post is meant to be the ‘lidah penyambung’ (extension)
for the president and his deputy.
“Lower-ranked Umno members shouldn’t
be afraid to criticise and rebuke the top leadership if it is deemed
necessary. This way, the people will see the party as one that is not
afraid of being critical for the sake of the country,” he told The Mole.
Zainal Abidin was asked to comment
on several Umno figures who had expressed interest, or speculated, of
challenging the incumbents for the Umno vice-presidency.
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and Datuk
Seri Mohd Hishamuddin Tun Hussein have declared that they would defend
Among the "big names" speculated of
joining the fray are former vice-president and former Mentri Besar of
Negri Sembilan Tan Sri Isa Abdul Samad, another former vice president
and former Melaka chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and Sabah
chief minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
Without denying that these names had
what it take to challenge the incumbents, Zainal Abidin said it would
be good if Umno could offer more faces for the vice-presidency because
the contest does not only concern Umno delegates but the nation as well.
“Umno needs dynamism…Umno needs good strategy on how to deal with the new voters since it did not do so well in the 13th General Election. That is why the party needs to prove to the public that it is still a player.
“And this is also why Umno needs
credible leadership,” he said, adding that failure would result in the
party looking "less" since the Pakatan Rakyat is seen as more
According to Umno information chief
Datuk Ahmad Maslan, 146,500 Umno delegates from 191 divisions nationwide
will elect the party leadership at year end as provided for in the
party's constitutional amendments.
Universiti Utara Malaysia political
lecturer Mohd Faisol Keling predicted that this year’s party election
would be interesting since Umno members are assessing the party’s
performance based on the May 5 general elections.
“Members will be evaluating these
candidates for vice presidency based on their performance and issues
that revolved around them.
“If they think the candidate fits
the criteria to lead Umno for the next challenging five years,
definitely they will choose the person,” he said.
In the recent general election, Umno
remained as the leading party in Barisan Nasional after it secured 88
seats, one seat less compared with collective seats won by Pakatan
Rakyat, the loose opposition pact comprising Parti Keadilan Rakyat, DAP