KUALA LUMPUR – July 3, 2015: Several Umno grassroot leaders have acknowledged that the postponement of the party’s election was proposed by them.
Observers were of the opinion that the postponement of the triennial party election which was scheduled next year is a strategic move to whip the party into shape before going for the next general election.
It was nonetheless not welcomed by certain quarters in Umno, especially those who were opposing the leadership of party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Selangor Umno secretary Datuk Johan Abdul Aziz informed The Mole that the election postponement decision, made by the party’s supreme council members was made based on feedbacks from grassroots leaders.
“The top leadership have been engaging the division chiefs from all over the country in small-scale meetings since before Ramadhan. Many of them have expressed similar sentiments,” said Johan.
Yesterday, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussien said it was the grassroots that wanted the party elections to be deffered till after the next general election.
“If we have the party election now, then it would only continue to injure Umno.
“This is so because instead of focusing on strengthening the party, fellow Umno leaders would be too focused in rallying support for themselves.
“I had made such a proposal (to postpone the party election) because if Umno was to lose in the next general election then it would be meaningless to secure any position as we cannot rule the country,” said Nasaruddin.
Concurring with Nasaruddin was Kapar Umno deputy division chief Datuk Saruni Judi who said that “Umno is in shambles due to various inner party crisis”.
He said the postponement of party election was vital for Umno’s survival.
Saruni added that the negative response from several party leaders over the postponment proved that they were only using the party to serve their own interests.
“So, now the top leadership know who are truly sincere to strive for the party’s cause and who are not,” said Saruni.
He also cautioned the “rebels” in Umno to re-evaluate their stance because it would be almost impossible for Umno to stand up again if they lose in the next general election.
“We don’t need to look very far. Just take a good look at (opposition-held) Selangor, Penang and Kelantan.
“No matter how bad the state government is, the people will still vote for them,” he said to The Mole.
On June 26, Najib said that Umno supreme council had decided, in accordance with Article 10.16 of the party’s constitution to postpone the party election by its permitted 18 months from the date it was supposed to be held next year.
He pointed out that the decision was not unusual because it had also been made during the leadership of past party presidents Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.