Even though Umno has introduced changes in the way it elected its top leadership, a former editor thinks it will not result in a changed party.
Some 146,500 Umno members from 161 divisions nationwide will elect the party’s top leadership in line with changes introduced to the party’s constitution in 2009.
In his latest blog entry today, former New Straits Times group editor Datuk A. Kadir Jasin said the October elections will not bring about much change.
“The only way the party will change is if it should lose in the general election,” he declared.
Kadir said there was little hope for any change in the party and noted that the strong elements of resentment which were present during former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration and which had served to hasten his departure from office was relatively non-existent or weak now, although the party had improved on its 2008 general election. However, the Barisan Nasional failed to regain its two-thirds majority.
He said many pro-Umno bloggers who had gone against Abdullah in demanding he leave after the party’s dismal performance in 2008 and the loss of two thirds majority were aligned to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the current Umno president.
Kadir said that the country’s longest serving prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who in 2009 had gone into a do-or-die battle against Abdullah with the help of now deputy prime minister and Umno’s number two, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, has now taken the stand that the party’s top two posts should not be contested.
Muhyiddin, the current Umno deputy president, in fact is said to be not ‘interested’ to challenge Najib as he “is tired” and does not want to be viewed as someone who never saw eye-to-eye with all the prime ministers.
Kadir also does not foresee Muhyiddin contesting for the party president’s post although Najib’s performance is worse when compared with the previous prime minister.
Kadir said another reason for Dr Mahathir’s no contest call was to possibly slam “the door shut” on Kelantan prince and former Umno vice-president Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah from making a tilt for the president’s post.
“Although Ku Li and Dr Mahathir are contemporaries, the later is still active in politics and has become someone whom many quarters look upon for advice and to voice their complaints,” he said.
Kadir said that many elected representatives, especially from Sarawak and Sabah have been known to “liase” with Ku Li and it is possible that the former Umno vice-president may have diffculty making a move for the top post as he may not have the resources to fight Najib’s rich election machinery. – July 21, 2013.