Seven in contest for Umno’s top post (Updated)

KUALA LUMPUR: For the first time in Umno history, seven candidates have filed nominations to contest the president’s post, making it the most heated party polls.

Three other candidates have filed nominations for the deputy president’s position while nine candidates are going for the three vice-president’s posts.

However, in announcing the nominations, Umno executive secretary Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusof declined to reveal the names of the candidates.

“All names of qualified candidates will be announced tomorrow (Monday). The names will be submitted to the Insolvency Department to ensure that no bankrupt candidates contest in the party polls,” he told a press conference today.

Ab Rauf said a total of 121 nominations have been filed for the 25 supreme council member positions while there were three nominations for the post of permanent chairman and 14 nominations for deputy permanent chairman.

As of 5pm today, a total of 612 nominations were received by the elections secretariat after Umno opened all positions for contest in this party elections, to be held on June 30.

The presidency will see a narrow fight between Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is acting president, Gua Musang Umno division chief Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, who initially wanted to contest for a vice-president position.

Among the four other names filed for the top post, is businessman and blogger Rahmat Azim Abdul Aziz.

According to a party insider, the three unknown candidates have not held any prior positions in the party, which automatically disqualifies their nominations for the presidency as the party constitution states that contenders for the top posts must have served as a supreme council member or division committee member for at least one term.

An unverified list that surfaced on the internet after the nomination announcement stated that the three other names contending for the president’s post are Rosili Saat from the Bangi division, Mohamed Iqbal Maricair from the Bandar Tun Razak division and Mohd Yusof Musa @ Jamaludin from Umno Iskandar Puteri.

Meanwhile, a three-cornered fight for the deputy president’s post will see Umno Information chief Datuk Seri Annuar Musa, former Negri Sembilan mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and an as yet unidentified individual vying for the position.

According to sources, the third nomination for the deputy president’s post was filed by former Johor mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

“While there are no internal camps within Umno, there should be respect for the senior members. Khairy is being too ambitious. He should have waited for his chance to contest the president’s position.

“It is too early for him to go for the president’s post, he should have gone step by step from vice-president to deputy president before he goes up to president,” the insider said.

Umno saw an embarassing defeat in the May 9 general election, leading to Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s resignation as president on May 12, following which Ahmad Zahid announced his candidacy for president.

For the women’s wing, a total of 103 nominations have been filed, including four for Wanita chief, six for deputy chief, one for permanent chairman and four for deputy permanent chairman.

There were 240 nominations filed for Umno Youth wing positions, including nine nominations for Youth chief, nine for deputy chief, 12 for permanent chairman and 12 for deputy permanent chairman.

As for the Puteri wing, there were a total of 101 nominations, including four for Puteri chief, six for deputy chief, one for permanent chairman and two for deputy permanent chairman.

On whether fugitive Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos will be allowed to contest after escaping from police custody, Ab Rauf said: “He is innocent until proven guilty.”