“No factions within UMNO this time around,” Zahid insists

THERE are no factions within UMNO as the country’s grand old party heads for its internal elections, and such a situation will hopefully restore the party’s chances of survival.

In fact, nominations this time around demonstrated the vigour of democracy within the party, as evident by the number of UMNO members who had submitted nomination forms, said party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“Any candidate who feel that they are eligible to run [for any of the contested positions] can submit their forms and the subsequent process for each of the nominations will be decided on March 11 and March 18,” he told Utusan Malaysia.

“Seeing as to how many UMNO members had sent in their nomination forms, it is hoped that this will restore UMNO’s chances of survival in the next general election.”

Zahid further told the Malay daily that he had not seen any factions within UMNO. Rather, the fact that more party members had submitted their nomination forms was a clear indication of democracy being rejuvenated within the party.

Zahid’s statement was a stark contrast to his disclosure in Dec 2018 that the party has split into five factions after it lost power for the first time in its history.

In a Malaysiakini news report on Dec 18, 2018, Zahid said that the first of these factions comprised those who want to maintain the status quo and not ally with any other parties.

The second group wanted to join forces with a party in Pakatan Harapan (PH), while the third wants to join forces with another PH party that has collaborated with DAP (it was believed that Zahid was referring to Bersatu and PKR respectively).

The fourth faction wanted UMNO to join forces with PAS in the Opposition bloc, while the fifth group wanted to form a new grouping altogether, not only in the Opposition but as a “grand” coalition.

Rumours abound

Previously rumours were aplenty about the existence of several factions within UMNO, among them a pro-president faction and an anti-president faction.

Rumours of these factions had begun heating up following the passing of a no-contest motion for the posts of president and deputy president in the upcoming UMNO party polls.

The no-contest resolution means that Zahid and Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan will remain as UMNO president and deputy president respectively for another term.

Utusan Malaysia further reported that as at 4pm yesterday (Sunday), among those who had submitted their names for the UMNO vice president post are Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said and Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail, who are said to be among those in the pro-president faction.

Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir, who on Feb 24 announced that he was offering to run for the vice president post, had announced via a Facebook post last night that he had withdrawn from the race after taking into consideration his official duty as the Foreign Affairs Minister in the Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim-led unity government.

Datuk Seri Hasni Mohamad and Datuk Seri Reezal Merican, meanwhile, are said to be in the neutral faction. According to the news reports, both had refrained from throwing their support behind any faction and are merely trying their luck at securing a win for the vice president post.

Other contenders who are vying for the vice president post are Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid who is said to be merely defending his seat while not belonging to any of the factions, and Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani who is a first-time candidate. – Feb 27, 2023


Main pic credit: Bernama

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