KUALA LUMPUR – Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has expressed support for a proposal that the top two positions in the party should not be contested during the party elections next year.
This is to keep Umno’s focus solely on the 14th general election and to prevent certain people from pitting the party’s two top leaders against each other, he said.
“The most important thing for us is that the Umno machinery and leadership, at all levels, focuses on GE14.
“If it means that the top two posts remain uncontested because there has been a motion at the division level for these posts not to be contested, then I’m supportive of that,” Hishammuddin said in an interview ahead of the party’s annual assembly.
Umno’s party polls was supposed to be held last year, but was postponed by 18 months to allow the party to prepare for the general election.
The party is led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as president, but the position of deputy president is vacant after the party suspended Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin from the position in February last year.
Umno sacked Muhyiddin four months later and party vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was appointed by the supreme council to carry out the duties of the deputy president.
The Masjid Tanah Umno division, during a meeting in August, passed a motion calling for the top two positions in the party not to be contested when the party elections next come around.
Hishammuddin said a no-contest rule for the top two positions would also help maintain party unity.
“It prevents people from trying to pit Zahid against me, Zahid against the Prime Minister or me against the Prime Minister,” he said.
On his relationship with Dr Ahmad Zahid, he said it was good.
“I think at the end of the day, we both realise that the party needs the three of us to be intact.
“I would not be making a personal statement about the position of the president and deputy president if I did not mean it,” he said.
However, Hishammuddin added, the matter would not be raised during the Umno assembly as a motion.
“I made it very clear to the speakers that we should not touch on Umno’s upcoming elections because it is now too close to the general election,” he said.
Hishammuddin urged voters to consider why it was important for Barisan Nasional to get support from all the races in GE14.
“If we win the next general election, I would like to have a reasonable representation of non-Malay votes because we are all stakeholders in Malaysia.
“My biggest fear is not Barisan losing in the general election, but winning without the support of the non-Malays,” he said.