Umno supreme council member Ismail Sabri Yaakob can capitalise on information chief Annuar Musa’s suspension as Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) chairperson to secure a future spot as a party vice- president, said an analyst.
Universiti Sains Malaysia professor Ahmad Atory Hussain speculated that both were eyeing to become one of the elected Umno vice-presidents.
“Some people want to aim for high positions such as the vice-presidency, like Ismail who is a strongman of Pahang Umno and party president Najib Abdul Razak.
“He wants to get strong support from Umno members in the future because there is likely to be two vacancies for the Umno vice-presidency.
“Annuar wants to become a vice-president too… but now that (Annuar) has taken a hit, he (Ismail) will have a better chance,” Atory told Malaysiakini.
There is currently a power vacuum in Umno following former vice-president Shafie Apdal’s decision to quit the party.
Meanwhile, another Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has taken on the role of de facto deputy president, leaving Hishamuddin Hussein as the only remaining vice-president.
The Umno party elections was supposed to be held last year, but has been postponed to 2018.
Atory was commenting on whether there was a spat between Annuar and Ismail, who oversees Mara as the rural and regional development minister.
Annuar yesterday said Ismail had consented to the meeting to suspend him, without his presence.
The suspension is reportedly to facilitate investigations into allegations that PMB and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) sponsored the Kelantan football team, which Annuar is linked to.
Ismail, however, said the Mara board did not want Annuar present because the meeting was about his conduct.
Last week, the two had issued conflicting statements about whether UniKL acknowledged the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC).
Atory said such rivalries in Umno were not unusual.
National Professor’s Council political cluster chief Mohamed Mustafa Ishak, however, said talk about the two jousting for the Umno vice-presidency was just speculation.
Nonetheless, he said if Annuar is found guilty of the allegations against him, it would damage his chances at running for a higher post in Umno.
“If he is found to be innocent, there is no problem,” he added.
Both Atory and Mustafa believe that Annuar’s position as Umno information chief is jeapordised now due to his suspension.
They also believe the move to suspend him as Mara chairperson would reflect positively on Umno.
“It is a brave decision to answer the call by the public to respond to issues regarding corruption,” Atory said.