No Contest in Umno Election Contest

It is certainly interesting to watch the public calls for no contest to Umno’s top two posts – President and Deputy President. Tun Mahathir made the most bewildering comment where he supported no contest for these two posts. But it was his reasoning that was bewildering.

“Going by the democratic practice, we should have contests but Malaysians do not really understand the practice. If they lose, they will quit the party and set up another, causing the Malays and Umno to split further.

“In this connection, I support contests, but not for the two top posts of president and deputy president.” (read here).

When Tun M referred to “Malaysians do not really understand the practice”, he really meant the Umno Malays since the context of his comments was on Umno election, not on the Malaysia General Election. His description of the following statement about quitting the party is probably the allusion to Tengku Razaleigh during the 1987 Umno election but it is not accurate as he did not quit the party because of losing. It was Umno which was deregistered and subsequently to that, Tun M registered Umno Baru and removed all of Razaleigh’s supports from the Cabinet, thus forcing him to form Semangat 46 in 1988 after an earlier rejection of the name Umno 46. It was Tun M’s vindictive actions to penalize Razaleigh and his supporters that caused the split. The then Umno President took immediate actions to prevent a repeat of a close contest to his top post.

This is probably a case of selective memory to build a supporting reason for Tun M’s comments to support a no contest for the top two Umno posts. Quite typical of Tun M’s style for speaking off the cuff and justifying what he says based on his own version of events.

PM Najib touted that Malaysia had the “best democracy” in the world. That is really a joke looking at now with the mooting of no contest for his Umno post. How is it that Malaysians can accept democracy in the country but Umno as a party cannot? Why is it that Najib can seek a mandate with Malaysians but cannot do the same within his own party?

Remember, Tun M called for open contests in 2008 to challenge Pak Lah. Tun M also alluded to Najib being ousted if he did not win the 2/3 majority for BN. Now, Tun M is singing a different tune to suit his agenda, whatever that may be.

Principally, if there is no contest in any election, there might as well not be an election. Why selective to just the top 2 posts? Why not all posts? Why not no more General Election for that matter? Once you have gotten the top posts, cancel all future contests so that you can stay there forever. Is this not how a dictator behaves? That the post is his choice and not the verdict of the members of the party?

All Malaysians and the world are watching the moves of Umno as it proceeds towards an AGM with party elections in mind. What is said by Tun M and some other Umno leaders in support for no contest for the top two posts in Umno is not widely accepted by the other leaders and grassroots. If there is a decision for no contest for the top 2 posts in Umno, there should just be a freeze on all posts. Why limit it to the two? Otherwise, it should be an open contest for all posts.

Those who are watching closely understands that Najib is trying to stay as President of Umno as that position automatically assumes the Prime Minister post since BN won more seats than Pakatan Rakyat. All the maneuvering by Najib is to avert a clash with Tun M and garner his still influential support to help Najib keep his seat. A no contest is the surest way of doing it.

But a true leader who has the party at heart should never be afraid of being challenged for his post. He will leave it to the members to decide if he should stay or step down. However, Najib is not willing to step down at this time. He wants more time but has his track record with the party and members given him the clarity of mandate? The answer can only be seen in an open contest for his seat as President of Umno.

Will Umno make a sham of their party elections or will they stand up to be viewed as bold, progressive and mature as a party? After all, Umno has been around since 1946 but the present Umno Baru was formed in 1988. Semangat 46 was disbanded in 1996 and subsequently the members rejoined Umno Baru.

Regardless of the split and the new party, the members remain the same. So after all these years, are they not mature to argue and debate out the merits of the candidates for all the positions rather than avoiding any contests to just the top 2 posts? Are Umno members as pathetic as Tun M has described them being immature and unlearned of democracy? This is not the first time Umno is having an election and it will not be the last time.

Conspiracy theories are rife with sidelined but very respected and vocal Umno leader Tengku Razaleigh as well as Vice President Muhyiddin Yassin preparing to mount a massive contest for Najib’s post. The nominations may not work in favor of Tengku Razaleigh as shown in 2008. But we will never know unless there is a true open contest for all posts.

If Najib has no contest for his position as President of Umno, he will remain as the leader without Umno mandate. He will be misconstrued as one who is weak and afraid of valid challenges in a party who can abandon democracy on whims and fancy.

PM Najib, be a man and a true leader and be bold to face any contests to your position and fight on the merits of your leadership and contribution and vision for Umno. Unless you know that there is more than merits to win the contest.

We shall continue to watch this pan out.


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