PETALING JAYA: Umno deputy presidential candidate Mohamad Hasan has sought to forestall any speculation that he and presidential candidate Khairy Jamaluddin are contesting as a team in the party polls.
Speaking to FMT, the former menteri besar of Negeri Sembilan said he hoped Umno members would evaluate candidates as individuals and according to their abilities instead of looking at relationships between them.
He acknowledged, however, that there might be a tendency to see him and Khairy as a tag team because they both belong to Umno’s Rembau division. He is the divisional chief and Khairy is his deputy.
“Khairy did ask me to stand for president, but I didn’t want to do so,” he said. “So he said he would stand for president because he feared that if the party didn’t put up a new face, the members would say there is no change.”
Mohamad claimed that he had, before the recent general election, planned to take a step back from active politics in the event of a Barisan Nasional victory, but afterwards decided against it because he felt that Umno needed leadership.
He described himself as resolver of crises, citing his corporate as well political experience.
“When I became menteri besar in 2004, Negeri Sembilan was in a state of insolvency,” he said. “I had to borrow money from the federal government to pay salaries and complete sport complexes because we were set to host the Sukma Games.”
Before the May 9 polls, he said, he had reduced the state’s debts to Putrajaya from RM2 billion to RM700 million, boosted cash reserves to RM500 million and put in place development plans for the next 30 years.
“I consider myself a crisis manager,” he said. “That’s why I’m more inclined to contest the deputy president’s post because I can sit down and focus on reorganising, rebuilding and transforming Umno.
“We can’t practise the management ways of old, which were based on patronage. The youths want to see an organisation that is professional and progressive.”
He quipped that the rebuilding of Umno could well start in Rembau.
“Who knows? Umno may revive from Rembau. Khairy is young. He can go all over the country. I can sit down with my corporate experience, rebuild and transform Umno from the headquarters.”
The Umno polls will be held on June 30.