PETALING JAYA: Umno Supreme Council member Johari Ghani has called on the party to get a mandate from members on its future leadership.
At a time of conflict, the members’ mandate is needed because they are the best ones to determine the party’s leadership for its own benefit, Johari said in an interview with Malaysia Gazette.
He noted that at the moment, there are two groups within the party.
“There are some that say party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi cannot be held solely accountable (for the party’s defeat at the general election) because he was the only party president that was not a prime minister.
“Others say it doesn’t matter if he was or was not. Here’s where we have a conflict. We need to go back to the grassroots. Because they will determine whom to trust,” he said.
Johari said the reason he supports the party elections was because he believes the grassroots should be given the opportunity to choose its leadership.
“When they are given that opportunity, they will be happy. They’ll be satisfied with the outcome. They’ll admit that the best person (to lead) was determined by the majority, be it Zahid, or anyone else.”
Johari said before any discussion about who should contest is brought up or about strategy, the party first needs to fix a date for the polls.
“If a date for the contest is not set yet, then how are we going to decide (to contest or not)?” he said, adding that all talk about strategy should be brought up after a date is decided.
Johari said there’s no such law in the party that says members should announce their intentions to contest before a date for the polls is decided.
“There’s no such rule in Umno. Tell us the date, then we’ll submit the forms. There’s a lot of positions available. Open the forms, set the date. Then people can decide,” he said.
Earlier today Umno information chief Isham Jalil advised party members to “make it known” if they intend to contest for the party’s top leadership positions.
“There’s no need to hide or discuss the matter behind the scenes,” he told reporters. He said the party’s leadership had no intention of preventing anyone from contesting the positions.
He also denied claims that there were moves to prevent others from challenging Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and deputy president Mohamad Hasan.