PETALING JAYA: Umno members considering running for the three vice-presidential posts in the upcoming party elections are taking a wait-and-see approach, according to an analyst.
Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara told FMT he believed potential candidates were looking for signs that would show whether incumbent Ismail Sabri Yaakob would decide to defend his position.
The other vice-presidents, Khaled Nordin and Mahdzir Khalid, have already confirmed that they would.
Nominations are drawing to a close and Umno election committee chairman Shahrir Abdul Samad has said none had come forward to vie for a vice-president’s post.
Azmi said party leaders who had shown interest, such as Supreme Council members Johari Ghani and Azalina Othman Said, might declare their candidacy once the incumbents had made their intentions known.
“It is a wait-and-see strategy, and those who choose to contest will be labelled either anti- or pro-Ahmad Zahid Hamidi,” he said, referring to the Umno president.
It has been reported that Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, former Johor Umno chief Hasni Mohammad and Supreme Council member Shamsul Anuar Nasarah were eyeing the vice-presidency.
Another analyst, Azmil Tayeb of Universiti Sains Malaysia, predicted that the three positions would remain unchallenged.
“I think it follows the existing practice of not allowing challenges to the top two posts,” he said, referring to the Umno general assembly resolution against contests for the posts of president and deputy president.
Azmil said it was important for Zahid to consolidate power in lower-tiered leadership positions such as those in the Youth, Wanita and Puteri wings because they had access to rank-and-file members.
Nominations for the Umno elections started on Feb 13 and will continue until Feb 26. The elections for Wanita, Youth and Puteri posts will be held on March 11. Division officials and members of the Supreme Council will be elected on March 18.