KUALA LUMPUR: Umno vice-president Johari Ghani has called on the party to choose the most suitable candidates for the next general election.
He advised party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to identify candidates as soon as possible, regardless of whether the 16th general election (GE16) is held in four and a half years, should the current government serve its full term.
“Mr President, identify the candidates as soon as possible, not at the last minute,” he said in his winding-up speech at the 2023 Umno general assembly here.
Johari said candidates should be groomed well before the polls and given the opportunity to work closely with the party’s grassroots members.
“We (Umno) can’t have a recognisable party but with no recognisable candidates,” he said, adding that the candidates should also undergo a yearly performance review in their constituencies.
Johari said Umno must also assemble and improve its machinery well in advance to GE16 as failure to do so would result in a poor performance at the polls.
Johari warned that there were no more “safe seats”, adding that Umno would have to improve if it hoped to win more seats.
At the general election last November, Umno won only 26 parliamentary seats, its lowest-ever representation in the Dewan Rakyat.
Its dismal performance at the elections showed that Umno was at its lowest point, said party vice-president Khaled Nordin.
“The best remedy for the party now is unity among its members,” he told the general assembly.