PETALING JAYA: Bersatu secretary-general Hamzah Zainudin is believed to be one of the main contenders for the party’s top post should Muhyiddin Yassin decide not to contest in its upcoming elections.
A source from Bersatu said Muhyiddin has for quite some time now told party leaders of his intention to take a back seat.
“He will likely skip the polls and become an adviser to the party,” said the source, adding that Hamzah has strong support from the Bersatu members to lead the party.
The source also said Bersatu deputy president Ahmad Faizal Azumu is expected to defend the number two post as he does not have sufficient influence to challenge Hamzah.
“Contesting the top post might backfire on Faizal as his reputation within the party has been affected after leading the Perikatan Nasional chapter in Negeri Sembilan.
“In comparison, Hamzah has proven credibility and holds multiple posts, including Larut MP, opposition leader, as well as Bersatu and PN secretary-general,” the source said, adding that it would be an “easy win” for Hamzah.
In May, Bersatu postponed elections to its Supreme Council and the party’s various divisions for up to 18 months to focus its efforts on the Aug 12 six state elections. The postponement, however, does not apply to branch elections.
The source said that according to the party’s constitution, only members who have served on the Supreme Council for two full terms can contest the party’s “top five” posts.
He said Hamzah, Faizal, Wan Saiful Wan Jan and Radzi Jidin fulfil the requirement.
However, another Supreme Council member, Azmin Ali, is ineligible to contest as he was appointed to the position. This is unless the party’s constitution is amended, he added.
FMT has reached out to Hamzah for comment.
Bersatu information chief Razali Idris, however, told FMT that party leaders will only meet to decide on the elections after the conclusion of by-elections for the Pulai parliamentary seat and Simpang Jeram state seat in Johor on Sept 9.
“The sooner we resolve minor issues on the amendments (to the constitution), the earlier the party elections will be.
“We are currently organising the party’s branches and divisions. We are planning to make some changes to the rules and a few amendments concerning (party) elections,” he said, without elaborating.