PETALING JAYA: An Umno veteran who defeated PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang in two elections has called on his party to overhaul the leadership of its Terengganu chapter immediately, starting with its head, Ahmad Said.
With Umno obliterated by Perikatan Nasional in Terengganu during the 15th general election and Aug 12 state elections, former Umno Supreme Council member Abdul Rahman Bakar said the state party leadership must be filled by new faces while older leaders take on a more advisory role.
Rahman, who was dubbed a giant killer for wresting the Marang seat from Hadi in 1986 and 2004, said changes in leadership must also happen at the branch and division levels.
“We need new leadership and new faces, because the old state leaders have already lost (in elections). If we retain the old leaders, it causes people to have the perception that we keep on choosing ‘losers’ to lead the party.
“The older ones can retire to make way for new faces, even at the branch and division levels, so that (Terengganu) Umno would make a comeback with a new spirit,” he told FMT.
Yesterday, Ahmad said Barisan Nasional was ready to contest the Kemaman parliamentary seat again, after PN’s GE15 victory was nullified by the election court, despite BN being wiped out in all the parliamentary and state seats it contested in Terengganu.
The former Terengganu menteri besar himself failed to win the Kemaman seat for BN during GE15, losing to PN’s Che Alias Hamid by 27,179 votes.
However, Rahman said there were several factors that contributed to BN’s failure to win a single seat in Terengganu, adding that it was not just Ahmad’s fault.
“Various factors were at play, not just at the state level. There was also an internal crisis at the central level after many leaders were discarded, and we also lost young voters’ support,” he said.