Ahmad Zahid’s surprise run for Umno No 2

KUALA LUMPUR: Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is mounting an unexpected contest to be Umno deputy president.

He would make “an official announcement soon”, he said when contacted by the New Straits Times yesterday.

Zahid, who is minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of religious affairs, said he was offering himself in obedience to party grassroots.

“They want me to stand.”

He said the feeling on the ground was that International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, another likely candidate for the post, had been abrasive in regard to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the party president.  “He is too harsh in asking the prime minister to step down”.

“In Malay culture, we ask nicely,” said Zahid, a former Umno Youth chief.

He was non-committal about his chances against the more experienced Muhyiddin.

“I reckon I have enough support to at least get the number of nominations required to challenge.”

He was also asked if support from the grassroots meant that they had got over his previous association with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, to whom he was close to when the latter was in Umno.

“I have always been very loyal to Umno and my track record was tainted by the previous leadership of the party.”

Zahid disagreed with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s sacking of Anwar in 1998, which led to his detention under the Internal Security Act.

More in NST article here.

(bold emphasis is mine)

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Alrighty. Of late, since the recent two UMNO supreme council meetings, the jostling and lobbying for the deputy president post have intensified.

The primary suspect, MY (Johor), has now an unusual suspect, AZH (Perak), joining him for the contest with the latter’s public announcement. The other usual suspects i.e. MAR (Malacca) and MMT (Selangor), have not committed themselves to the asylum.. fray.

Remember that old adage “there must not, cannot be any representation without compensation”? Well, let’s have a peek at their respective state contribution to the BN’s stable of MPs, shall we.

Johor – 25 seats including 13 from UMNO victors.

Perak – 13 seats.

Selangor – 5 seats.

Malacca – 5 seats.

Now, apart from lacking party seniority plus experience, how the heck did AZH come to the conclusion that he has the proper credentials to consider himself a potential deputy president-elect of UMNO therefore, by convention, securing the deputy premiership as well?

AZH’s obedience to his grassroots’ aspirations is commendable, giving us the impression that he’s always ‘nice’ to the upper echelons of the UMNO hierarchy as well as those below his stature. In other words, AZH is an exemplary malay who should be fast-tracked up the leadership path.

However, while AZH viewed MY’s behaviour as ‘abrasive’ towards AAB, is he not evidently ‘arrogant’ to a former elder statesman by saying that his track record was tainted by the previous leadership [of UMNO]? If we are to somehow credit AZH for standing up for AI, can we not consider MY’s stand for UMNO reforms as nobly, more crucial for the party, than for the personalities within?

Needless to say, the same elder statesman stood down in deference to UMNO’s well-being. And he was not being nice. Just pragmatic and subservient to political realities.

Sooo.. Keep it simple, stupid.. saudara. If it’s a Hobson’s choice between thieves and rogues, the ideal candidate must be the least tainted with the shallowest pocket.

May the best jaguh kampung win the race.

Update: 2330HR 3/10/08.

What’s this bloke, AZH, smoking lately coz he seems more in a hurry compared to KJ? He must have ‘asked nicely and surreptitiously’ to know for certain that AAB will not be contesting whereas we’re made to believe that the announcement by AAB has yet to be made, at least prior to 9th October ’08. Does AZH know more than everybody else and if so, how come? Or did NTR choose his running mate on the sly.

AZH may have to fold his flag soon enough.

Read more here.