Results show Umno willing to change – analysts

AN ANALYST says the line-up of diversified winners from the Umno elections shows the party is willing to change.

Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said Umno members have delivered a message through the ballots that emphasised rejuvenation of the party.

“The Umno members have made their decision, not that they don’t like or disrespect the president, but they think the party needs to diversify in order to be rejuvenated.

“That’s why we see a mix of three groups winning the polls – the pro-president, anti-president, and neutral,” he told FMT, without naming anyone into the category.”

Yesterday, the official results saw Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail, Khaled Nordin and Johari Ghani win the three vice presidents’ posts, toppling five other candidates, while Tengku Zafrul Aziz, Isham Jalil and Lokman Noor Adam joined the list of the 25 elected to the party’s Supreme Council.

Umno election committee chairman Shahrir Samad, announcing the names of the three vice-presidents at a media conference, also noted that 54 division chiefs out of the 187 elected were new faces, which reflected “the dynamic changes happening within Umno”.

Azmi opined that the new leadership line-up sent a good signal to non-Umno members for the upcoming state elections.

“It means that Umno is willing to change, willing to elect new leadership, and ready to have a breath of fresh air. As I see it, it’s good for Umno,” he said.

Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs said the new line-up hints at the sentiments of Umno’s divisions.

On Johari winning his first party leadership role, Oh said: “it shows a desire in Umno for technocratic and non-controversial leaders like him.”

Johari came in third with 110 delegates’ votes, with Pengerang MP Azalina Othman behind him at fourth place.

“She (Azalina) could have hurt her chances with her abrasive and straight-talking style which some in Umno may not have appreciated,” Oh said.