Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mukhriz or Khairy... for Next UMNO Youth Head?

Who could be the next UMNO Youth leader?

Singapore - TODAY 04 April 2008 0852 hrs (SST) 0052 hrs (GMT)

HE DECLARED full support for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after Malaysia’s ruling coalition Barisan Nasional suffered its worst electoral defeat, but Education Minister Hishamuddin Hussein may now no longer feel that way.

His announcement that he will not defend his portfolio as the youth chief of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) is an indication, one analyst told TODAY.

“After due consideration, the time has come for me to state my intentions. I’ve led the Youth section for 10 years and the time has come for me to move on and let others lead the movement,” he told reporters.

“I’m not relinquishing my position now but I’m announcing my intentions early so that people can move forward,” he was quoted as saying by news website

Both Mr Mukhriz Mahathir, son of former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and Mr Khir Toyo, former Chief Minister of Selangor, have since declared their intentions to run for the post of UMNO youth chief if Mr Hishamuddin resigns.

Said political observer Dr Ahmad Nidzamuddin of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia: “The strength of Pak Lah support is loosening. Hishamuddin’s move proves that.”

“Hishamuddin is eyeing the higher position of UMNO vice president,” said Dr Ahmad. “He is preparing for the possibility that Najib Razak (Deputy Prime Minister) would contest for Umno president should Pak Lah resign at the UMNO general assembly in December.”

Any of the three vice presidents of Umno can be appointed as Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister. One UMNO VP post is currently vacant.

“If Najib becomes president, he will choose Hishamuddin who is his cousin,” added Dr Ahmad.

Mr Hishamuddin is the son of Malaysia’s third Prime Minister Hussein Onn, and the grandson of UMNO founding member, Onn Jaafar.

But political observer Dr Maznah Mohamad disagrees that the move is a snub against Pak Lah, since it is well known that Mr Hishamuddin wanted a higher position even before the general elections.

Will Pak Lah’s son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin also vie to be the next UMNO youth chief?

“Before the election, the natural choice would be him but not now because he is not well-liked within UMNO,” said Dr Maznah.

Mr Hishamuddin has also downplayed Mr Khairy’s chances when he said that there is no “tradition” for the deputy to take over as chief.

Dr Maznah thinks that Mr Mukhriz stands a good chance because he is the closest thing that UMNO has to a fresh face that can give the party a boost in public support. TODAY/sf


Current youth leader is future National Leader...

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