Posted: 17 Jun 2013 08:42 PM PDT
Several analysts say that the growing calls of no contest for Umno's top two posts is an attempt to conceal the divide in the party.
Nottingham Malaysia University analyst Zaharom Nain said that it did not matter whether Najib or Muhyiddin led Umno as the right wing faction in the party is getting stronger.
G Vinod, FMT
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is attempting to keep the divide within Umno under wraps with his call that the top two posts in the party not be contested, said political analyst Khoo Kay Peng.
He said that after Barisan Nasional's poor performance in the general election, Umno is undergoing a period of uncertainty and is currently mulling two options.
The options are whether to become more Malay centric in its approach or to convert BN into a single party for all races.
"Mahathir is trying to keep the fight between the respective factions in support of either options within Umno's walls.
"If there is contest for the top posts, the battle may come out in the open and the party will become a target for its opponnents," said Khoo.
Yesterday, Mahathir backed the growing calls within Umno circles to leave Najib Tun Razak and Muhyiddin Yassin to remain party president and deputy president respectively.
He said the contest for the top two positions would split Umno, like what happened in 1987, when then Umno vice-president Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah challenged Mahathir for the presidency.
"Going by the democratic practice, we should have contests but Malaysians do not really understand the practice.
"If they lose, they will quit the party and set up another, causing the Malays and Umno to split further, " Mahathir was reported as saying.
Khoo said that at the end of the day, it did not matter who was helming Umno as the real decision makers in the party would be its supreme council members.
"The real focus should be on its supreme council as they will decide on which direction the party president will have to take.
"So even if Najib wants to push forward his liberal ideas, his fate will be determined by the supreme council," he said.
However as a democratic party, Khoo said Umno members should allow contest for all posts in the party."And Umno will see 150,000 of its delegates participating in the party election this time around," he added.
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