JOHOR BARU, June 13 — In a bold move, a veteran Johor Umno grassroots leader has urged its members to look ahead in reviving the party by backing Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for the party’s presidency come June 30.
However, in calling for Tengku Razaleigh to throw his hat into the ring for the Umno presidency, Tebrau Umno division chief Datuk Maulizan Bujang also called for the party’s acting president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to pave the way for the transition.
Maulizan said Tengku Razaleigh is a capable candidate to helm the party and reminded members that selecting the wrong candidate may slow down Umno’s recovery process and continue to undermine the party.
“Personally, I agree with other colleagues and the majority of Umno members who want the party to vote for leaders who are seen as capable in competing with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and others in Pakatan Harapan (PH).
“I feel that Tengku Razaleigh is the right candidate who meets the criteria as a credible Umno leader who has no issues, no scandals, is honest and most importantly accepted by the people,” he said in a statement tonight.
Maulizan said that he had just met Tengku Razaleigh where he was told that more than half of the party’s division chiefs, including liaison committee chiefs have also met him.
“They appealed to Ku Li for him to offer himself to contest as Umno president in the party’s election on June 30,” he claimed, referring to Tengku Razaleigh’s fondly called name.
Maulizan stressed that this must be done without neglecting the service and sacrifices of Ahmad Zahid as the party’s vice-president who performs the duties of the president.
He said it would be appreciated if Ahmad Zahid followed the sacrifice made by Hishammuddin ,who did not compete for any Umno posts to be changed.
“I hope that my senior colleagues at the highest level of the party can persuade Zahid.
“(God willing), the services of Zahid will be remembered by the sacrifices he makes,” said Maulizan.
Maulizan, a former Johor executive committee member in the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, is among a handful of Johor division leaders who have openly backed the call for a change in Umno top leadership.
The 55-year-old Johor-based politician was previously seen as supporting Tengku Razaleigh as president and also the party’s current vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein for deputy.
However, the latter had announced last week that he will not contest for any party posts.
Last week also saw Johor Umno liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin announcing his intention to contest one of the three posts of Umno vice-president in the party’s election on June 30.
The Pasir Gudang Umno division chief and former Johor mentri besar said the decision was made at a time when the party is at its lowest ebb and to win back the support of the Malays and the people as a whole.