IPOH, June 19 — Perak Umno leaders believe that former mentri besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir is still the best candidate to lead their party.
Party veterans believe the Pangkor assemblyman should keep his position as state liaison chairman given his strong track record as Perak mentri besar over the past nine years.
They also highlighted Perak Umno’s strong performance in GE14 under his stewardship, where the Malay nationalist party snagged a total of 27 seats — the highest number of seats won by any single party in the state.
Acting Tambun Umno division chief Datuk Aminuddin Md Hanafiah said Zambry’s experience would be valuable to keep the party going, even with age on his side.
“The performance of Perak Umno in GE14 was among the best in the states that we lost. If not for the few seats we lost marginally due to internal bickering, BN and Umno could still form the state government,” Aminuddin said.
“His leadership is also well-accepted among most of the division heads. The only worry is that some of his political enemies might resort to character assassination because he was the former mentri besar.”
The position of liaison committee chairman is appointed by the president and is not part of the coming Umno elections.
In Perak, the committee will include all the 24 Umno division heads, heads from the three-party wings, and appointed positions like the chairman, deputy chairman, secretary and treasurer.
In total, there will be around 30 members of the liaison committee. The person who holds the liaison committee chairman position is essentially considered to be the leader of Perak Umno.
Rungkup assemblyman and Bagan Datuk division vice-chief Datuk Shahrul Zaman Yahya said Zambry still enjoyed strong support among the grassroots.
“When you look at our performance, Umno won 27 seats which were the highest in the state, and this says something,” Shahrul said.
“His experience as a mentri besar will also be vital for us as when we are in Opposition.
“There are so many new things he introduced like the Yayasan Bina Upaya and the Pangkor dialogues. He led us excellently,”
Taiping Umno division vice-chief Datuk Mohammad Zahir Abdul Khalid said Zambry had notched up several successes during his tenure as mentri besar, adding that Perak had seen “tremendous growth” over the past nine years.
“I believe we lost Perak because of a national tsunami. There were many seats which we lost by only hundreds of votes,” he said.
“Zambry has a proven track record and I agree that he will be the best man for the job.”