Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as party president and Prime Minister but at the same time, all party posts in Umno should also be open for contest, including the president's post.
Umno leaders who call for the top two incumbents Najib and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin - to be returned uncontested are doing a big disservice to themselves, to the party and to democratic contest.
open contest, there can be no renewal and Umno, being the biggest party
in the country, needs to periodically renew itself before the members
All leaders must face the members periodically and
offer themselves and win a new mandate, and other members, in
accordance with the party's constitution, must have a right to offer
themselves as candidates.
This is basic democratic renewal, this
is the way all democratic political parties the world over renew
themselves and their leaders.
This is the basic tenet in any
egalitarian political party and an election is what promotes constant
renewal of leaders and keeps them relevant.
Besides, this time
around and with changes to the party constitution in 2009, nearly
150,000 branch members will pick their top leaders and not just 3,000
delegates as previously, thus negating unsavoury practices such as money
This is not to say that Najib will not be re-elected
as president if he offers himself as candidate nor is there any other in
Umno, for the moment, of equal stature.
Najib took charge in
2009 and formulated a new vision for the country and led Barisan
Nasional into the election battle against a formidable opponent, Pakatan
He won and went on to form the Government, and the people now expect him to continue with the job of governing.
can be disappointed with the results and he can be unhappy with the
level of public support for his Government, but the people have spoken
and he has his own mandate, albeit a reduce one, and he has the business
of government cut out for him.
He should just offer himself to
contest for the Umno president's post and just take whatever Umno
members and delegates decide and should not be distracted by calls for
the top two posts to remain uncontested.
Frankly, these people
who are making the call are not only monopolising the issue but also
preventing others from a free and open contest and renewal.
In this regard, the recent stand by Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob to reject such calls for the posts to be uncontested is truly commendable.
is a democratic party, he said, and should preach inclusiveness if it
wanted to remain relevant to youths and to the educated.
"I do not agree with such calls," he said. "It will show that we are becoming autocratic."
He was quick to add that his stand on the issue did not mean that he was being disloyal to both Najib and his deputy Muhyiddin.
are genuine fears in Umno that an open contest would lead to camps,
internal bickering and politicking, all of which would weaken the party.
There is also a strong desire that Umno has to be strong and united to weather the challenges of an altered political landscape.
leaders want the party to close ranks after a bruising GE13 battle and
remain united and focused on the battle for GE14, which is only five
They want the party to avoid internal conflicts and
urge everyone to close ranks and avoid contests, preferably for the top
two party posts while agreeing to open other lesser posts for contest.
They also point to Pakatan Rakyat leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,
who is claiming massive fraud in the elections and is continuing to
organise Black 505 rallies that they alleged are aimed at overthrowing
"Can we afford to allow internal contests in Umno
with so many things unsettled? It will only benefit them," said an Umno
leader, referring to Pakatan Rakyat.
Point taken, but this is to
assume that all contest in Umno would lead to internal chaos and
dissension although such cases are aplenty in the past.
live in different times and our time holds that no person is so
indispensable that his post in the party should be reserved for him
without a simple and open contest.
Surely, Najib doesn't want it that way nor would Muhyiddin.