KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — Temperatures rose last night when delegates representing the Federal Territory for the Umno election, who gathered at a hotel to show support for one of the incumbent vice-presidents, were told by a party official to retain the three incumbents for the post.
The party official — who was invited to speak on stage — had suddenly opened up claiming party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak (picture) preferred the return of Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as vice-presidents, said a delegate.
On hearing that, delegates who were initially in a jovial mood, got agitated and became bewildered as they never expected the party official would say such a thing at a time when campaigning is getting hot and sensitive.
The event ended on a sour note as delegates began questioning their rights and the purported wish of the party president.
A delegate who attended the event said he was taken aback by the official’s statement.
“I do not think this is the right thing to do because as a party official, he should be impartial, not taking sides given the sensitivity of the matter.
“In the first place, how true is it that the party president had told him to convey such message to the delegates?
“If the party president wants the three incumbents returned, then he should speak to the delegates himself rather than getting the official to say it.
“And if this is so, what is the point of democracy and transformation and widening the voters’ base?” said the delegate, who wanted to remain anonymous.
A division head who attended the event said the party official should not have spoken out about the president’s wish because it was supposed to be private and confidential.
“I understand the official’s problem as he has to relay the message, if it is true that is what the president wants.
“But he should have done it discreetly so as not to antagonise the delegates who have their own choices under the democratic system.”
However, the incident has now spread to delegates in other states who are now asking whether this will affect the president’s image of impartiality.