KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 — Umno’s Ketereh division leader Tan Sri Annuar Musa has described the new rules ahead of the party polls as similar to that of a “beauty pageant”.
“You take the candidates on a stage, introduce them to the delegates and they wave. This is not how you select a leader.
“The Umno elections are not a beauty pageant,” Annuar said.
He said candidates should be judged based on the way they debate, articulate ideas, express their thoughts on current issues and should be given the opportunity to interact with the voting delegates.
“We must take the spirit of the liberating power of the grassroots. Delegates should be allowed to meet and know their candidates.”
The Ketereh MP, who is vying for a spot in the Supreme Council, said the rules should apply across the board.
“We have some four million members and only 25 are placed in the Supreme Council. We need strong and aggressive leaders. We cannot accept mediocrity. If Annuar is not good enough ... so be it. The delegates must be able to select who they think best fits the role,” he said.
The Mara chairman said this when met at his house in Bukit Damansara. He was discharged from hospital last Saturday after being admitted for dengue fever for more than a week.
Another restriction in the code of ethics is that candidates cannot use the media to promote themselves or use agents and campaign managers. Other leaders have also voiced displeasure over the new regulations.
Johor Baru Umno division chief Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad said candidates should be given ample room to speak and not be restricted to introduction sessions.
Felda chairman Tan Sri Isa Abdul Samad, who is among the six contesting for the Umno vice-presidency, echoed similar sentiments but felt it was too late to change the rules.
Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, who is state Umno chairman, said meeting voters was customary in any election process.
However, incumbent vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had said the rules were relevant as candidates could turn to cyberspace to campaign without having to meet delegates.
Annuar also said Umno needs to strengthen itself in light of the predicament faced by other Barisan Nasional component parties, mainly MCA and MIC.
“Umno is at a critical juncture. When component parties are weak, Umno needs to be super strong.
“We need aggressive leaders while the people want a party that walks the talk,” Annuar said.