Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak seems to be providing a cue on who to choose in the next party election scheduled for 2016, two years before the country’s 14th general election in 2018.
Many Umno members and grassroot leaders who are well-verse with the party president’s ‘pointers’ since the days of the late Tun Hussein Onn have somewhat understood the wishes of party president when come to party succession.
At present Defence Minister datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein seems to be ‘pointed’ as the successor followed by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
Umno presidents have the tradition of subtly revealing the candidate he wanted as successor ‘to go through the mills’ by giving the minister ‘important assignments which exposes him locally and abroad.’
Umno members are used to reading such pointers and they automatically rally behind the person early until the election time where normally more than three-quarter will throw their votes behind the person ‘pointed’.
A division chief said right now the pointers are for Hishammuddin as he has been given most important assignments such as handling the MH370 tragedy, then the MH17 tragedy and he acted as Transport Minister when MCA was mulling on whether to take up the Cabinet post.
The most senior vice-president who is Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi does not seem to mind Najib’s choice as he leaves his political future to fate.
A close friend said Zahid is a man who is loyal to Najib and he trusts Najib’s mind in determining his successor as well as in policies.
Zahid polled the highest vote for the vice-presidency in the party election last year where National and Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal came out second while Hishammuddin just scrapped through after a hard fought battle with Datuk Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir.
However, after the party election, Hishammuddin has begun improving himself in terms of ‘human relationship’ and even in his ministry.
Hishammuddin’s so-called weaknesses as seen by Umno members who voted last year, some 146,000 of the some 3 million members, were that he did not perform well as Home Minister.
But the perception changed when Hishammuddin took over Defence Ministry as well acting Minister of Transport.
It was when he was acting Minister of Transport that the MH370 tragedy happened and he was plunged into the centre of the actions where MAS and Malaysia became the focus of the world.
At the same time, Hishammuddin revealed his capabilities which earned the admiration of Umno members and the public at large.
Following behind Hishammuddin is Khairy who is now gaining popularity among the youth as he blends well in their activities and aspirations.
Given the general election is another four years to go and the opposition is grooming young leaders, Najib seems to know the game plan and he is preparing Umno for the same purpose.
Khairy was not well accepted when he was first taken into Najib’s Cabinet where whispers of disatisfaction was the norm among majority party members but today, he is among one of the few Umno party members have place hopes to lead.
Both Hishammuddin and Khairy are leaders seen as in sync with Najib’s moderate and reconciliatory concept that is gaining momentum but opposed by half of Umno members.
Mukhriz, despite being very popular among party members, is not seen as a national leader as of now given that he is stuck in the state where he has to prove himself worthy to be pulled to federal level.
So long as he is a Menteri Besar, he will be seen and treated as a state leader unless he gets himself involved in national issues where he can stand and be seen with his views.MYNEWSHUB