Johor being the State that gave birth to UMNO and is the biggest benefactor in the Ruling Government is fielding the most number of Candidates in the coming UMNO elections. While many are deserving and capable leaders, there are also several who are taking advantage of the State’s reputation to make it big in National Politics. Let’s go through them one by one and maybe after that you’ll be able to determine who they are with a little help from me.
ABDUL GHANI OTHMAN – MENTERI BESAR OF JOHOR
He was appointed Treasurer of the Johor UMNO Liaison Committee by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the then Menteri Besar which kick started his career in politics. Later he was appointed Senator before being elected as Member of Parliament in 1986. From 1987 to 1993, he was Deputy Minister before becoming the Sports Minister at the end of 1993. One of his achievements was to initiate a National Youth Program called “The Rakan Muda”.In 1995 he was appointed Menteri Besar of Johor succeeding Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. He still enjoys this position at the behest of the Sultan of Johor.
He has since promoted Malay Arts and Culture specifically the Zapin and Ghazal keeping it alive and well in the Malay Community. He also introduced mandatory Quran readings every Friday morning before work begins in the government sector to promote the comprehension of the Holy Book. As an UMNO leader protecting Religion and defending the Race, he has done his part in both aspects and is a worthy candidate for Supreme Council.
SHAHRIR ABDUL SAMAD – MINISTER OF DOMESTIC TRADE
He was the youngest Political Secretary in the country serving Musa Hitam. Later he served Tun Razak in the same capacity until the latter died in London. In 1978, he won the Parliamentary seat in Johor Bahru. He was Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, then Minister of Welfare, Youth and Sports before being the Minister of the Federal Territories. He was out of mainstream politics for a long spell before finally being re-appointed into the Cabinet by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after the recent elections in 2008.
He is generally not a team player and has a mind of his own as proven twice when he resigned his seat in Parliament to stand and win as an independent and later when he resigned as the Backbencher’s Club Chairman for voting in support of the Opposition in Parliament.
He serves his constituency well and I once followed him to tend to a complaint by one of his constituents at 3 am just to confirm the report and take immediate action.
He is a good candidate for Supreme Council as we need a maverick to stand up for what’s right even if it’s against the wishes of the President as opposed to being a rubber stamp and an apple polisher.
AZALINA OTHMAN SAID – MINISTER OF TOURISM
She was Minister of Sports in 2004 before assuming the current post after the recent elections. She is currently a sitting member of the Supreme Council winning in the last UMNO election after having reached the maximum age in Puteri UMNO.
She is a “hands on” leader who gets things done quickly and was recently elected as the only female Division Chief in the country after her rival failed to get enough nominations to qualify in Pengerang.
DR ABDUL LATIF AHMAD – DEPUTY HEALTH MINISTER
He is the Mersing Division Chief and was one of the youngest State Executive Councillors in Johor serving two terms while also sitting in the Youth Wing as an EXCO member. He is a second term Deputy Minister and almost didn’t make the cut in the line-up after the elections. He was said to be vocal in the last few meetings while supporting the quick transfer of power.
He is affable but not quite in the frontlines because he is overshadowed by a strong Minister from the MCA, yet he is experienced enough and would be a good candidate to be considered for another term in the Supreme Council at least.
NORAINI AHMAD – DEPUTY MINISTER FOR LABOUR
Ever since she took over the wing, the number of branches is said to have reduced out of lack of interest within the outfit. In Pulai alone, it started with around 26 branches under Azalina but at the last count, there were barely 18, this with the fact that our last Puteri Chief is a serving member of the Puteri Exco.(until 25 March) In the eyes of the majority in UMNO, not much have been achieved under Noraini’s leadership and because of this, there have been calls for the Wing’s role and position to be reduced to that of Putera UMNO. A Vice President’s equivalent is too high a position for a wing that is not quite up to the mark. The Puteri Wing should just be a bureau within the Wanita Wing. In addition, members are asking why they should consider a seat in the Supreme Council for every Puteri leader coming of age in every UMNO election.
HALIMAH MOHD SADIQUE – HEAD OF THE JOHOR WANITA UMNO
She is currently just an ordinary member of the Tenggara Division and is reduced to being just a delegate after deciding not to defend her post as Division Chief. She was once considered a liability to the Menteri Besar in Johor because of her proximity with the leader although it was just merely a “rumor”.
She is a staunch supporter of Rafidah Aziz and it is said that if they both win in their respective contests, she will be looking at Rafidah every time there is a call to vote in the Supreme Council instead of doing what is best for the UMNO mass.
In several State functions introducing nationwide candidates running for Supreme Council, she is said to have brought busloads of Wanita members to cheer loudly when she is introduced on stage exhibiting artificial support for her fooling the locals.
Halimah too is NOT a worthy candidate for Supreme Council though she would be riding on the Johor and Wanita UMNO reputation to sail her through. Again, if she pulls through, it would be because the delegates will have little choice in completing the 25 person ballot.
He is very vocal and is consistent in voicing the concerns and needs of the UMNO grassroots without fear or favour. When Prime Minister Badawi met with the Johor Liaison Committee for the first time after the disastrous showing (by BN standards) in the 2008 General Elections, he was only one of the two members in the Committee who asked outright for the PM to make way. The other person is Pulai Member of Parliament and UMNO Division Chief Nur Jazlan Mohamed, reflecting the views of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the great majority of UMNO members.
Dr Puad Zakarshi is a NECESSARY candidate for the Supreme Council, and I consider him a National Candidate as opposed to one from Johor because if his past reputation is anything to go by, he will bring the voice of the grassroots in there.
As a Malaysian citizen from Johor, I urge my fellow State delegates to choose ONLY the best and qualified amongst those from the State offering themselves for posts, even if it means there won’t be many who will succeed. Allegiance to the Party, and voting ONLY quality leaders from Johor, maintaining our leadership standard, would be the best way to exhibit our loyalty to the State and People of Johor.
For a recap of PART ONE covering the Deputy and Vice Presidential Candidates please go to http://tpj-one-thepatriot.blogspot.com/2008/12/9-candidates-qualify-to-contest-from.html. A slight correction: There are a total of 11 Candidates not counting the one for Deputy Chairmanship won uncontested from Johor, not 9. I stand corrected.