Zahid hints Kemaman by-election candidate probably a party hierarchy outsider

Umno’s candidate for the Kemaman by-election could be someone from outside the party hierarchy, hinted Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“We have tried this direct candidate without taking into account hierarchy in the party (the candidate’s position in Umno) and it was well accepted.

“Thus, there is huge possibilities that we are adopting similar approach for Kemaman by-election,” said Zahid who is also BN chairman in a press conference after opening Kedah Umno’s political bureau retreat here today.

Last week, former Terengganu Umno chief Datuk Seri Ahmad Said confirmed that he is not vying for Kemaman again.

Umno is expected to introduce its candidate for the Kemaman by-election this Monday, ahead of the nomination day on Nov 18.

Zahid who is also Deputy Prime Minister said the immediate focus of the party in this by-election is to reduce Perikatan Nasional’s 27,000 majority that the opposition bloc obtained during the 15th general election.

The Kemaman by-election has been called after Terengganu Election Court annulled PN-Pas candidate, Che Alias Hamid’s victory.

The Election Commission (EC) has fixed Dec 2 as the polling day for the by-election, while nominations and early voting are set for Nov 18 and 28 respectively.

On another matter, Zahid said that Umno would revamp its election machinery structure, beginning from the Kemaman by-election, in preparation for the next general election.

“Although the point was not included in the Kedah Umno political bureau’s resolutions, we have decided that the party indeed need to have structural revamp for our election machinery to face the next general election.

“As the Umno president, I am committed to assist Kedah Umno to implement resolutions formulated from this retreat. I am confident that we have an ample time of 36 months from now to gear up for the 16th General Election.

“It may sounds too early but we need to start rolling out some initiatives, particularly in uniting the leadership at the state, divisions and branches level.

“This initiative will be followed suit by Umno leadership in the other states,” he said.