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Ismail Sabri Not Defending Vice-President Post Due To Principles

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob will not seek another term as a party vice-president in the party polls but the former Prime Minister said he would continue to serve his constituents.

The Bera Member of Parliament said he will continue to serve due to still being an elected representative. Ismail also won the Bera Umno division chief uncontested. He added these commitments does not allow him to quit politics for now.

At the same time, Ismail’s decision not to defend his post as an Umno vice-president is a sign of protest against the party’s motion not to allow its two top posts to be contested.

“I’m consistent in my principles that I do not agree with the decision to not contest the president and deputy president’s posts at the upcoming party elections. If I contest for the vice-presidency, it would mean that I agree with the decision to not contest the two top posts.”

Ismail said the Registrar of Societies (RoS) s had the power to postpone the elections under the party’s constitution as it had not made a decision on whether there was a breach of the party’s constitution in not allowing the two posts to be contested.

“The RoS should have made a decision before nominations for the Umno polls closed. What happens now if it says there was a breach of the party constitution? This is why all posts must be contested,”

On Saturday, Ismail announced that he would not be defending his vice-presidency, which he has held since 2018. Following the report, there was an assumption Ismail was retiring from politics.

However, the report later retracted and an apology rendered to Ismai for incorrectly stating that the former premier was retiring from politics.

Initially, there were eight candidates who filed their papers to contest the three vice-president posts but Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir decided to pull out at the eleventh hour. Currently, the contenders included ministers to former ministers and mentris besar.

Incumbents Mahdzir Khalid and Khaled Nordin are seeking re-election, along with Titiwangsa MP Johari Ghani, Pahang menteri besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail, law and institutional reform minister Azalina Othman Said, former Johor menteri besar Hasni Mohammad, Supreme Council member Shamsul Anuar Nasarah, and former housing and local government minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican.

On other matter, Ismail said he is still close to party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and there is no problem between both of them.

“I’ve known him since my school days. I’m also close to his wife and children. It’s just that when it comes to politics, we have different views, and he has said that he welcomes it.”

The Umno elections will commence on March 11, with the Wanita, Youth and Puteri leadership posts being up for grabs, while division officials, vice-presidents and members of the Supreme Council will be elected on March 18.

In May last year, Umno amended its constitution to allow party polls to be held within six months after the conclusion of the 15th General Election.

Umno had postponed its party elections for 18 months after the 2018/2021 term ended on June 30, 2021, which meant party polls for the 2021/2023 term should have been held before Dec 30 last year.

However, the polls were still postponed.

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