Several news organisations were given orders not to publish reports quoting all three elected Umno vice-presidents' offer to stay out of the next general election if they were not considered as “winnable” candidates. Not all news organisations however heeded the Putrajaya directive to spike their report on the matter. The news involved the reactions from Umno vice-presidents Mohd Shafie Apdal, Hishammuddin Hussein and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to the presidential address. In Umno president Najib Abdul Razak’s policy speech, he said only “winnable” candidates would be fielded in the next general election, urging party power brokers to accept that party interest comes first. At a press conference later, the three vice-presidents said that they would take the lead and step aside graciously if they were not considered to be “winnable”. Late yesterday afternoon, government operated news agency Bernama issued a notice to syndication subscribers to inform them that its article on the subject had been updated. "Note to editors: Please kill story sent earlier slugged 'Umno-VP (candidates)'. A new item will replace the story," read the notice.
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The rewritten Bernamareport issued later does not state that the trio were willing to make way for others to be fielded as candidates, but instead quotes them urging others to do so. However, the originalBernama report (right) is still accessible online. English dailies Star and New Straits Times omitted reporting on the press conference in both its online and printed versions. A Google search showed that Star Online had archived a report titled “Vice-presidents willing to step aside”, but the content on the link had been removed. Malay dailies Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia both reported on the press conference but omitted statements on the trio willing to make way. Karangkraf Sdn Bhd-owned Sinar Harianreported the matter on its front pagebearing the title ‘Three vice-presidents ready to pull out’. Similarly, all Chinese dailies gave significant coverage to their statement. It is believed that the joint statement by the three vice-presidents was considered 'sensitive' due to the current tensions within the party over the selection of election candidates.
Warnings of sabotage The vague concept of "winnable candidate" introduced by Najib has sent jitters among many incumbent candidates and power brokers because it signals that conventional criteria will not be the basis for choosing candidates for the next general election. The statement by the trio would be seen as increasing pressure to the old guards should it be highlighted by the media. Another possible leader that would feel the heat is Shahrizat Abdul Jalil who is embroiled in the scandal of National Feedlot Corporation (NFC). She is also a vice-president by virtue of her position as Wanita chief. Observers believe that the party leadership do not want to be seen as being too forceful as it could spark a backlash from dissatisfied power brokers and their supporters. From the delegates' speeches thus far, it has become clear that infighting for candidacy at divisional level and possible sabotage by those who are not fielded and their supporters are a real concern for Umno. Many political observers agree that former prime minister and Umno president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had infuriated many local Umno warlords by going against their choice of candidates, which led to dramatic losses by the party in the last general election.
The three UMNO veeps must now keep their words to step aside for this coming 13th General Election. These three are nothing but stooges who are making fools of themselves as leaders in the government.
The PEOPLE HAVE REJECTED THESE THREE FOR THEY HAVE DONE NOTHING FOR THE COUNTRY EXCEPT TO ENRICH THEMSELVES IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAYS. Zahid especially must clarify where he got the fund to own a jet and to be able to maintain it in Singapore.