Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan yesterday said that opening the top two posts in the party to contest in the upcoming election might lead to internal divisions following Umno's heavy defeat in the 15th general election (GE15).
He said given Umno's current state of affairs, it was more appropriate for the positions to go unchallenged.
"It is best that the party president post and other positions are not contested because if we do go ahead, it may to some extent cause a rift within the party," he told reporters after the simultaneous opening of the general assemblies for the party’s Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings in Kuala Lumpur last night.
However Mohamad, who is also the Barisan Nasional (BN) deputy chairman, said he was willing to accept a challenge from anyone for the position of deputy president and would defend it in the party polls which are expected to be held in the middle of the year.
"Whoever wants to contest, I am open. I will defend (the position of deputy president), I have no issues," he said.
On the committee headed by Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki to examine efforts including cooperation for the six state elections, Mohamad said the committee would present the results to Umno before making any decisions.
"This committee will examine the views of everyone, not just within the party. Gather the views whether they are good or not, because we want the party to bounce back," he said.
Asked if BN would work with Pakatan Harapan for the state elections, Mohamad said Umno had not made a decision and the committee had yet to meet.
In his opening speech, Mohamad said Asyraf had been given the responsibility as "chief secretariat" by the Umno president to explore the best path for the party in facing the upcoming elections in Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor and Penang.
Meanwhile, 140 Umno division chiefs agreed with the suggestion for the president's post, currently held by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, to go unchallenged.
Representing the group, Wangsa Maju Umno division chief Mohd Shafie Abdullah said the division heads also agreed that the deputy president’s post should not be contested.
He said Umno's focus should be on strengthening the party to face the six state elections expected to be held this year.
"A total of 126 Umno division chiefs were present tonight, although another 14 were absent as they were attending the 2022 Umno general assembly.
"All have agreed that the positions (president and deputy president) should not be contested.
"In order to face six more state elections this year, we need a strong Umno, so we hope the president (Zahid) will take this view into account and that no top positions will be contested," he said at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur last night.