Survey: Zahid leads Umno race, Ku Li close second, KJ splitting votes | - Blog Hanz -
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Survey: Zahid leads Umno race, Ku Li close second, KJ splitting votes

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is in a five-man race to be the next Umno president. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 — Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has the upper hand in the contest for the Umno president post, with party veteran Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah at a close second and youth favourite Khairy Jamaluddin expected to only split votes for the position, a survey has shown.
Hisommudin Bakar, Ilham Centre’s executive director, said his research firm’s field research that polled 581 Umno delegates from June 21 to June 28 found that candidates in the party election mostly focused on states with a huge number of party divisions, namely Johor (26), Sabah (25), Perak (24) and Selangor (22).
“Those who control these states, have the advantage to win this election,” he said in a statement today on Ilham Centre’s survey findings.
“Based on our research throughout these eight days, the support of the divisions to Zahid Hamidi is at 51 per cent, Ku Li gives fierce competition by getting support for change at 35 per cent, KJ gets six per cent, while divisions that have not made clear their support are as many as eight per cent.”
Upset win?
But Hisommudin indicated that the results for the Umno president post is far from settled, pointing to the possibility that Tengku Razaleigh, or Ku Li as he is popularly known, could stage an upset win.
Hisommudin highlighted two particular states which he said are represented by former Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak and by outgoing vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who both currently hold the Pekan parliamentary seat in Pahang and the Sembrong parliamentary seat in Johor.
Umno members in the two states of Pahang and Johor appear to be giving off interesting indications on their choice for the elections tomorrow for the next Umno president, Hisommudin said.
“Although Najib Razak gave his blessings for Zahid Hamidi to be the acting (president) but delegates are giving a different signal. The division leaders in Pahang are giving their support to Zahid, but it’s the opposite at the branches level. To add to that, there is the former Pahang Mentri Besar Adnan Yaakob towards Ku Li.
“In Johor, there are talks among the lower levels that shows Hishammudin Hussein’s support favours Ku Li. Adding on the open support by former Johor minister Khaled Nordin towards Ku Li, the Johor vote favours Ku Li,” he said.
In Umno, party branches come under party divisions, while each branch is entitled to one delegate who will have voting rights in the party election.
While Hisommudin said a minority of party delegates have begun to start asserting their rights to voice out on the own, he noted that the “warlord” culture by Umno state chiefs and division chiefs continue to prevail.
Hisommudin noted that the usual process of persuasion and compromises at the party branch level tends to happen in the final moments leading up to the Umno elections, adding that a break from this practice could see Tengku Razaleigh winning.
“If this tradition is broken, an ‘upset’ result can happen with a thin majority favouring Ku Li,” he concluded.
There are a total of five candidates gunning for the Umno president post this Saturday, but Hisommudin said the remaining two candidates Bandar Tun Razak committee member Mohamed Iqbal Maricair and Iskandar Puteri member Mohd Yusof Musa@Jamaluddin fail to give any competition.
Ilham Centre’s survey was carried out face to face with Umno delegates in 101 divisions throughout Peninsular Malaysia.

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