- POSTED: 13 Oct 2013 22:37
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Members of Malaysia's largest and most powerful political party, UMNO, have voted for stability in electing leaders for the party's women (Wanita) and youth wings.
KUALA LUMPUR: Members of Malaysia's largest and most powerful political party, UMNO, have voted for stability in electing leaders for the party's women (Wanita) and youth wings.
Full results on Sunday show that the incumbents have overwhelmingly defended their posts.
Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar retained their posts as the heads of Wanita UMNO and Youth UMNO respectively in the polls for UMNO's three wings.
While there might be winners and losers in every election,
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak stressed that the polls can only be a victory for UMNO.
Saturday's polls were the first time UMNO members were given a bigger voice in deciding who their leaders should be on the division and national levels.
Instead of a select group, some 230,000 members cast their ballots.
Mr Najib said: "This is an acid test for UMNO. We wanted UMNO to undergo a process of transformation so that UMNO will emerge as a party that practises true democracy, open democracy and a mature democracy."
Part two of the party elections is on 19 October, when UMNO's three vice presidents will be battling to defend their positions against three other challengers.
The vice presidency is a stepping stone to becoming the party's top two leaders, who by default, are also Malaysia's Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.
Amir Fareed Abdul Rahim, a political analyst at KRA Group, said that the results for the wings' polls showed "the younger crowd within the party wants change...they want some sort of perception change, but they have voted in incumbents like Khairy and this clearly shows that for next week's elections, the leaders have to run with certain stature and certain track record."
That's because members have chosen to go with the familiar, nationally-known politicians.
UMNO Women's chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil showed she still had massive support from the grassroots, despite her family's cows-for-condos corruption scandal.
She said: "They've been wanting good leadership, so I've had no problems leading them, we are a pack. The one thing I want to do is to fight for Wanita to be the backbone of the party and no longer the wing."