KUALA LUMPUR, 27 March 2009: Campaign strategy, rather than party or government posts, plays an important role in winning votes during party elections this time around, Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said.
He said that this was proven when two ministers and four menteris besar from states regarded as Umno strongholds lost in the elections for the Umno supreme council seat.
The menteris besar are Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob (Pahang), Datuk Seri Utama Mohamad Hasan (Negeri Sembilan), Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman (Johor) and Datuk Dr Md Isa Sabu (Perlis).
The two ministers are Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (Tourism) and Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad (Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry).
Several ministers also lost in the contest for the vice-presidency.
Ahmad Shabery said that the results showed that candidates still needed to campaign to introduce themselves to the delegates.
“It is not whether you are good or not, or whether your are popular or not,” he told Bernama when visiting the Malaysian National News Agency’s operation centre for the Umno general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre here.
“It all boils down to campaign strategy,” he added.
Among those who had campaigned actively was Senator Datuk Azian Osman who won the fourth highest votes despite not holding any government posts.
Ahmad Shabery was also asked whether the defeat among the menteris besar was due to the perception that they would automatically be appointed to sit in the supreme council irrespective of the results of the elections.
To this question, Ahmad Shabery said, such a perception could result in the appointment of defeated menteris besar or chief ministers.
He said the results also showed that it would be difficult for leaders to win votes without campaigning despite having shown capabilities as ministers or executive council members.
This was proven with Shahrir’s no-campaigning strategy, telling the delegates instead to “value my work, whether it is worth your votes.”
Ahmad Shabery said, “I think the delegates had tried to send a message from the choices they made yesterday.”
On the lack of women representation in the supreme council following the defeat of most of the women candidates, he said, it could be because they chose to contest on their own and not as a team.
The lone woman representative in the supreme council is Datuk Dr Norraesah Mohamad.
The defeated women candidates are Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Noraini Ahmad, Tenggara member of Parliament Datuk Halimah Mohamed Saddique, Datuk Dr Siti Zaharah Sulaiman and Datuk Raja Ropiaah Raja Abdullah.
He also said that the campaigning spirit of Sabah Umno leaders should be emulated.
“Under the good leadership of Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman, they scored a 100% win with two vice president’s posts — one won by Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, and another through Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin, who won the Puteri Umno chief seat,” he said.
Musa and two others — Datuk Seri Panglima Lajim Ukin and Datuk Bung Moktar Radin — were elected to the supreme council.
“They are so united this year compared to in the last party elections in 2004,” he said. — Bernama