BERA, Nov 16 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today said matters on the UMNO election should not be discussed during the campaign period as the full focus is required to ensure the victory of Barisan Nasional in the 15th general election (GE15).
Ismail Sabri who is also UMNO vice-president said whatever the rank in the party would not matter if BN loses in the election as UMNO still has sufficient time to hold the party election.
“Let us not talk about party election which would only lead to arguments among ourselves. Every party leader has his own followers and clashes would only be detrimental to the party.
“We do not want such matters to distract our work to win the election. This is important. Forget about party elections, about who is going to be the president, deputy president vice president, supreme council member and so on.
“After GE15, we have six months to decide the party leadership. At that time, we could discuss and so on,” he told a media conference after attending the ‘Sembang Santai’ programme in Mengkarak here today.
Ismail Sabri was commenting on the statement of Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin who was reported by the media as believing that he needs to become UMNO president if he was to continue leading the country’s administration after GE15.
Apart from that, Ismail Sabri also said he was not UMNO president when he became the prime minister and never use the power of the Prime Minister to intervene in party matters including issues on posts.
He also denied that there is a pact between him and any leaders in UMNO when asked about Khairy’s statement who reportedly said he did not rule out the possibility of an alliance between Khairy, Ismail Sabri and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein in the next party election.
“There is no alliance. You can see because I went down everywhere and never touched on party elections.
“Even in the past, before the postponement of party elections, the focus of my work was as Prime Minister. I did not abuse the position, even when it was proposed to postpone (party selection), I stood up and agreed to postpone it.
“If I were looking after my own interests, I could have asked the Registrar of Societies (RoS) to reject UMNO’s application (regarding the postponement of the election) so that I could run against the president (Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) but that did not happen,” he said.
Ismail Sabri said the matter was in line with his stand that he puts the interests of the party above his own, besides not wanting a split in the party due to the party election being held before the general election.
In July, UMNO secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said RoS had approved an application related to the amendment of the party’s Constitution so that elections in the party at all levels are held no more than six months after the general election.