JOHOR BAHRU, Feb 28 – The contests for UMNO division chief posts in Johor are expected to be a heated affair, with Pontian hogging the limelight as it is a straight fight between former Johor UMNO chief Datuk Seri Hasni Mohammad and UMNO secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan.
Hasni, a former Johor Menteri Besar, has been the Pontian division chief since 2001, while Ahmad has been the division deputy chief since 2008.
Johor UMNO secretary Datuk Samsolbari Jamali said apart from this, 19 divisions will also see contests for division chiefs, with 15 being straight fights while four are three-cornered battles.
“A total of 401 nominations were received with 51 candidates offering themselves for division chief posts and 47 for division deputy chiefs. The rest are for other posts contested.
“This shows that UMNO still has supporters because many are offering themselves to serve in the name of democracy,” he told Bernama when contacted today.
Samsolbari himself is involved in a straight fight with Joni Muhamat Yahya for the Ayer Hitam division chief post.
Also joining the fray is former Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, the incumbent Tenggara division chief who is challenged by his deputy Datuk Suhaimi Khalid.
The Pengerang division is also seeing a straight fight for the top post between incumbent Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform), and businessman Datuk Mhd Tahir Mohd Noah.
As expected, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin (Pasir Gudang) and Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed (Pulai) are among six UMNO division chiefs confirmed to have won unopposed after nominations closed on Sunday.
Also re-elected are Datuk Zulkurnain Kamisan, the Parit Sulong division chief since 2013, and Kota Tinggi division chief Muszaide Makmor, who is Sedili state assemblyman.
Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, who vied for the Simpang Renggam division chief post, and Datuk Abdul Ghani Abdul Rashid, who was making his debut in the Sembrong division chief contest, also won unopposed.