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Friday, March 27, 2009

> Winners and Losers

Embattled Tourism Minister Azalina Othman Said has failed in her bid to retain her Umno supreme council seat.

Also unable to clinch a seat in the supreme council were other heavyweights including four out of five menteri besars.

They were Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Mohamad Hassan, Johor Menteri Besar Abdul Ghani Othman, Perlis Menteri Besar Mohd Isa Sabu andPahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob.

The only one who made it is Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman.

A top minister and three deputy ministers are also out - Domestic Trade and Consumer Minister Shahrir Abdul Samad, Deputy Human Resources Minister and Puteri Umno chief Noraini Ahmad, Deputy Ministers in the Prime Minister's Department Johari Baharum and Hasan Malek.

Also defeated was former Wanita Umno chief Siti Zaharah Sulaiman.

Seven ministers and five deputy ministers however made it to the final 25.

Two former menteris besar - Mahadzir Khalid (Kedah) and Idris Jusoh (Terengganu) also managed to retain their seats.

The seven ministers who were successful are Mustapa Mohamed (agriculture and agro-based industries), Noh Omar (entrepreneur development and cooperative), Ismail Sabri (youth and sports), Mohamad Zin Mohamed (works), Shaziman Abu Mansor (energy, water and telecommunications), Zulhasnan Rafique (federal territories) and Ahmad Shabery Cheek (information).

Meanwhile, the five deputy ministers who managed to emerge victorious are Saifuddin Abdullah (entrepreneur development and cooperative), SP Lajim Ukin (transport), Hamzah Zainuddin (housing and local government), Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah (finance) and Idris Haron (higher education).

The sole woman candidate who retained her seat is Bank Rakyat executive chairperson Norraesah Mohd from Penang Umno. There were
 six women among the 50 vying for the seats, five of whom failed to make it.

Probed by MACC

Azalina, who is one of the biggest casualties, is currently facing investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for alleged money politics.

One of her senior aides had also been detained for questioning before he was released. The aide was supposedly caught with RM70,000 on him.

It has been alleged that Azalina or her aides have used her ministry to canvass support for the party polls.

Three MACC officers had also visited Azalina's ministry on March 11 and took away two documents for investigation. And on March 20, MACC officers recorded a statement from her and later went to her house in Shah Alam.

Yesterday, she had expressed confidence in retaining her post, arguing that the controversy should not have any bearing on the contest as a pers
on is considered innocent until proven guilty - Malaysiakini.