KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said is running for the Umno vice-president’s post in the party elections next month.

The Pengerang MP submitted her nomination papers at the party headquarters at the World Trade Centre here yesterday, a day before nominations close today.

Azalina is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform).

When contacted, Azalina simply said: “Yes, filed. I will speak to the media soon.”

As at yesterday, eight party leaders including Azalina are in the increasingly crowded race for the three Umno vice-president posts.

Another contender is Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican – the supreme council member also filed his papers at the party headquarters yesterday.

The others are incumbents Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid and Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin, as well as Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani, Datuk Seri Hasni Mohammad and Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail.

Reezal, who called himself a protege of former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, said that if he is elected, he will bring back the voice of moderation to the party.

He added that although his move to run for a vice-president post is seen as a progression of his political career, he decided to do so as the party is in need of “better housekeepers”.

“Let’s keep to the path of moderation. I am not going to be overly-confident of winning, but I’m confident Umno needs people like me who can regain the support of the people.

“I am someone who believes in not airing our dirty laundry in public. No one can point at me and say that I have exposed Umno’s flaws in public.

“I believe in respecting the party and keeping its honour. If the party is in pain, we as ‘housekeepers’ must provide cushioning measures.

“We may have our differences within the party, but we live in the same house.

“Even when we lost (in the 2018 general election), Umno managed to stay intact.

“The party is obviously still very much alive, judging from the crowd that is willing to contest all the posts in Umno both at the grassroots and national level,” said Reezal.

He also called on those who are “excessive” in their campaigning to tone it down as their actions may give a bad impression of the party.

Reezal said he hopes Umno members will look at his past record in the government and politics.

“I have been with the party since I was in my 20s and stayed with Umno through thick and thin for more than two decades. My record is there for all to see,” he added.

The Umno elections involve 191 divisions and 22,000 branches, including divisions that were suspended.

The party’s new office bearers will be elected from Feb 1 to March 18, but the positions of president and deputy president will not be contested this time around.