KUALA LUMPUR - Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, the youngest son of Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister, lost his bid to become a vice-president of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno), a result which analysts said showed his father's waning influence in the country's largest political party.
The 48-year-old came in fourth in last Saturday's party polls to select three vice-presidents, just eight votes short of unseating Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, the son of Malaysia's third prime minister Tun Hussein Onn and a cousin of current Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Despite his loss, Mr Mukhriz remained in good spirits and pledged to continue contributing towards the party's growth.
"I don't think that with the results, I'm suddenly totally out of the picture," the Kedah Menteri Besar was quoted as saying yesterday in a Malay Mail Online report.
He added that he hopes Datuk Seri Najib will still award him a seat in Umno's supreme council, as he would like to play a part in ensuring a better performance in the next general election.
Separately, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told reporters on Sunday that his son's defeat was not a surprise.
"I had said he was losing and he had a 50-50 chance or less. My prediction was right," Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying by news agency Bernama.
The 88-year-old, largely seen as the conservative force within Umno, who was often at odds with Mr Najib's reforming drive, did not strike back in his trademark combative style when asked to comment on the return of Najib loyalists to the party leadership.