KOTA BARU - The absence of more than half of the candidates vying for Umno supreme council seats at a get-to-know-you session here did not go down well with some of the delegates at the gathering.
Only 27 out of the 63 candidates for the 25 elected supreme council seats attended the gathering with the Kelantan voting delegates yesterday. Representatives stood in for some of the absentees.
Of the six vice-presidential candidates, only two - Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Tun Mahathir and former Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam - were at the gathering.
Murmurs of disapproval could be heard from the audience when the names of some of the absentees were announced.
"Only a representative in attendance? This candidate is going to lose," a delegate was overheard saying.
Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, one of the supreme council candidates who attended the gathering, said the delegates' unhappiness was understandable.
"This is a meet-and-greet session so delegates expect many candidates to come," he said.
The session is part of a state-by-state road show organised by the Umno headquarters to introduce the election candidates to voting delegates ahead of polling on Oct 12 for the party's wings and Oct 19 for the supreme council positions.
Kelantan Umno deputy chief Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussein said candidates should try their best to attend the state-level gatherings.
"It is important for the delegates because they see attendance as a gesture from the candidate that he or she cares enough to make the effort to come and meet them," said Dr Awang Adek.
Negri Sembilan Umno chief Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said some did not turn up because their schedules as ministers or deputy ministers were too tight.