KUALA LUMPUR, 6 Oct 2008: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he will announce in the next couple of days (7 Oct or 8 Oct) whether he will defend the post of Umno president at the party elections in March 2009.
“You wait la! Why are you so impatient?” the prime minister told reporters when asked when he would announce his decision.
He said he would meet with the leaders of Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties soon to inform them of the matter.
“Our colleagues in the BN have already indicated that they would like to be briefed. They want to be informed of what’s going to happen,” he said.
Abdullah spoke to reporters after chairing a Biotechnology International Advisory Panel meeting at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
Asked about the large number of candidates offering themselves for the post of deputy president, Abdullah said: “After a while, some of them will drop out and probably only one or two will remain.”
So far, Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and Pulai Umno division head Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed have announced their intention to contest the deputy presidency.
Asked about Umno leaders stating their intention quite early to contest certain posts, he said that was their right and choice. The Umno divisional meetings to nominate candidates are scheduled to begin on 9 Oct.
Abdullah said that before he would give up the post of president under the transition of power, he would ensure that the objectives of the 2004 BN election manifesto were fulfilled.
“What I promised, I must deliver,” he said.
Abdullah was also asked about the nation’s image being tarnished by the detention of Seputeh member of parliament Teresa Kok, Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng under the Internal Security Act (ISA) In September 2008.
“This question has been asked before. There must be a good reason for the minister who is responsible to have taken that particular action.
“There are other countries which have some kind of law which is even tougher than the ISA. Every country has its own way of looking after its own security,” he said.
Kok and Tan were released a day after their arrest. Raja Petra is still under detention.
Replying to a question on the resignation of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who was in charge of the law portfolio, over the use of the ISA against the trio, Abdullah said Zaid was not involved in the use of the ISA.
“The law minister is not involved. It is exclusively the responsibility of the home minister,” he said. — Bernama