KUALA LUMPUR, 15 Sept 2008: Umno Vice-President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin says he will not resign from his post despite his recent remarks on the country’s leadership transition plan.
Muhyiddin, who said on Wednesday that the timeframe for the plan was too long, said today he would instead leave it to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to determine if action should be taken against him.
The International Trade and Industry Minister insisted that he did nothing wrong as he was only doing his duty as cabinet and party member in conveying the views of the grassroots.
“I have done nothing wrong; there are many people who have spoken about many things and there are even among Umno leaders who have said things that can be considered going against (the party).
“I don’t think that my statement is unusual or burdening the country; I just want to help improve (the situation) and create awareness (about it)… because if we don’t do something, a bigger problem may occur,” he said.
“There may be people who don’t like to see my face in the cabinet, so they are demanding (my resignation), but I’ve been discharging my duties and responsibilities … what is the problem?” he told reporters after launching the Women Entrepreneurs Award 2008 today.
On 10 Sept, Muhyiddin said the prime minister should rethink the transition plan agreed between him and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak as the timeframe was too long.
His statement received mixed reactions from party members, including those who were irked by it and wanted him to resign from the party — or be sacked — if he was not satisfied with the plan.
Abdullah himself expressed surprise over the remark, saying the plan had been agreed upon by the party’s supreme council.
Muhyiddin also said he would leave it to Abdullah to determine whether his statement was “a challenge”.
He also denied that the remark, which he made in Singapore on the sidelines of the Forbes Global CEO Conference, was uttered in malice.
“The statement was made during a news conference which was also attended by the Malaysian press and I was answering questions on the timeframe for the transition plan.
“So I told them that the matter had been decided by the supreme council but I cannot avoid receiving feedback from the grassroots that the timeframe is too long and that it should be speeded up.
“That was why I made the statement that perhaps the prime minister should rethink about the plan. There was no statement about asking him to resign,” he said, adding that he had no intention of bad-mouthing Malaysia in the neighbouring country.
Muhyiddin also said that the society should not feel too sensitive about statements made on the plan as the prime minister himself was encouraging openness and transparency.
“If we have reached maturity in democracy, we should be able to see how we can use our rights in a wise manner without harming the party.
“I have the right to speak up as a vice-president and minister,” he said.
On Najib’s statement that he would leave it to party members to decide on the transition plan, Muhyiddin said it showed that Najib was more open about the matter.
“Even though he knows that the supreme council had decided on the matter, it should not prevent party members from making their own decisions at the divisional level or at the Umno general assembly.
“This (transition plan) is not something that is enshrined in the party’s constitution,” he said. — Bernama