Updated 10 Oct 2008, 12:18pm
PUTRAJAYA, 10 Oct 2008: Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today announced in Putrajaya that he will be contesting Umno’s deputy president post in the March 2009 party election.
The International Trade and Industry Minister is currently party vice-president.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is currently Umno deputy president, has announced he will contest the president’s post. This follows the announcement by Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on 8 Oct 2008 that he will not be defending the post.
Muhyiddin said the decision was made in the belief that the Umno to be led by the new president needed a strong and united leadership that would constantly support and help him, especially in efforts to overcome the current challenges.
Muhyiddin said he was offering himself for post to be vacated by Najib on the advice and views of the grassroots.
Muhyiddin, who is International Trade and Industry Minister, said the top priority now was to rehabilitate and unite the party and give new hope and direction to regain the support of the Malays, and the people in general, for Umno and the Barisan Nasional (BN).
“Secondly, I believe that I can play a role with the future president to restore racial unity and enhance cooperation among the BN component parties by taking into account the current needs and situation so that we become stronger and more prepared to face the 13th general election,” he told a news conference here.
The other candidates who have announced they will be contesting the deputy president’s post are Tan Sir Muhammad Muhammad Taib, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.
Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is an Umno supreme council member, said he was vying for one of the three vice-president’s posts instead of the deputy presidency as announced earlier.
All the candidates for the number two post in the party have to get at least 38 nominations from the 191 divisions, which began their meetings yesterday, to qualify for the contest.
Muhyiddin hoped to get the full support of the members and believed that it would forge stronger cooperation to fight for the Malays and the religion.
He said he had informed Najib of his intention to contest the post.
On his chances of winning, he said: “Very bright. I have full confidence. God willing, with the support of all the Umno delegates and leaders, I think I can win.”
Asked to comment on the changes that he would make should he get elected, he said he would be in a position to support the new president and would do his very best to follow his directions and missions to bring the nation forward.
Asked whether he was confident that Najib would be the future president, he said he had no doubt about that.
He said he had been working very well with Najib for many years, both within the party and in the cabinet.
“I think I have a long working relationship with him,” he added. — Bernama