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Najib leaves it to Umno members to decide on transition date

KUALA LUMPUR, 12 Sept 2008: Deputy Prime Minister and Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he would leave it to Umno members to decide when the transition of power within the party should take place.

"As everybody knows, the transition plan was decided upon in July by the prime minister and myself and was endorsed by the (Umno) supreme council.

"I’ve held meetings with the Umno divisional chiefs and I’ve stated that the plan must get the support of the Umno divisions, especially at this year’s delegates meetings," he said after opening the Guangdong-Malaysia Business Conference here.

"So, because Umno is a party that practises democracy, the matter must be decided by the party members through its internal process, namely at the divisions’ annual meetings," he said.

Under the plan, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is to hand over the posts of prime minister, Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman and Umno president to Najib in June 2010.

On 10 Sept, Umno vice-president and International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin called on both leaders to reconsider the 2010 transition plan as he said the time-frame was too long.

A day after that, Abdullah said he was surprised by Muhyiddin’s statement as the transition plan had been understood and agreed upon by the Umno supreme council and the Cabinet.

Speaking on another matter, Najib said the BN government was not unduly worried about the intention of four Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Members of Parliament (MPs) to go to Taiwan to meet the 41 BN MPs who are there on an agriculture study tour.

The four, comprising PKR information chief Tian Chua, strategic director Saifuddin Nasution, election bureau head Fauziah Salleh and supreme council member Low Chee Choeng, are expected to leave for Taiwan at 2pm on 12 Sept.

This is seen as a move by the opposition party to entice BN MPs to hop over, in an effort to form a new federal government by 16 Sept, as declared by PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. – Bernama

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