(Updated 11pm, 27 March 2009)
KUALA LUMPUR, 27 March 2009: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will make a good combination as Umno president and deputy president.
“The Najib and Muhyiddin combination is good…they can work together and are compatible … no conflicting opinion,” said the Prime Minister.
Najib, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, takes over the Umno presidency from Abdullah after winning the post uncontested while Muyhiddin, who is the International Trade and Industry Minister, was elected as the new deputy president in the Umno election yesterday.
Expressing his confidence on the newly elected Umno national leadership, the Prime Minister hoped that the leaders would be able to fulfil all the promises they had made so far to Umno delegates.
“I hope that they would be able to fulfil all the promises that had been made to ensure Umno remains relevant, to ensure that the rakyat have confidence in the party and to ensure that Umno becomes the party of first choice,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the 2008 Umno general assembly, at the Putra World Trade Centre here.
The largest political party in the country picked a deputy president, three vice-presidents and 25 supreme council members yesterday.
Abdullah was also confident that efforts to bring about transformation in the party would be continued by the new leadership although he no longer led the party.
Admitting that he felt ‘bad’ because he could no longer join the party leadership in implementing the transformation, the Prime Minister said he was confident that there would be continuity in the efforts.
“I don’t want to use the word regret … (but) when we cannot be together, certainly it would be sad,” he said.
Asked whether he wanted Najib to continue certain policies when the latter takes over the country’s leadership from him, Abdullah replied that it was not necessary.
“Not necessary, because Datuk Seri Najib was my deputy and whatever policies that had been implemented were policies that he had also supported and implemented.
“So, it’s up to him whatever he wants to do or probably make adjustments … I don’t see that there will be any move to abolish any policy (that had been introduced previously),” he said.
However, he did not rule out the possibility that there would be policies that would be adapted or improved.
Overall, Abdullah said the elected Umno supreme council members were well distributed from all the states.
However, the Prime Minister hoped that there would be solidarity and close cooperation between the leaders elected yesterday.
“If there is no cooperation or solidarity, if there is no support (for the president), that will be bad. What is good is to have close understanding, cooperation, solidarity and support for the party president,” he said.
On the position of Umno now, Abdullah said during his leadership, Umno had held a two-day retreat to discuss various aspects pertaining to the position of the party.
“During the retreat, various aspects concerning the position of the party, why people did not like the party, what are its weaknesses, what are the weaknesses of the members’ attitude, the public perception of Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders (had been discussed) and it was a positive effort at the initial stage,” he added. — Bernama