KUALA LUMPUR, 1 Oct 2008: Although one or two Umno divisions have voiced their intention to nominate Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to contest either of the top two party posts, the Umno vice-president has yet to make a decision on what position to vie for in party polls scheduled for March 2009.
“All this thing (about who will be contesting and for what position) will hinge on the so-called final statement that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will make,” he said when asked to comment on the party’s transition plan and elections.
Hence, Muhyiddin said, he would only announce his decision once the prime minister had made his statement.
“I will do so. It will need to be soon, before the divisional meetings start. That is why I would like to get the signal or statement from the prime minister,” he said, adding this would reduce false assumptions and uncertainties.
Abdullah, when announcing the postponement of the Umno general assembly from December 2008 to March 2009, said he would make a decision about whether he would seek re-election for the presidency by 9 Oct.
Month-long divisional meetings will start on 9 Oct.
Under the original power transition plan, Abdullah was to hand over the reins of the country’s and Umno’s leadership to Deputy Prime Minister and Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Razak in June 2010 but that has now been brought forward.
Asked if the power transition by March 2009 was just an assumption, Muhyiddin said: “Well, I am the chairman of the constitution committee. I don’t work on assumptions. When it is clear, it is clear.”
On the post he will contest, Muhyiddin said it depended on what members thought was suitable for him.
Asked if the members were on the right track by announcing the candidates they would be supporting, he said it was their right to do so.
“They can decide what type of leadership they want. It is not contrary to the constitution.”
On Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s intention to contest the president’s post, Muhyiddin said he (Tengku Razaleigh) was free to contest any post as he was an Umno member, so long as he received enough nominations.
“We are a democratic party,” Muhyiddin said.
He also said that Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties would be informed about the transition plan in due course.
“We are now just looking at how within Umno we want to manage our situation. At this level, it is an Umno plan but obviously BN has got a vested interest and I think the whole nation would like to know what this plan is about,” he said. — Bernama