Tun Mahathir says Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is capable of winning the Umno deputy president's post if he decides to go for the post in party elections in December.
KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 (Bernama) -- Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is capable of winning the Umno deputy president's post if he decides to go for the post in party elections in December.
The former prime minister said if Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak decided to defend the deputy president's post, he might be challenged by Muhyiddin and the result would favour the latter.
He said the public generally viewed Najib as "a weak leader who had no stand of his own."
Dr Mahathir added that Muhyiddin, who had yet to state the post he intended to contest, could win the number two post if the election was conducted openly without manipulation.
Muhyiddin was more acceptable to Umno members either among those who supported Umno President Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi or those who did not.
"I'm not saying I'm supporting (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin. I can support anyone as I'm no longer an Umno member," he told reporters after opening the Indian Muslim Congress office Tuesday.
To a question on whom he thought was qualified to become the deputy prime minister, Dr Mahathir said Muhyiddin was up to the job if he won the deputy president's post.
"If he wins, he should be appointed deputy prime minister. During Tun Musa Hitam's time, he did not want the deputy president's post, so I appointed Tun Ghafar Baba as the deputy prime minister.
"...but Tun Ghafar had to contest for the deputy president's post and he won, defeating Tun Musa," he said.
Dr Mahathir hoped that during the election, "other people" would be allowed to contest.
"Other people should be allowed to contest so that the desire to institute changes (in the party) will be achieved... but I believe the election will be manipulated. They will choose people supported by Datuk Seri Abdullah.
"Then Najib may win and he will be the deputy prime minister and the prime minister-designate," he said.
Those vying for the deputy president's post would need 20 per cent or 38 nominations from the 191 Umno divisions nationwide.