Sep 25, 2008

Muhyiddin says top two posts should be contested

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 - Umno vice president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today that the top two posts in the party should be contested, echoing the views of fellow party leader Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

"As far as the Umno constitution is concerned, all positions in the party can be contested not only at the supreme council, but also at the divisional and branch level, because we are a democratic party, we have a constitution," he told reporters today.

He added that there is nothing unusual about the Foreign Minister's idea as it is consistent with the party's constitution.

"At the end of the day, delegates will decide, although leaders can make plans," he added.

Yesterday, Rais said the contest is needed for a process of reversion in the party.

Umno has not had a contest for the top two posts for some years now to ensure stability, but this policy is increasingly drawing fire.

The Umno presidency was last contested in 1987, where Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad defeated Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah by a majority of 47 votes.

"Maybe at that time people did not want to contest. Tengku Razaleigh had already expressed his intention to contest," said Muhyiddin when asked to comment on the fact that the top two positions have not been contested for a very long time.

On whether he would accept nominations from party divisions for any of the top two positions, he said that it is still too early.

"When the time comes I will announce," he added.

He also denied there is a power struggle within the party and refused to comment on any attempt to postpone the party election scheduled for December to June next year to enable party president, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi to step down before 2010.

"I am not too sure about the idea, obviously those are very important matters, I don't think I have the privilege to comment on that yet," said Muhyiddin.

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