Nov 4, 2008

Najib is unopposed as Umno president

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s unopposed win in the Umno presidential elections proves that the transition plan has been accepted, party vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said. He said it also indicated strong unity within Umno.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 – Datuk Seri Najib Razak won the contest for the Umno presidency unopposed today when he obtained the 134th nomination from the Batu Kawan division in Penang.

He has so far obtained an unassailable 136 nominations to Tengku Razaleigh's sole nomination from his Gua Musang division. A candidate needs 58 nominations from among the 191 divisions to contest the party presidency.

Najib will be officially declared as the party president during the Umno general assembly scheduled for March 24-28 next year.

His victory also paves the way for him to take over the premiership when Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi steps down.

After the supreme council meeting on Friday, Abdullah had said that he would need a few days after the assembly to sort things out before resigning as Prime Minister.

In 2004, Tengku Razaleigh made an attempt to challenge Abdullah for the party's top post but failed to qualify as he only obtained one nomination, also from the Gua Musang division.

In the deputy presidency contest, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is still the favourite, with 76 nominations, ahead of Datuk Seri Ali Rustam, who with 31 so far needs eight more to qualify.

Another contender, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib, has 28 after he received the bulk of the nominations from Selangor Umno divisions today. Puchong, Kota Raja, Kapar and Pandan nominated Muhammad for the number two post. The Cameron Highland division in Pahang also nominated Muhammad.

For the vice president posts, Tan Sri Isa Samad, who obtained the highest votes during party polls in 2004, needs one more nomination to join five other candidates who have qualified to contest.

Other candidates who have qualified are Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein with 105 nominations, Datuk Zahid Hamidi, 78, Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin, 60, Datuk Shafie Apdal, 55 and Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, 24.

Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Khir Toyo is now ahead of Khairy Jamaluddin in the contest for Umno Youth chief. The former Selangor Menteri Besar has so far obtained 56 nominations while Khairy has 51.

Jerlun MP Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir still leads with 71 nominations.

The Umno divisional meetings will conclude next week, and the Kepala Batas division, headed by Abdullah, will meet on Nov 9.

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