Monday, July 28, 2008


WILL Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi stay on as he promised or will his deputy Datuk Najib Razak be able to win the president's post at the next Umno party elections?

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Keeping mum: Mr Muhyiddin Yassin has not openly expressed any interest in the top post of Umno. Picture: Reuters

These are questions that many watching the Malaysian political scene keep wondering about.

But what many have not been noticing is the slow gains being made by the dark horse in the race for the top post.

Umno vice-president and International Trade Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is one who has kept his cards close to his chest.

Even though he has not openly expressed any interest in the top post of the party, he is one of those likely to throw his hat into the ring once the battle begins.

Yesterday, the first signs of his move for the big day became clear when the Desa Jaya branch of Umno wanted him to contest for the party president's post.

'The time has come for someone from Johor to be party president. Muhyiddin Yassin is the person fit for the post.


'He has shown that he has the capabilities to perform his duties entrusted upon him thus far,' Mr Abdul Muhamad Talib Ngah, the Desa Jaya Umno branch head told Malaysiakini.

Such duties include those within the party and the government, he said.

Mr Muhamad Talib said that his branch has unanimously passed a motion recommending Mr Muhyiddin as the party president on 19Jul. It was unanimously carried by the 81 members present.

He stressed that the motion was tabled without any 'influence' from any groups.

The Desa Jaya branch is the only branch to nominate Mr Muhyiddin thus far.

The branch is part of the Johor Bahru Umno division which is headed by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Shahrir Samad.

Mr Muhamad Talib said his branch wants genuine democracy to be practised within the party.

'We want to be free to voice out and we do not intend to overthrow anyone. We are merely seeking change,' he said, adding that he did not agree that politics should be based on personalities.

Meanwhile, writing in his blog, former Malaysian PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad urged Umno members not to repeat his 'mistake' in backing Mr Abdullah to be prime minister.

'I admit I wronged in choosing Abdullah as my successor. Now I regret because I didn't think that 'Mr Clean' would not be that clean.'

He has previously backed Mr Najib for the post of Umno president and recently hinted that Mr Muhyiddin was a better candidate.

Electric New Paper, Singapore