It’s too early to tell says the deputy Prime Minister who will be contesting the post of Umno president left vacant now that Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi has decided not to defend his post.
Besides him, Gua Musang Member of Parliament Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Arau Umno division Youth wing’s permanent chairperson Ismail Hashim, 43, have offered themselves to contest the president’s post.
Najib said he will “wait and see' before deciding on his running mate for the Umno top leadership contest next March and has dropped hints that his choice would be based on the number of nominations received by the candidate.
Muhyiddin, Mohd Ali Rustam, party information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib and Pulai MP Nur Jaslan Mohamed have offered themselves for the deputy president’s post.
“I believe only serious and genuine candidates, whom members deemed fit, will finally prevail and secure enough nominations to contest,” Najib said.
“Let’s wait and see. It will be too early for me to comment on it,” he said.
According to him the number of nominations can be used as a yardstick to differentiate between a serious candidate and an uncommitted one’s decided on his running mate for the number two post.( Malaysiakini - Najib to decide later on running mate )
Of the aspiring candidates so far, Muhyiddin who is the International Trade Minister, seems to be the favourite contender. Garnering the 38 nominations needed to contest for the deputy president post will not be a problem for Muhyiddin.
Some 40 divisional leaders, mainly from Johor and Pahang, were with the former Johor Menteri Besar at the press conference held yesterday to announce his candidancy.
Muhyiddin, who has served as MP for Pagoh, Johor for several terms, has already been nominated to the post by the Machang Umno division in Kelantan.